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Ugandan Foreign Minister Who Called Gays 'Disgusting' Elected President of UN General Assembly: VIDEO

Kutesa

Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa was elected President of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, the AP reports:

"I have never been found corrupt," Kutesa told reporters immediately after the election. "I'm not homophobic, and I believe that I'm (the right) person to lead this organization for the next session."

Two Democratic senators from New York criticized Kutesa's appointment, and more than 9,000 people signed an online petition urging U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. member states to block him from taking up the post. It cites his implication in corruption scandals at home and his alleged role in the enactment of the anti-gay law.

AFP adds:

The US-based Human Rights Campaign, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights, has called his tenure "a black mark on the United Nations' commitment to protect the human rights of all individuals.

"It's deeply disturbing that a man who calls LGBT people 'disgusting' and played such a critical role in the promotion and passage of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act is assuming this post," the group said on its website.

The bill, signed by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni in February, calls for "repeat homosexuals" to be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and obliges citizens to denounce gay individuals to the authorities.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ugandan Foreign Minister Who Called Gays 'Disgusting' Elected President of UN General Assembly: VIDEO" »


North Korea State Media: Gay UN Official Is 'Disgusting Old Lecher'

Michael Kirby is the openly gay chairperson of the United Nations agency that just published a report which found harsh human rights violations in North Korea. Just two short months after the announcement of the investigation's findings, the country has issued a personal attack on Kirby.

_73038632_de27The criticism comes in the form of an outrageous homophobic editorial published by state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) which not only blasts Kirby, but homosexuality in general.

According to The Washington Post, it reads in part:

As for Kirby who took the lead in cooking the "report", he is a disgusting old lecher with a 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality. He is now over seventy, but he is still anxious to get married to his homosexual partner. This practice can never be found in the DPRK boasting of the sound mentality and good morals, and homosexuality has become a target of public criticism even in Western countries, too. In fact, it is ridiculous for such gay to sponsor dealing with others' human rights issue.

KCNA went on to describe Kirby and the other authors of the UN report as "dirty swindlers." Read the full North Korean editorial here.

The Washington Post notes the significance of North Korean state media's reference to homosexuality:

...the use of homophobic insults seems exceptional, even for North Korea: A quick search of KCNA appears to show that this is the first time the agency has used the word "homosexual" since the agency went online. Officially,  homosexuality doesn't exist in North Korea, and there appear to be no laws on the books banning it.  In the rare moments it is acknowledged, it is viewed negatively. In an article for NK News published last year, Oliver Hotham wrote that many North Koreans have little knowledge of homosexuality, and it is often viewed as a foreign concept.

Read the full UN report here.


LGBTI Rights and the UN: Where To From Here?

BY PAULA GERBER / GlobalPost

Analysis: If the United Nations builds on steps it has taken on LGBTI rights in the recent past, it may prove to be an antidote to the increased violence and persecution against LGBTI people around the world.

UnIn 2014, one can barely read the news without coming across a story concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) persons. Invariably these stories relate to violence, discrimination or other human rights violations inflicted on individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Occasionally, a good news story creeps in, like the recent legalising of marriage for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand. But more often than not, the story is about gay bashing in Russia, draconian homophobic laws being enacted in various African countries, or the Indian Supreme Court re-criminalising consensual sexual conduct between men, after the Delhi High Court struck down the relevant provision of the criminal code four years ago.

With 81 states still criminalising homosexuality, the plight of LGBTI persons in many parts of the world is dire.

In light of an apparent increase in the intensity and frequency of LGBTI rights violations, it is appropriate to ask: What is the United Nations doing in response? And what more could it be doing?

There are three UN bodies that are particularly useful to consider, namely the Human Rights Committee, the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

MalawiHUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

As the body responsible for monitoring state parties’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Human Rights Committee has an important role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons.

There are three ways in which it can do this, namely, in its Concluding Observations, in its General Comments and in its Views on individual communications. The degree to which it has succeeded in raising LGBTI rights through these different avenues is variable.

The Human Rights Committee’s approach to raising violations of the rights of LGBTI persons in its Concluding Observations has been patchy. Although it has improved in recent times, there have still been instances where the Human Rights Committee has failed to explicitly address the fact that a state continues to criminalise homosexuality in clear breach of the ICCPR.

In 2014, the Committee will review 18 states. Of those, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Sudan, Burundi and Sri Lanka still criminalise homosexuality.

Of course, many of the states where homosexual conduct is legal also have significant LGBTI rights violations, because, for example, there is no anti-discrimination legislation that protects sexual minorities.

One only has to look at recent events in Russia, where homosexuality was legalised in 1993, to know that decriminalisation is only the start of the journey towards dignity and equality for LGBTI persons, not the end.

Logo_unThe Human Rights Committee should therefore include recommendations not only about decriminalising homosexuality in its Concluding Observations for these 18 states, but also other reform measures necessary to ensure that LGBTI persons can be free and equal.

The Human Rights Committee has a woeful record when it comes to including LGBTI persons in its General Comments. To date the Committee has published 34 General Comments and not one of them has mentioned LGBTI rights. This is in stark contrast to other treaty committees, which have all made explicit reference to sexual minorities in at least one General Comment.

There may be signs that the Human Rights Committee is ready to catch up. General Comment 35 on Article 9 (liberty and security of person) is currently being drafted and does include a reference to sexual minorities. Let’s hope this language is retained in the final version.

The Human Rights Committee has considered five communications from LGBTI persons and in four of those cases found there had been breaches of the ICCPR. Most recently, it found that Russia’s gay ‘propaganda’ laws are inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression, read in conjunction with the right to freedom from discrimination (Fedotova v Russian Federation, 2012).

Thus, while the Human Rights Committee is making good progress with promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons in its Concluding Observations and Views, there is definite room for improvement in its General Comments.

SogiHUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The Human Rights Council is also making a positive contribution to the UN’s efforts to promote and protect the rights of LGBTI persons, most particularly through its landmark resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2011 (SOGI Resolution) and through comments and recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review Process (UPR).

The SOGI Resolution was the first ever passed by a UN body on LGBTI rights. It is now imperative that the Council build on this success by adopting a follow up resolution further condemning the ongoing discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and establishing a mechanism or process to ensure that the Human Rights Council can identify and respond to violations of LGBTI rights in a systematic, coordinated and ongoing manner.

(image: vote on SOGI Resolution)

The continuing criminalisation of homosexuality has been raised with a number of states during the UPR and many have accepted recommendations that they repeal these laws, including Mauritius, Nauru and Seychelles. That LGBTI issues are being raised as part of the UPR is pleasing, particularly as 11 of the 47 current members of the Human Rights Council are states where homosexuality is still a crime (Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and United Arab Emirates). It is hoped that in 2014, the HRC will consistently raise LGBTI issues within the UPR, whether it be about the criminalisation of homosexuality, the absence of anti-discrimination legislation or violence against sexual minorities.

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)

PillayThe Free & Equal campaign launched by OHCHR last year is a standout achievement, but by no means does it represent the extent of the Office’s work to promote LGBTI rights. High Commissioner Navi Pillay has been a vocal critic of recent moves to oppress LGBTI people in Africa even further. In relation to new draconian Nigerian anti-gay legislation, she said:

"Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights. Rights to privacy and non-discrimination, rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention: this law undermines all of them."

Another OHCHR achievement is the drafting of the first UN report documenting discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. This 2011 report was prepared pursuant to a request by the HRC in the SOGI Resolution.

Finally, in 2012, OHCHR published a very helpful booklet that sets out the core obligations that states have towards LGBTI persons, and describes how various UN mechanisms have applied international human rights law to LGBTI persons.

Fortunately, we can be confident that OHCHR will continue its work to increase respect for the rights of LGBTI persons, because the high commissioner has said as much in her annual report to the General Assembly.

If the Human Rights Committee, Human Rights Council and OHCHR build on some of the important steps they have taken on LGBTI rights in the recent past, it may prove to be an antidote to the increased levels of violence and persecution we are witnessing being inflicted on LGBTI people in many parts of the world.

Dr Paula Gerber is an Associate Professor at Monash University Law School and Deputy Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Denounces Attacks on LGBTI People in Sochi Remarks: VIDEO

Moon_bach

UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon gave a speech ahead of the Olympic games in Sochi condemned attacks on LGBTI people worldwide without specifically mentioning Russia's anti-gay law, the Guardian reports:

BankimoonBan Ki-moon, addressing the IOC before Friday's opening ceremony, highlighted the fact that the theme of the UN's human rights day last December was "sport comes out against homophobia".

"Many professional athletes, gay and straight, are speaking out against prejudice. We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people," he said. "We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face."

"The United Nations stands strongly behind our own 'free and equal' campaign, and I look forward to working with the IOC, governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance. Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century."

He offered further remarks at a separate press conference with IOC president Thomas Bach.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

KozakRussian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak was later asked for his reaction to the UN secretary general's remarks, USA Today reports:

Kozak was also asked for his reaction to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who blasted any "arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions" carried out against homosexuals during a speech to the IOC on Thursday morning. The comments were pointed toward Russia's so-called "gay propaganda" law, which has inspired various forms of protest and political blowback leading up to the Games.

Kozak essentially repeated Russian president Vladimir Putin, who said the law only bans propaganda aimed at minors and that gay athletes and visitors won't be arrested in Sochi.

"We don't differentiate between people depending on nationality, religion or sexual relations," Kozak said. "We are all grown-ups and any adult has the right to understand their sexual acts. Please don't touch the kids, that's the only thing."

Watch Ban-Ki's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Expresses 'Deep Concern' Over Arrests, Torture of Gays in Nigeria

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has released a statement through his spokesperson on the situation in Nigeria, where the arrests and torture of gay people have been reported following the signing of an anti-gay law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The statement: Bankimoon

The Secretary-General shares the deep concern expressed yesterday by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, following the recent signing into law of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria. The law introduces a wide range of offences, in breach of fundamental human rights, including 14-year jail terms for same-sex couples who live together or attempt to solemnize their union with a ceremony. The Secretary-General fears that the law may fuel prejudice and violence, and notes with alarm reports that police in northern Nigeria have arrested individuals believed by the authorities to be homosexuals, and may even have tortured them.  As UNAIDS and the Global Fund noted in a statement yesterday, the law also risks obstructing effective responses to HIV/AIDS.

The Secretary-General reiterates that everyone is entitled to enjoy the same basic rights and live a life of worth and dignity without discrimination. This fundamental principle is embedded in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Secretary-General strongly hopes that the constitutionality of the law can be reviewed. The United Nations stands ready to assist Nigeria in any way to bring about constructive dialogue and change on this matter.


News: Stevie Nicks, Zac Efron, Boy Scouts, Benghazi

Road

What you really wanted for Christmas? Jared

RoadSinger/songwriter Vanessa Carlton got married. And Stevie Nicks officiated

RoadAre gay marriage bans in jeopardy? Some say "not so fast": "'I wouldn't say [the Windsor ruling] is the death knell for marriage exclusion through the rest of the states, but I think it does initiate the next round of marriage equality victories,' said Bill Eskridge, a professor at Yale Law School and a constitutional law expert who has authored many works on legal issues facing same-sex couples. 'My prediction is that there will be a very fair number of judges who will be persuaded that marriage equality should prevail,' he added."

RoadThe residency has begun

RoadAnd the stars showed up to get a piece of her.

RoadIn case you missed it, the trailer for Zac Efron's raunchy comedy That Awkward Moment that features a scantily clad (and work unfriendly) Efron dealing with some consequences of taking a certain little blue pill. 

RoadBoy Scouts to open ranks to gay youth come January 1: "'My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare,' said Brad Haddock, a BSA national executive board member who chairs the policy implementation committee. 'It's business as usual, nothing happens and we move forward.'"

RoadTina Fey has a new show in the works about a "woman who escapes a doomsday cult and starts life over in New York City." Sadly, she won't be in this one. 

RoadFellow funny lady Rashida Jones has also sold a show with a somewhat wacky bent:"The half hour comedy [set to air on HBO] is called Claws and is described as a midnight-dark workplace dramedy-noir about a nail salon in Florida and the strange, dangerous women who work there."

RoadFeathers appear to have been the exception rather than the rule with Dinosaurs.

Abandoned RoadThe 38 most haunting abandoned places on earth.

RoadIs Facebook losing ground with teens? "Researching the Facebook use of 16-18 year olds in eight EU countries, the Global Social Media Impact Study found that as parents and older users saturate Facebook, its younger users are shifting to alternative platforms. 'Facebook is not just on the slide - it is basically dead and buried,' wrote Daniel Miller, lead anthropologist on the research team, who is professor of material culture of University College London. 'Mostly they feel embarrassed to even be associated with it. Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives.'"

RoadU.N. Peacekeepers arrive in South Sudan: "U.N. warns that despite efforts to organize a ceasefire, tensions remain precariously high."

RoadNY Times reexamines Benghazi terror attack, finds no evidence of a link to Al Qaeda. "Interviews show militia and insults to Islam fueled assault."


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