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Content about Human Rights

December 11, 2014

'I bow my head and apologize for the anxiety I have caused'

The mayor of Seoul will meet the LGBTI protesters who occupied city hall for five consecutive days over his scrapping of a human rights charter.

A coalition of 20 groups started the sit-in on Saturday demanding an apology and face-to-face meeting with Mayor Park Won-soon.

Park agreed to the meeting yesterday on Human Rights Day, the date the charter was supposed to be enacted.

December 10, 2014

Activists call on the international community to pressure Mayor Park into passing his scrapped human rights charter

The occupation of Seoul city hall by LGBTI activists enters day five as the mayor remains silent on a human rights charter he indefinitely postponed last week.

Today is World Aids Day and was the scheduled date for the enactment of the charter, which includes provisions banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

A coalition of 20 LGBTI groups started the sit-in on Saturday 'out of rage' that Mayor Park Won-soon nullified the charter after anti-gay protests, despite a citizens committee passing the measure.

December 9, 2014

Bill allows the refusal of goods and services on religious grounds

A Northern Ireland legislator is seeking to add a 'conscience clause' to equality laws after a Christian bakery was sued for refusing to make a gay marriage cake.

Paul Givan yesterday (8 December) introduced his Freedom of Conscience Bill to the legislative assembly that would allow those with strongly held religious beliefs to deny access to goods, facilities and services on the grounds of sexual orientation.

'The dilemma facing people of faith is the choice of violating their sincerely held beliefs or going out of business,' he told the legislature.

December 9, 2014

Transport for London, the authority in charge of London’s public transport and roads, will be rolling out its rainbow crossing again to mark the day that civil partnerships can be changed to marriage

England and Wales passed legislation late last year allowing same-sex marriage; in addition to previous legislation allowing same-sex civil partnerships.

Civil unions began in 2005, since which time over 120,000 people have entered into them. Same-sex marriages have been possible since March, but until now, those who were previously in civil partnerships have not been able to change their relationship status.

That all changes from tomorrow (10 December), when a simple appointment with a registrar will allow those in civil unions to become legally married.

December 8, 2014

Mayor indefintely postpones the anti-gay hate law after a Christian backlash

About 70 LGBTI activists staged a sit-in at Seoul city hall to protest the mayor's indefinite delay of a human rights charter banning anti-gay discrimination.

A coalition of 20 LGBTI groups Saturday (6 December) occupied the lobby of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) holding a banner reading, 'To sexual minorities, human rights mean life.'

They said Mayor Park Won-soon had not responded to repeated requests for a meeting and demanded he proclaim the charter, which was supposed to be enacted on Human Rights Day on 10 December.

December 5, 2014

Russian leader was forced to defend his anti-gay laws in front of the Human Rights Council

President Vladimir Putin has claimed Russia is not homophobic, saying the rest of the world has merely branded the country that way.

The Russian leader has claimed other countries, such as the US, is actually far more homophobic.

He was forced to defend his anti-gay laws, the 'gay propaganda' law and the ban on people from countries with same-sex marriage adopting Russian children. Putin was speaking with representatives of the Human Rights Council and the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia today (5 December).

December 5, 2014

Law professor says 'you cannot make a human wrong a human right'

Civil rights activists yesterday (4 December) protested a speech by an anti-gay law professor at a Human Rights Day seminar hosted by the EU Delegation to Singapore.

Several activists held a rainbow flag and placards reading 'LGBT rights are human rights' while Thio Li-ann delivered her speech.

Jean Chong, co-founder of LGBTI advocacy group Sayoni, told GSN that the silent protest 'was to address the elephant in the room and civil society’s disagreement to the EU’s insistence on inviting Thio in spite of her views on LGBTQ people.'

December 1, 2014

Christian groups oppose a clause banning LGBTI discrimination

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) yesterday announced a citywide human rights charter would be postponed indefinitely after a series of anti-gay protests.

The last six public hearings on the charter were protested by Christian groups that oppose a clause banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or sexual identity.

November 21, 2014

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has warned the government of Gambia to stop persecuting LGBTIs after it passed laws that would see homosexual ‘serial offenders’ and people with HIV jailed for the rest of their lives

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned Gambia that it is failing its international human rights commitments by its continued persecution of LGBTI people, citing the passage of new laws that even further criminalize sexual minorities.

Homosexuality was already punishable with up to 14 years in prison in Gambia but earlier this year the government passed a vaguely defined law punishing ‘aggravated homosexuality.’

November 14, 2014

Senior official says culture is no excuse for denying human rights

The US has urged India end to discrimination against LGBTI people and said culture is no excuse for denying human rights.

Sarah Sewall, under-secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights at the US state department, made the comments yesterday (13 November) while delivering a lecture on human rights in New Delhi.

November 10, 2014

Kees van Baar, human rights ambassador for the Netherlands, wants to work with corporates to improve life for LGBTIs around world

The new human rights ambassador for the Netherlands wants to work with the world’s biggest firms to make the world a better place for LGBTI citizens.

In particular, Kees van Baar hopes to change cultures in countries where homosexuality is illegal, by encouraging big employers to promote diversity for gay, bi and trans employees.

He said it would be one of his aims during his time as the human rights ambassador, a four-year term which started two months ago.

October 27, 2014

Former US president praises speed of LGBTI movement but warns against complacency

Former US President Bill Clinton last night urged LGBTI activists to continue fighting for equality following recent victories for gay marriage advocates.

'I’ve never seen a civil rights movement, at least in our country, move as far and as fast as your movement, ever,' he said at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) annual dinner in Washington DC.

Since the beginning of October, the number of states that allow gay marriage has shot from 19 to 32, as well as the district of Columbia.

October 27, 2014

The bill was passed in a landslide vote earlier this month

The United Nations human rights office has urged Kyrgyzstan to scrap a draft law that punishes the spreading of 'gay propaganda' with up to a year in jail.

The Kyrgyz parliament passed the Russian-style bill in a landslide vote at its first reading earlier this month.

October 23, 2014

Korea University council is the first student body to ban discrimination against LGBTI people

The student council of Korea University in Seoul has revised its rules to ban discrimination against LGBTI people after several homophobic incidents on campus.

It is the first student body of a South Korean university to do so.

Earlier this year, a placard welcoming new LGBTI students was torn down by unidentified individuals. A similar incident occured at Ewha Womans University, sparking concerns about homophobia on campuses.

October 13, 2014

Fireworks will be going off not just for the new year this NYE, but for the first ever same-sex marriage in Scotland

Gay couples hoping to get married in Scotland finally have a date from when they can say their vows, following an announcement today (13 October).

The first official same-sex marriages will take place in Scotland on Hogmanay, 31 December 2014.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act will come into force on 16 December. This means any gay couple in a civil partnership can convert it into marriage, free of charge, from that date.

October 10, 2014

Amnesty International is the latest organization to call upon the President of Chad, Idriss Deby, to scrap a homophobic bill that is currently passing through the Chad parliament

In September, Government ministers voted in favour of a draft law that would make Chad the 37th African state to criminalise same-sex relations.

Its proposed penal code threatens jail sentences of between 15 and 20 years, and a fine of between CFA francs 50,000 to 500,000 (the equivalent of between £60 and £600.)

Ministers said at the time that the law was being introduced to, ‘protect the family and to comply with Chadian society’.

October 8, 2014

The male gender marker will also be removed

A Kenyan transgender activist yesterday won a landmark case to change the name on her high school exam certificate.

The high court gave the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) 45 days to change the name from Andrew Mbugua to Audrey Mbugua on her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.

She graduated with an A- grade.

The male gender mark will also be removed and any cost will be met by Mbugua.

Mbugua described her win as 'a huge watershed moment.'

October 3, 2014

LGBTI advocacy groups are very concerned about the new proposals

UK minister Chris Grayling, who believes B&Bs should have the right to turn away gay couples, wants to choose your human rights.

The Justice Secretary has said if the Conservatives win the next election, he wants to scrap the Human Rights Act by coming up with a new Bill of Rights.

Grayling has also said the Conservatives are prepared to distance itself from the European Convention of Human Rights, which requires rulings in Europe to be complied with in the UK.

October 2, 2014

On 1 October 1989 Denmark became the first country in the world to provide legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples – taking the first step on the road to marriage equality

Denmark is celebrating its Silver Anniversary of legally recognizing same-sex couples with civil partnerships this week – marking 25 years since it became the first country in the world to provide legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

On 1 October, 1989 the first 11 Danish same-sex couples were wed through civil ceremonies at the Copenhagen Town Hall by the then deputy mayor of the city Tom Ahlberg.

The same civil ceremony that was used for heterosexual couples to marry was used but with the word ‘marriage’ replaced with ‘registered partnership.’

September 26, 2014

After surviving a total of seven hostile amendments from Egypt, resolution passes 21-16 with seven abstentions

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday (26 September) passed a resolution which condemns discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Chile, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, states that it 'does not seek to create new rights. ... There are some whose rights are more violated and need more protection.'

Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay were joined by 42 additional co-sponsors.

September 26, 2014

After surviving a total of seven hostile amendments from Egypt, resolution passes 21-16 with seven abstentions

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday (26 September) passed a resolution which condemns discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Chile, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, states that it 'does not seek to create new rights. ... There are some whose rights are more violated and need more protection.'

Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay were joined by 42 additional co-sponsors.

September 18, 2014

'I'm a person who believes in standing up for his friends'

True Blood actor Joe Manganiello has revealed why he is such a staunch fighter for LGBTI equality.

'I had to watch my friends endure challenges not experienced by the straight community,' he said last weekend in Seattle while accepting the Ally for Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign.

Manganiello shared how he saw friends in school struggle with their sexuality and having their families not accept them and later he saw friends struggle in the job market or live in secret.

September 9, 2014

Activists fear the gay marriage bill has been shelved indefinitely

More than forty marriage equality and civil rights groups gathered outside the Taiwanese legislature in Taipei this morning calling on lawmakers to pass a marriage equality bill they say has been deliberately set aside.

They also announced a larger protest that will see 99 civil rights groups surround the Legislative Yuan when it reopens on October 5.

September 8, 2014

Bill that criminalizes inciting homophobic violence is approved

About 500 gay rights activists protested outside the Greek parliament in Athens on Friday evening after legislation on civil unions for gay couples was delayed.

Nearly three years after it was first brought to parliament, lawmakers approved a bill that criminalizes the incitement of violence on the basis of race or sexual orientation, but civil unions were left out of legislation.

Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said further study was needed on how the civil unions would affect tax, social insurance and family law.