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October 24, 2014

The country's opposition leader has been prosecuted four times under the law

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for an end to the prosecution of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim under the country's anti-gay law.

Next week, the country's top court will hear Anwar’s appeal of his March conviction for violating the colonial sodomy law, which criminalizes same-sex relations.

The prosecution is cross-appealing Anwar’s five-year jail term, which could result in a sentence of up to 20 years.

October 22, 2014

A comprehensive report by Human Rights Watch details how Jamaica’s LGBT community faces widespread discrimination and violence

A new report by the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch paints a damning portrait of the treatment of LGBT people in Jamaica.

The Human Rights Watch report – Not Safe at Home – follows five weeks of study on the Caribbean island country from April to June last year.

September 25, 2014

Report finds transgender women face systemic abuse and discrimination in one of the few countries to criminalize them

Malaysian transgender women are routinely arrested and abused by religious officials and police in one of the few countries to criminalize them, according to a new report.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed 45 transgender people for the report, which was released today.

One of the interviewees, Victoria, said she was arrested in 2011 by religious officials who stripped and sexually assaulted her.

She said, ‘They were rough. One of them squeezed my breasts. I was completely humiliated.

September 12, 2014

Lawyer says being a male hairdresser or drinking a 'woman's drink' can be used as evidence of homosexuality in court

A Cameroonian human rights lawyer has described how courts in the African country use gender stereotypes to convict suspected gay people.

Michel Togue told the ThinkProgress blog that he had defended dozens of people charged with gay sex but very few were actually caught in the act.

Cameroon punishes gay sex with up to five years in jail and a fine, and according to human rights groups arrests more gay people than any other country.

April 27, 2014

'Obama wants to appear to his own people, and to the rest of the world, as the leader of the free world. It is easy for him to perform USA's moral leadership globally by supporting rights issues elsewhere. But why should Obama have the moral imperative to support local rights issues elsewhere?'

(With US President Barack Obama on a historic visit to Malaysia this weekend, Malaysian LGBT rights activist Pang Khee Teik responds to the Human Rights Watch’s call on Obama to address LGBT issues among other rights during his visit.)

April 26, 2014

'Speaking out on anti-gay persecution in Kuala Lumpur could have a long-lasting impact in Malaysia, both in demonstrating international support for this community under threat, and in setting the tone for a more civil public debate in the country,' says Human rights Watch's Asia advocacy director John Sifton

US President Barack Obama should use his historic visit to Malaysia this weekend to speak directly to concerns about the country’s deteriorating human rights situation, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday.

Obama arrives in the Muslim-majority country on Saturday for a two-night stay; the first visit by a serving US president since 1966.

March 29, 2014

Kyrgyzstan has gone a step further than its former parent-state Russia to introduce a bill that not only prohibits 'gay propaganda' but statements that may 'create a positive attitude' towards 'non-traditional sexual relations'

The ex-Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan last week announced a new bill that would make any statement that creates 'a positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation' – whether or not it amounts to a criminal act under the law – punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine.

Although there are no laws that prohibit sexual relations between men as it was decriminalised in 1998, a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) has found that gay and bisexual men have been subjected to a range of physical, sexual, and psychological abuses at the hands of police in Kyrgyzstan.

February 24, 2014

Amnesty, Human Rights Group, and even Deputy PM Nick Clegg haves slammed the new law implementing life imprisonment for repeat offenders for homosexuality

Global gay rights groups have condemned Uganda’s president for signing the anti-gay bill into law.

Yoweri Museveni signed the long-delayed bill into law, one of the most draconic legislations in the world.

It toughens up present laws to include life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’ of homosexuality.

It will also be illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality, and those who fail to report homosexuals to the police will also risk arrest or jail.

February 12, 2014

International human rights group Human Rights Watch has called on the Malaysian Government to stop trying to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim prosecuted over claims he has had sex with men and to end its colonial era ban on gay sex

Human Rights Watch have called on the Malaysian Government to end its attempts to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim jailed over claims he has had sex with men in what is widely viewed as an effort to keep the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in power.

BN have ruled Malaysia since 1974 and Ibrahim is a former BN MP turned vocal critic of the government who has been trying to unseat the Malaysian Government since 1998.

January 29, 2014

Human Rights Watch have called on the country's government to deal with the 'nightmare' for LGBTI people

Gay men are reportedly facing extreme abuse by police, including at least one instance of ‘hammer rape’, in Kyrgyzstan.

International charity Human Rights Watch is urging authorities in the Central Asian country to acknowledge the police brutality and investigate all allegations of torture, blackmail and intimidation.

‘Gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan already live in fear due to widespread homophobic attitudes, and the police are making a nightmarish situation even worse,” Human Rights Watch researcher Anna Kirey said.

January 29, 2014

Human Rights Watch have called on the country's government to deal with the 'nightmare' for LGBTI people

Gay men are reportedly facing extreme abuse by police, including at least one instance of ‘hammer rape’, in Kyrgyzstan.

International charity Human Rights Watch is urging authorities in the Central Asian country to acknowledge the police brutality and investigate all allegations of torture, blackmail and intimidation.

‘Gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan already live in fear due to widespread homophobic attitudes, and the police are making a nightmarish situation even worse,” Human Rights Watch researcher Anna Kirey said.

January 12, 2014

A Cameroonian man who was jailed for sending a text message to another man saying ‘I’m very much in love with you’ and labeled a ‘curse’ by his family has died

Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé, 34, died on Friday (10 January) in Cameroon after his family removed him from hospital where he was seeking treatment for a hernia, according to a lawyer who worked on his case.

Mbédé was arrested in March 2011 after texting another man with the message ‘I’m very much in love with you’. He was convicted the following month and sentenced to three years in jail under a Cameroonian law that imposes up to five years in prison for homosexual acts.

January 3, 2014

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks publicly acknowledges her sexual orientation for the first time, becoming the country’s first openly lesbian prime minister

Germany’s Environment Minister has come out as a lesbian.

While some maintain Barbara Hendrick’s sexuality was an ‘open secret,’ the 61-year-old minister officially came out in a recent interview with Rheinische Post.

When asked what she had planned for New Year’s Eve, Hendrick revealed she would be celebrating with her partner in Berlin.

January 3, 2014

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks publicly acknowledges her sexual orientation for the first time, becoming the country’s first openly lesbian prime minister

Germany’s Environment Minister has come out as a lesbian.

While some maintain Barbara Hendrick’s sexuality was an ‘open secret,’ the 61-year-old minister officially came out in a recent interview with Rheinische Post.

When asked what she had planned for New Year’s Eve, Hendrick revealed she would be celebrating with her partner in Berlin.

November 30, 2013

Alternatives-Cameroun awarded for HIV education and medical support, particularly for sexual minorities, in difficult circumstances

An organization who provide HIV education and medical support for sexual minorities in Cameroon, in the midst of increasing violence against LGBT people, has won the 2013 Awards for Action from the Canadian HIV/Aids Legal Network.

November 21, 2013

Now LGBTI activists get ready to turn Coca-Cola’s headline sponsorship of the Sochi games into an embarrassing failure

Coca-Cola has indicated it will not be taking a stance against Russia’s anti-gay laws at the Sochi Winter Olympics where it is a headline sponsor.

The soft drinks firm has also backed the International Olympic Committee’s response to Russian human rights abuses.

October 22, 2013

Thabo Makgoba, Metropolitan of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa has released a video statement in which he calls for an end to violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Africa

The Most Revd Dr. Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of Southern Africa, has partnered with international human rights group Human Rights Watch to release a video message decrying homophobic violence and anti-LGBT discrimination on the African continent.

In the video Makgoba challenges arguments put forward by several African governments that culture, tradition, and religion justify the marginalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

‘Don’t fear,’Makgoba says to LGBT people in the video message.

September 17, 2013

Global human rights group Human Rights Watch have called on Malaysia to repeal its colonial era law banning gay sex as the government continues to use it to harass Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

Global human rights group Human Rights Watch have called on the Malaysian Government to cease its legal harassment of Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and repeal the country’s colonial era sodomy law.

Human Rights Watch made the call after the Malaysian Government decided to appeal the acquittal of Ibrahim in the Malaysian High Court on sodomy charges.

August 8, 2013

Desmond Tutu and Pope Francis’ gay-friendly remarks sparked a public debate in the West. In Sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly in the DRC, discussion has been limited

Gay-friendly declarations from the clergy have been all the rage lately. On 26 July 2013, at a press conference for a United Nations campaign to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu declared he would rather attend hell than a homophobic heaven.

These words were spun into international headlines.

July 26, 2013

Groups say they can no longer work without the protection of the authorities

Gay rights and Aids prevention groups in Cameroon say they can no longer do their work under the threat of violence without the protection of the police, following the murder of high-profile activist Eric Lembembe last week.

'We have all decided to stop our work in the field because our security is at risk,' said executive director of Alternatives-Cameroun Yves Yomb, the Guardian reports. 'We have no protection from the police and we feel that our lives are at risk.'

July 24, 2013

As the world is in shock over the brutal murder of gay rights activists Eric Lembembe, the court readies to free two men convicted of homosexuality

Cameroon has found two men guilty of having gay sex, a lawyer has revealed.

As the world is shocked over the brutal murder of Cameroonian gay activst Eric Lembembe, it was revealed two men had been jailed for homosexuality.

Nicolas Ntamack, 19, received a one year jail sentence, with Joseph Omgbwa, 48, imprisoned for two years. Seraphin Ntsama, a third suspect, was acquitted.

July 16, 2013

Human Rights Watch has accused the authorities of failing to do anything, sending a message gay people can be murdered without consequence

A Cameroon gay activist was tortured and killed, it was revealed today (16 July).

Eric Ohena Lembembe’s body was discovered by his friends at his home in the capital Yaounde on Monday evening after he had unreachable for two days.

According to the Human Rights Watch, the friends found his front door padlocked on the outside but could see Lembembe’s body lying on his bed through the window.

According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.



July 12, 2013

But homosexuality remains officially illegal and there are sometimes police crackdowns

The Lebanese Psychiatric Society has declared homosexuality is not a mental illness.

The society says in a statement: 'Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities.'

It also states: 'The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.'

July 12, 2013

But homosexuality remains officially illegal and there are sometimes police crackdowns

The Lebanese Psychiatric Society has declared homosexuality is not a mental illness.

The society says in a statement: 'Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities.'

It also states: 'The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.'