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Content about Sri Lanka

January 21, 2015

The film festival held as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival has announced its full line up of films for this year, with home grown talent shining in 2015’s selection

From ballerinas to roller derby players, rodeo cowboys to surf lifesavers, and everything in between, the organizers of the 22nd Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival say they aim to deliver the best in LGBTI cinema in 2015.

The festival will be held at Sydney’s Event Cinemas George Street from Thursday 19 February to Thursday 5 March in 2015.

Film fans have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of the festival’s full program since the release of ten teaser films last November.

January 19, 2015

Sri Lankan LGBTI rights group Equal Ground hope the incoming government of President Maithripala Sirisena will be more open minded to the needs of sexual minorities and transgender people

A leading Sri Lankan LGBTI rights group has expressed hope that Sri Lanka will move forward to protect the needs of sexual minorities and transgender people now that the New Democratic Front coalition have taken power.

President Maithripala Sirisena was swept into power at the start of this year with the backing of Sri Lanka’s minority Muslim and Tamil communities and rural Sinhalese voters that had become disenchanted after 10 years of government by outgoing president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

January 19, 2015

Sri Lankan LGBTI rights group Equal Ground hope the incoming government of President Maithripala Sirisena will be more open minded to the needs of sexual minorities and transgender people

A leading Sri Lankan LGBTI rights group has expressed hope that Sri Lanka will move forward to protect the needs of sexual minorities and transgender people now that the New Democratic Front coalition have taken power.

President Maithripala Sirisena was swept into power at the start of this year with the backing of Sri Lanka’s minority Muslim and Tamil communities and rural Sinhalese voters that had become disenchanted after 10 years of government by outgoing president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

December 26, 2014

It was 10 years ago today that Berkus' partner was swept out to sea while they were vacationing at a beach resort in Sri Lanka

For the past 10 years, the day after Christmas has marked a sad anniversary for TV interior design guru Nate Berkus.

It was on 26 December in 2004 that Berkus was vacationing at a beach resort in Sri Lanka with his his partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea, and the Indian Ocean tsunami hit.

Bengoechea was swept out to sea, his body never recovered.

'My thoughts, prayers, and love go out to all who lost someone in the tsunami 10 years ago today,' Berkus tweeted today.

October 22, 2014

Representatives of the Government of Sri Lanka have admitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee that LGBTI people are protected under its constitution – though they maintain their country’s anti-sodomy law is not discriminatory

The Sri Lankan Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has admitted for the first time this month that its constitution protects people from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Representatives of the government made the admission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee after being questioned on the issue.

October 22, 2014

Representatives of the Government of Sri Lanka have admitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee that LGBTI people are protected under its constitution – though they maintain their country’s anti-sodomy law is not discriminatory

The Sri Lankan Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has admitted for the first time this month that its constitution protects people from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Representatives of the government made the admission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee after being questioned on the issue.

July 2, 2014

Slip alongside ‘water unicorns’, watch polar bear cubs emerge in the world for the first time, join 300 elephants at a watering hole, or see a real-life march of the penguins

The official name for ‘water unicorns’ is narwhal, and while they are more wales than magical horse, they are no less extraordinary to see up close and personal.

This is just one of the ridiculously incredible safari experiences on offer from Natural World Safaris, who have just launched a Nature’s Events collection of safaris around the world to witness some of the world’s coolest natural occurrences.

April 25, 2014

Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister has ruled out allowing gay couples to marry in his majority Buddhist South Asian island nation

The Sri Lankan Government will not entertain the idea of allowing same-sex couples to marry, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has told a conference with media editors.

Rajapaka made the comment during a discussion about a reported increase in unregistered heterosexual marriages, particularly in rural parts of Sri Lanka, when one of the editors raised the issue of same-sex marriage.

April 25, 2014

Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister has ruled out allowing gay couples to marry in his majority Buddhist South Asian island nation

The Sri Lankan Government will not entertain the idea of allowing same-sex couples to marry, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has told a conference with media editors.

Rajapaka made the comment during a discussion about a reported increase in unregistered heterosexual marriages, particularly in rural parts of Sri Lanka, when one of the editors raised the issue of same-sex marriage.

January 24, 2014

Sri Lankan MP Mangala Samaraweera, outed by Wikileaks, says President Mahinda Rajapaksa is out to get him and that the government is using a man accused of stealing from his house to frame him for breaking the country’s sodomy law

Sri Lankan MP Mangala Samaraweera says the ruling party is out to get him for splitting from the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) and says they are using false accusations of sodomy by a thief who robbed his home to try to destroy him.

The man accused of burglarizing Samaraweera’s home was arrested last week but was soon out on bail and President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, a former ambassador and political appointee of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been hired to defend him.

January 24, 2014

Sri Lankan MP Mangala Samaraweera, outed by Wikileaks, says President Mahinda Rajapaksa is out to get him and that the government is using a man accused of stealing from his house to frame him for breaking the country’s sodomy law

Sri Lankan MP Mangala Samaraweera says the ruling party is out to get him for splitting from the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) and says they are using false accusations of sodomy by a thief who robbed his home to try to destroy him.

The man accused of burglarizing Samaraweera’s home was arrested last week but was soon out on bail and President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, a former ambassador and political appointee of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been hired to defend him.

November 14, 2013

Commonwealth leaders have refused to discuss LGBTI issues at their summit in Colombo and now the Sri Lankan government is cracking down on dissent

Sri Lankan gay activists have been threatened and ordered to keep silent as Commonwealth leaders gather in the country.

The LGBTI campaigners say they have been forced underground, reflecting a wider crackdown on civil society ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from tomorrow (15 November).

Commonwealth leaders have refused to discuss gay, trans and intersex issues at the summit – despite the fact 80% of member countries still criminalize homosexuality.

November 14, 2013

Commonwealth leaders have refused to discuss LGBTI issues at their summit in Colombo and now the Sri Lankan government is cracking down on dissent

Sri Lankan gay activists have been threatened and ordered to keep silent as Commonwealth leaders gather in the country.

The LGBTI campaigners say they have been forced underground, reflecting a wider crackdown on civil society ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from tomorrow (15 November).

Commonwealth leaders have refused to discuss gay, trans and intersex issues at the summit – despite the fact 80% of member countries still criminalize homosexuality.

November 11, 2013

A coalition of over 20 LGBTI rights groups from across the Commonwealth of Nations has released a report outlining the tragic situation for LGBTIs living in most of its member nations

LGBTI rights groups from across the former British Empire have joined forces to highlighting the plight of LGBTIs in many Commonwealth member states during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka this week.

Homosexuality is still illegal in 41 of the 53 Commonwealth member states and the groups, including Australia’s Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation, have come together to release a damning report which demands Commonwealth leaders take action to stop widespread human rights abuses against LGBTI people.

November 8, 2013

Australia’s Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation has asked Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make sure he raises the issue of LGBTI human rights at the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka this week

Australian global LGBTI rights group the Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation has issued a public letter calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to declare his support for the rights of LGBTI people at the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this weekend.

‘We are aware that you are preparing to go to the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka this month,’ the Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation wrote to Abbott’s office.

November 6, 2013

Omar Kuddus asks if LGBTI activism has become dominated by ‘fashions’ and whether a focus on Russia is distracting from the wider struggle for rights

Whilst the world’s and media’s attention is focused on the plight of Russian LGBTIs, we must not forget homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries.

With the Winter Olympics Sochi in 2014 and Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws firmly in place, not a day goes by without some news about the conditions Russian homosexuals face under the heinous anti-gay propaganda laws.

September 29, 2013

NGO says gay rights activists have been threatened with arrest, organizations warned of closure if they continue to advocate human rights for all

As protests erupt worldwide over the Sochi Olympics in view of the Russian government’s homophobic laws and statements, activists are drawing a parallel with the situation in a far-away part of the world, Sri Lanka.

The sunny island of Sri Lanka, known for its tea, cricket and a past violent ethnic conflict that claimed thousands of lives, will be hosting the meeting of the heads of Commonwealth governments in November.

September 29, 2013

NGO says gay rights activists have been threatened with arrest, organizations warned of closure if they continue to advocate human rights for all

As protests erupt worldwide over the Sochi Olympics in view of the Russian government’s homophobic laws and statements, activists are drawing a parallel with the situation in a far-away part of the world, Sri Lanka.

The sunny island of Sri Lanka, known for its tea, cricket and a past violent ethnic conflict that claimed thousands of lives, will be hosting the meeting of the heads of Commonwealth governments in November.

September 7, 2013

Buddhist monk arrested for alleged gay pedophilia, transgender schoolboy entrapped in smear campaign

After state-supported homophobic campaigns in Russia, Zimbabwe and several other African countries, the Buddhist island state of Sri Lanka has also begun a systematic crackdown on its gay community, rights activists say.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, which controls the army, law enforcement agencies and the media, is now orchestrating a smear campaign against the community to project its members as criminals and pedophiles and alienate them from civil society, according to human rights defenders.

August 31, 2013

Local media reports crackdown at Colombo house used as a gay rendezvous 

Sri Lanka witnessed its first gay wedding this month followed by a state crackdown that saw the bride and groom, their relatives and other guests at the event in capital city Colombo arrested, Sri Lankan media reported.

Neth FM Balumgala, a local radio station, said the wedding was held in the capital on 16 August, observing all the traditional rituals, including the exchange of rings and vows.

August 31, 2013

Local media reports crackdown at Colombo house used as a gay rendezvous 

Sri Lanka witnessed its first gay wedding this month followed by a state crackdown that saw the bride and groom, their relatives and other guests at the event in capital city Colombo arrested, Sri Lankan media reported.

Neth FM Balumgala, a local radio station, said the wedding was held in the capital on 16 August, observing all the traditional rituals, including the exchange of rings and vows.

February 18, 2013

'It made me a better person, it made me a more compassionate person'

Nate Berkus became a familiar face to viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show more than a decade ago as an interior designer who was a frequent guest on the show.

But it wasn't until December 2004 that his personal life became a lot more public. He and his partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea were vacationing at a beach resort in Sri Lanka when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit. While Berkus survived, Bengoechea went missing and is presumed dead.

Berkus appeared on Winfrey's daytime show a month later to talk about his ordeal and the loss of his love.

February 18, 2013

'It made me a better person, it made me a more compassionate person'

Nate Berkus became a familiar face to viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show more than a decade ago as an interior designer who was a frequent guest on the show.

But it wasn't until December 2004 that his personal life became a lot more public. He and his partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea were vacationing at a beach resort in Sri Lanka when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit. While Berkus survived, Bengoechea went missing and is presumed dead.

Berkus appeared on Winfrey's daytime show a month later to talk about his ordeal and the loss of his love.

December 14, 2012

Human Rights Watch deputy director, Asia, tells Gay Star News that the UK government should publicly denounce anti-gay laws that were set up by the British empire

The British government should do more to persuade ex-colonies to repeal anti-gay laws, Phil Robertson the deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch told Gay Star News yesterday.

Former British colonies Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean still carry Section 377 or similar versions of the British-empire-era law that criminalizes gay sex.