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Content about Sri Lanka

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.

October 19, 2012

'I spent my allowance buying decorative boxes on my way home from the bus stop'

Home design guru Nate Berkus says his new book, The Things That Matter, was not supposed to be a memoir. But he couldn't help but share part about himself as he wrote about his and other people's homes.

September 27, 2012

Russia has passed a resolution at the United Nations which highlights traditional values: Experts say the Human Rights Council vote will be used against gay, trans and women's rights

Russia has won a vote in the United Nations today which promotes 'traditional values' above lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and women's rights.

In the resolution references to sexual orientation and transgender protection are actually removed from what is included in human rights.

Activists have said it makes demands for the UN to vote to decriminalize gay sex worldwide even more urgent.

July 4, 2012

Campaigner Rossana Flamer-Caldera says rise in nationalism in Sri Lanka poses major threat to LGBT rights at World Pride conference in London

Sri Lankan activist Rossana Flamer-Caldera says the only way to end the ban on gay sex in the former war-torn country is to appeal to ordinary people who ‘know what it’s like to have their human rights trampled on’.

Activists from around the Commonwealth met in London today (4 July) to discuss how the global community can work towards decriminalizing homosexuality in countries where former British colonial laws which banned being gay are still alive.

July 4, 2012

Campaigner Rossana Flamer-Caldera says rise in nationalism in Sri Lanka poses major threat to LGBT rights at World Pride conference in London

Sri Lankan activist Rossana Flamer-Caldera says the only way to end the ban on gay sex in the former war-torn country is to appeal to ordinary people who ‘know what it’s like to have their human rights trampled on’.

Activists from around the Commonwealth met in London today (4 July) to discuss how the global community can work towards decriminalizing homosexuality in countries where former British colonial laws which banned being gay are still alive.

June 27, 2012

International conference on LGBT human rights in the Commonwealth is to be hosted by Pride London next week

London is bringing activists from around the world together next week for a summit on how to decriminalize gay sex across the Commonwealth.

The city's pride bosses, who are hosting the World Pride festival this year, have teamed up with gay international organization, Kaleidoscope Trust and the Human Dignity Trust to tackle homophobia in the Commonwealth.

June 18, 2012

Six activists from around the world will talk about LGBT rights in the Commonwealth at World Pride event in London

Activists from six different countries around the world will talk about LGBT rights in the Commonwealth at a conference during London's World Pride celebrations next month.

The event in the UK capital on 4 July will focus on the decriminalization of homosexuality in countries where the Queen is still head of state and how best to achieve an end to gay bans around the world.

June 15, 2012

LGBT rights group have started a petition to the Sri Lankan government to repeal colonial anti-gay laws

A petition to repeal Sri Lanka’s colonial laws that are used to criminalize homosexual sex has been started by Equal Ground rights group.

Sections 365 and 365A of Sri Lanka’s penal code criminalize ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ and ‘gross indecency’ respectively. They have been historically used to penalize gay people but no one has been convicted by them for 50 years.