What Everyone Ought to Know About Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

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NOTE: This text is from a New York Times Letter to the Editor in response to the article “Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill.”

The new antigay law in Uganda is alarming and, sadly, not shocking. You note that it follows the passage of similar legislation in Nigeria and fits within a growing trend that Amnesty International reported on last July.

The developments in Uganda and Nigeria underscore the depth to which many African leaders are determined to go, not only to discriminate against a segment of their populations, but also to incite hatred and potentially acts of violence. It is a failure of their obligations, internationally and regionally, to protect the rights of people living within their borders and a failure of governance.

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Sneaky Tricks Putin is Pulling to Stave Off Criticism During the Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at a welcoming event ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics (Photo Credit: David Goldman-Pool/Getty Images).

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at a welcoming event ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics (Photo Credit: David Goldman-Pool/Getty Images).

By Ludmila Krytynskaia, Amnesty USA Russia Country Specialist

President Vladimir Putin lifted a blanket ban on protests and rallies in Sochi shortly before the Olympic Games were launched, thereby fulfilling his promise to the International Olympic Committee to relax the rules governing protests in the city.

The easing of the protest ban coupled with the release of dozens of high-profile prisoners last month – including former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot – has led to speculation in the Western media about whether these decisions were a sign of a political thaw in Russia, a result of diplomatic behind-the-scenes maneuverings or just a public relations stunt to stave off criticism of the human rights situation in the country on the eve of the Olympics.

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Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark: A Tale of Two Identities

Josh Bryan is an American transgender man living in Denmark © Private.

Josh Bryan is an American transgender man living in Denmark © Private.

Josh Bryan is an American living in Copenhagen, where he helped to launch a recent Amnesty International report on discrimination against transgender people in the European Union. Below, he tells his story how strict Danish legislation has left him trapped in a system that doesn’t recognize his true identity while demanding that he surgically change his body.

My story is about being stuck in two legal identities. I live in Denmark, a country that prides itself on its liberalism and welfare for its citizens. However, the Danish legislation is very strict when it comes to transgender people – people whose gender identities don’t align with the legal gender they were assigned at birth – and that is why I’m now trapped in the system.

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Before the Sochi Olympics, Let President Putin Know He’s Not Fooling Anyone

Mikhail Kosenko has had psychiatric treatment forced upon him after participating in a peaceful protest in Bolotnaya Square (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

Mikhail Kosenko has had psychiatric treatment forced upon him after participating in a peaceful protest in Bolotnaya Square (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

Mikhail Kosenko had an ordinary life. He spent a lot of time in libraries and bookshops. His sister describes him as an intelligent, well-informed person.

Then one day, he decided to peacefully and publicly express his opinion. Against President Vladimir Putin.

In Russia, such opinions are not welcome. They are violently discouraged.

Stop the crackdown against people like Mikhail.

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4 Things We Want to Hear During Obama’s State of the Union Address Tonight

U.S. President Barack Obama walks along the colonnade of the White House from the residence to the Oval Office before the State Of The Union speech (Photo Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images).

U.S. President Barack Obama walks along the colonnade of the White House from the residence to the Oval Office before the State Of The Union speech (Photo Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images).

 

When President Obama addresses Congress tonight, he must give more than just lip service to human rights. We’ll be watching the State of the Union and listening to what he will propose on these four issues:

1. Immigration Reform

The President must work with Congress to fix the United States’ broken immigration system. Since 2001, immigration detention in the United States has more than doubled from just over 200,000 annually to 478,000 in 2012, an all-time high.

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The “Most Dangerous City in the World” – Especially for Sex Workers

Sex workers wait for customers in Honduras. Honduras now has the highest per capita murder rate in the world and its capital city, Tegucigalpa, is plagued by violence, poverty, homelessness and sexual assaults (Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

Sex workers wait for customers in Honduras. Honduras now has the highest per capita murder rate in the world and its capital city, Tegucigalpa, is plagued by violence, poverty, homelessness and sexual assaults (Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

Ian Lekus of Amnesty USA’s LGBT Human Rights Cogroup contributed to this post.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has been called “the most dangerous city in the world.” For sex workers in the city, the risk of violence is multiplied many times over.

Despite the fact that sex work is legal in Honduras, many groups and individuals view their actions as immoral. Those who murder sex workers believe they can literally treat these human beings as garbage to be disposed of. Such violence takes place against the broader backdrop of widespread gender- and sexuality-based violence that imperils women and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) persons all through Honduras.

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How Many More Will Die For Saying ‘I Love You’?

By Anna Bacciarelli, Assistant Editor at Amnesty International

‘I’m very much in love with you.’

In 2011, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede texted someone to tell them he loved them. Because he was texting in Cameroon, and because it was to another man, Roger was arrested. The police interrogated him for days, stripping him naked and beating him.

After a trial where he was denied legal representation, Roger was jailed for three years on charges of ‘homosexuality and attempted homosexuality’ and locked in an overcrowded prison where he was sexually assaulted, refused vital medical treatment and beaten by prison guards.

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