Education is a human right. It is both a right in itself and also a pathway to the enjoyment of other rights. Education is also an inalienable right for every child, and every child deserves the opportunity to receive one.
On Monday, February 23, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Randy Berry as the first ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Persons worldwide. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
My cousin lives in Boston and I was worried that he was somehow affected by the attacks. It immediately brought me back to 9/11 and the memory of how powerless I felt watching the Twin Towers fall. Luckily, my cousin was fine. But it wasn’t true for others. The grief of losing family and friends is unbearable.
Deliberate attacks against civilians by individuals or armed groups are always human rights abuses. Amnesty International condemns the attacks in Boston in the strongest terms. The victims have a right to remedy, including to see those responsible brought to justice in a fair trial that respects human rights and reaffirms the rule of law.
The Obama administration is right to prosecute the suspect in criminal court and ignore those calling for denial of human rights and civil liberties. The trial must be fair, the suspect must be treated humanely and we must not let fear-mongering and discrimination flourish. We all want justice and security, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
At long last, the 2013 country reports documenting global human rights trends has been released by the U.S. Department of State.
This year’s report, which was first produced during the Carter administration, is as important for what it does not say – or perhaps how it says it – as it is for what it says. In looking back at events in 2012, the report highlights several alarming trends, first what can only be described as a growing assault on civil society and human rights defenders.
By Emily McGranachan, Member of Amnesty International USA’s LGBT Human Rights Coordinating Group
Today the Supreme Court of the United States began hearing arguments on two pivotal cases involving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The focus of today’s hearing was on California’s Proposition 8, which wrote discrimination into the California Constitution by defining marriage in the state as between one man and one woman. The state constitutional amendment has been found unconstitutional by a federal appeals courts and supporters of marriage equality hope it will be struck down entirely.
Tomorrow the court hears arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits federal recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples. There is a great deal in the news about both cases and what they could mean for LGBT rights. The decisions made by the Supreme Court will have real impacts on individuals, children, and families, regardless of their sexual orientation.
An opinion piece written last week by Dani Dayan, a leader of an association of Israeli settlers, has sparked controversy over whether – as Dayan claims – Israeli settlers have a moral right to live in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). What has been missing so far from the discussion is the human rights perspective on the issue that Amnesty International considers most important.
Dayan insists in his column that “Israel’s Settlers Are Here to Stay” and argues that instead of trying to find a two-state solution, American diplomats should accept the status quo and “maintain the current reality on the ground.”
His argument, however, leaves out one significant fact — the establishment of settlements in the OPT violates international humanitarian law and also constitutes a serious violation of the prohibition on discrimination. The presence of settlements has led to mass violations of human rights of the local Palestinian population including, but not limited to, policies involving access to water, restrictions on movement, land confiscation and home demolitions. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
It sounds like a line from Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming comedy The Dictator, but it actually came from a real dictator.
Alexander Lukashenko, the president of ex-Soviet Belarus, said “better to be a dictator than gay” when responding to European criticism of the country’s democratic record. He was alluding to the sexual orientation of some European Foreign Ministers.
President Alexander Lukashenko has been ruling Belarus with an iron fist for almost 18 years. The country’s population is under 10 million and has faced sanctions. Belarus is one of the least democratic in Europe, and is Europe’s only country to have the death penalty. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Back in December, we told you about several countries where LGBT people are at risk, and Cameroon was one of the countries we listed, and we highlighted the case of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “homosexuality” under Section 347a of Cameroon’s penal code.
The situation in Cameroon continues to be dangerous for LGBT people, or those perceived as such. Since Amnesty began working on Jean-Claude’s case, at least two more men have been sentenced to prison terms for “homosexual acts” in Cameroon. We can’t let this discrimination continue.
Jean-Claude is scheduled to have an appeal hearing on Monday, March 5th, and we’re taking action—delivering petitions and reminding the president about all the appeals he’s already received—to make sure he hears these three things loud and clear:
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The report makes for grim reading. The LGBT community in Turkey is subject to a general atmosphere of harassment and discrimination. Violence is widespread and often comes from members of their own families. Assault, rape, and even murder go uninvestigated and unpunished.
Hate and intolerance have a new stage: Brazil’s House of Representatives. While the legislative body was created for reason and discourse, one of its elected officials has found ways to degrade the federal body by promoting racism and intolerance. Rio de Janeiro’s congressman Jair Bolsonaro is flagrantly using the legislative chamber to make racist comments against blacks and LGBT citizens, and to disseminate militaristic ideals.
During an interview with a national humoristic program, Mr. Bolsonaro was asked how he would feel if he found his son dating a black woman. He took this as an opportunity to make racist comments and indicated that he would “never allow this kind of promiscuity” (youtube video in Portuguese). While this interview was widely publicized and has led to a huge debate about racism in Brazil’s society, it is a shame that an elected official would even dare to speak this way of any civil group or minority. As if that weren’t enough, Mr. Bolsonaro has also expressed his support for military regimes over democratic governments.
It is absurd that an elected official would dare to utter such words. A person that believes that the military regime is better than democracy and who thinks that minorities aren’t humans with equal rights, ought not to be called a legislator. Mr. Bolsonaro is on his sixth consecutive term as Federal Representative for the State of Rio de Janeiro. It has been 21 years since he was first elected… What’s even worse is that he is not alone in his attitude and racist ideals.
Another Representative, this time from the State of Sao Paulo, Mr. Marco Feliciano, wrote in his Twitter account that “the filth in homoaffective feelings are conduits to hate, crime and rejection” and that “Africans descend from ancestors cursed by Noah.”
When elected official make comments such as the ones quoted in this article, racist and oppressive groups feel empowered and justified when attacking vulnerable groups. Just last week, Sao Paulo’s police identified 200 members of skinhead gangs that attacked and in many cases killed members of the black and homosexual communities in the city. According to a Brazilian gay group, 260 LGBT individuals were killed in Brazil in 2010, which represented 31% increase from 2009 and a 113% increase from 2005.
It is disturbing to know that those who are in charge of approving laws to protect society are the same people responsible for spreading hate and intolerance. We will only be able to reduce the number of hate crimes in Brazil when the country’s citizens demand that the rights of everyone, including the country’s minorities, are respected and protected. It is imperative that the legislative system focuses on the creation of laws designed to fight racism and hate crimes. Brazilians deserve better, much better.