28 September 2017 - NPWJ News Digest on LGBTI rights


Outcry as Azerbaijan police launch crackdown on LGBT community
By The Guardian, 28 Sep 2017

Authorities in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, have begun a vicious crackdown on the city’s LGBT community, according to activists in the country. Reports suggest that over the past 10 days dozens of gay and trans people have been arrested. One person the Guardian contacted said he had been beaten in police custody. Homosexuality is legal in the oil-rich, post-Soviet country, but a survey released last year by a rights organisation ranked Azerbaijan as the worst of 49 European countries in which to be gay. 

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Two U.S. agencies at odds over protecting gays under Title VII
By Washington Blade , 27 Sep 2017

 NEW YORK — Two U.S. agencies — the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — were at odds Tuesday in arguments before a federal appeals court over whether existing civil rights law bars anti-gay employment discrimination. Meanwhile, judges on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals gave conflicting signals on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual workers, making a ruling in favor of gay rights anything but assured. Arguing the Trump administration’s position that lesbian, gay and bisexual people have no protections under Title VII was Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan. That position is new for the Justice Department and came about after the confirmation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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Seven arrested in Egypt after raising rainbow flag at concert
By BBC, 26 Sep 2017

The seven were reportedly detained on Monday for "promoting sexual deviancy", but have not yet been formally charged. Prosecutors opened an investigation after images from the concert by the Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila - whose lead singer is openly gay - went viral. Homosexuality is not explicitly criminalised under Egyptian law.

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Greece Should Do Better on Transgender Legal Recognition
By Human Rights Watch, 25 Sep 2017

This week, Greece’s parliament will start debating proposed legislation to amend the country’s law on legal gender recognition – or the ability of transgender people to be legally recognized according to their gender identity. The bill includes a lot that represents an enormous improvement on the status quo, but also retains some fundamental flaws that members of parliament should remove before it progresses.

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Russian Gay-Rights Activists Urge EU To Investigate Chechen Allegations
By Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, 25 Sep 2017

BRUSSELS -- Russian civil society activists are urging European Union member states to investigate crimes allegedly committed by Chechen authorities on gay men. Igor Kochetkov, the founder and council member of the Russian LGBT Network, told the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on September 25 that his organization had helped 76 people to leave Chechnya. "We should understand that those evacuated from Chechnya are still under threat not only in Chechnya but also outside. The Chechen authorities look for them directly or through their relatives and try to intimidate them," he told the committee.

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