24 May 2012 - NPWJ News Digest on LGBTI Rights

Articles

In US, Castro's daughter focuses on gay rights
Fox News.com, 24 May 2012

 The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro brought her fight for gay rights to a U.S. forum Wednesday, stressing the need to secure social equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation. Speaking in Spanish through a translator, Mariela Castro addressed about 50 medical professionals and transgender advocates at San Francisco General Hospital on Wednesday.
She has an international reputation as an outspoken gay rights advocate and lobbied her father's government to cover sex reassignment surgery under the national health plan, which it has since 2008, and to legalize same-sex marriages, which so far it has not.

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Beaten Ukrainian Gay Activist Unbowed
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, By Irena Chalupa, 24 May 2012

 Sheremet tells RFE/RL that less than an hour before the march was scheduled to begin, police began questioning the organizers about the need for such an event. He says they alluded to letters of protest that had been sent to Kyiv city authorities, and said, “Think about what you’re doing. There are so many people against you and we cannot guarantee your safety.” They said as many as 2,000 right-wing radicals were planning to protest the gay pride march.
Fearful for the safety of the participants in the march, Sheremet and the other organizers called off the event. He and a colleague briefed reporters on the scene about why the march had been canceled. Then they walked a few meters away to call for a taxi. That’s when four men wearing surgical masks swooped down on them. 

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First National Congress against Homophobia in Haiti
Defend.ht, Le nouvelliste, 23 May 2012

 The LGBT community in Haiti gathered more than three hundred men and women of sexual orientation stigmatized by Haitian society to tell the country to cease discriminatory practices against them. A man, slightly disguised, who spreads his fingers in speaking at the Hotel Montana, Thursday, May 17 at the first National Congress of the Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Population of Haiti, said he was proud to belong to the LGBT community.
In the hall resounded a voice: "Lese nou viv!" On the occasion of this event, several institutions supporting International Day against Homophobia were present at the Hotel Montana: Housing Works, the initiator of the movement that works with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA); UNAIDS, UNDP; Sérovie; Women in Action against Sexual Discrimination (FACDIS), the Ministry of Public Health, AIDS and Promoters Target Zero and Kouraj, a newly created organization.

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Zimbabwe Rejects Calls for LGBT Rights
By editors, Advocate.com, 21 May 2012

 During United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s first-ever visit to Zimbabwe, country officials have rejected calls for basic LGBT rights in the African nation, the Associated Press reports. According to the AP, Zimbabwe's justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, told Pillay at the start of her visit that the country will continue to arrest gays for same-sex relations, which are illegal in the country.

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Swaziland: Gay Hate Speech Writer Suspended
Allafrica, 21 May 2012

 The Swaziland writer at the centre of a gay hate speech storm has been suspended by his newspaper. The Times of Swaziland acted against Qalakaliboli Dlamini when an 'unprecedented' number of readers complained at his article last week attacking homosexuals. His weekly column did not appear yesterday (20 May 2012) and may never appear again. Times Sunday editor Innocent Maphalala told his readers, 'As Editor, I also take full responsibility for publication of the said article and unreservedly apologise to all our readers who found it in bad taste.'

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A Female President Demands Equal Rights for Africa’s Gays
By Frankie Edozien, International Herald Tribune, 20 May 2012

 The endorsement of marriage rights for same-sex couples by Barack Obama, the African-descended president of the United States, has struck some observers as a political calculation, others as courageous and some here in Africa as outrageous. But might Mr. Obama’s words have also inspired an African head of state to change her country’s course? Maybe.
Just nine days after Mr. Obama’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage rights, Malawi’s new president, Joyce Banda, denounced the continued persecution of gays and lesbians in her country. “Indecency and unnatural acts laws shall be repealed,” Mrs. Banda said in her first state-of-the-nation speech on Friday, according to The Associated Press.

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Winners of the Human Rights Defenders Award
Global Equality Today, 19 May 2012

 The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that Ales Byalyatski of Belarus and Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law are the joint winners of the 2011 Human Rights Defenders Award. This award recognizes individuals or non-governmental organizations that show exceptional valor and leadership in advocating the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression.
Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law is honored for effectively defending the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, often at great personal risk. The Coalition, which is comprised of 40 Ugandan NGOs, has successfully defended the rights of LGBT individuals in Ugandan courts, sparked public dialogue on LGBT rights in Uganda, and challenged widespread misperceptions and prejudices.

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Orthodox Christians attack gay pride parade in Tbilisi (Georgia)
The observers, France 24, 18 May 2012

 A rare attempt by Georgian gay rights activists to hold a pride parade didn’t go so well. About 40 people were marching through the capital Tbilisi to mark the International Day Against Homophobia on Thursday when dozens of radical Orthodox Christians, led by priests, surrounded them and demanded they stop. The confrontation quickly descended into a fistfight; police detained several people on both sides.

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