This No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) news digest rounds up some of the week’s top LGBTI rights stories for the week ending 14 February:
New Wave of Anti-LGBT Persecution in Russia
Human Rights Watch, 15 Feb 2019
Russian authorities should investigate allegations of a new wave of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persecution in Chechnya and take steps to protect rights defenders and journalists who expose abuses there, Human Rights Watch said today.
On January 14, 2019, a leading activist with the Russian LGBT Network, Igor Kochetkov, stated that the Network had received credible reports about a new wave of LGBT round-ups by authorities in Chechnya. On January 29, he filed a complaint with Russia’s chief investigative agency. On the day the complaint was filed, a YouTube video with explicit threats against Kochetkov began circulating on social media. On January 30, he filed a complaint about the threats, but there has been no action by the authorities either about the persecution in Chechnya or about the threats to Kochetkov.
North Africa seen as unsafe for LGBT people: rights groups
DW, 14 Feb 2019
The Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house of parliament, is considering whether to recognize Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia as “safe countries of origin.” Yet LGBT people are still persecuted in all three places. In early January, a young man entered a police station in the coastal city of Sfax, Tunisia and filed charges against two men who he said had raped and robbed him.
Over the course of the investigation, he was subjected to an enforced anal examination meant to detect sodomy, an exam which is legally allowed in Tunisia for “clarification purposes.” Afterward, he himself was taken into custody and charged with homosexuality, a criminal offense punishable in Tunisia with up to three years in prison.
Turkey: End Ankara Ban on LGBTI Events
Human Rights Watch, 14 Feb 2019
The ban in Turkey’s capital Ankara on public events focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) issues discriminates against LGBTI people and violates their fundamental rights, and should therefore be immediately lifted, Human Rights Watch said today.
The ban was originally imposed in November 2017 for an indefinite period under Turkey’s state of emergency, but even though emergency rule ended in July 2018, the Ankara governor’s office has not lifted the ban. Instead, on October 3, the governor’s office informed law enforcement and other authorities that it remained in force, gave no indication of when it would end, and extended the ban to LGBTI-focused events generally, not just those organized by LGBTI associations.
In a first, LGBT couples sue Japan over the constitutionality of not recognizing same-sex marriage
The Japan Times , 14 Feb 2019
Claiming that it is unconstitutional for Japan to not recognize same-sex marriage, 13 lesbian and gay couples on Thursday filed lawsuits against the government.
In the first legal challenge of its kind in Japan, couples of various age groups, from their 20s to 50s, simultaneously brought suits to district courts in Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo on Valentine’s Day.
They are each demanding ¥1 million in compensation with an additional holdback worth 5 per cent of the damages sought until the payment is complete, as well as funds to cover litigation costs incurred during the process.
Gay Star News, 13 Feb 2019
LGBTI equality campaigners in the US have slammed a Tennessee indecent exposure bill. They say it unfairly targets trans and non-binary residents. House Bill 1151 would expand the offence of indecent exposure to include bathrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms if the offender is ‘of the opposite sex than the sex designated for use’.Activists have slammed a segment that states: ‘A medical, psychiatric, or psychological diagnosis of gender dysphoria, gender confusion, or similar conditions in the absence of untreated mental conditions such as schizophrenia, does not serve as a defence to the offence of indecent exposure’.