Amnesty International Report 2009

May 29, 2009

amnesty-report-2009The Amnesty International Report 2009 is out (link here) and copies may be downloaded from the website (link here).

Earlier this year, I was extremely disappointed at the exclusionary attitude of Amnesty UK to trans women in its “1 in 10” campaign (link here) so I approached this report wondering how the international organisation view us. I ran searches for trans and transsexual, which returned no results, although a search for transgender (link here) returned three pages – mostly, it has to be said via the typical subheading “Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”, but in summary, items directly concerning TS/TG people seem to be as follows:

Belarus: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists were denied permission to hold events. […] activists were told that their action would block traffic […] that they had not proved that they would provide adequate medical assistance or stewarding for the event, or that they would clean up afterwards […]

Bulgaria: […] the first LGBT Pride event to be held in Bulgaria was organized in Sofia by Gemini, a Bulgarian organization working for the rights of LGBT people. […] Some 150 peaceful marchers faced violence from counter-demonstrators who threw stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails. […] The Prime Minister, although acknowledging the right to demonstrate peacefully, expressed his personal opposition to the march.

Cambodia: […] a transgender woman submitted the first complaint to the ECCC about gender-related abuse under the Khmer Rouge, including sexual violence in the form of gang rape in detention, and forced marriage.

Czech Republic […] in Brno, around 500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists took part in the first Pride parade in the Czech Republic. Despite two counter-demonstrations being banned by the city authorities, an estimated 150 far-right demonstrators gathered to protest against the parade.

Honduras: The investigation into the beating and rape of Donny Reyes, treasurer of the Rainbow Association (Fundacion Arcoiris), a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organization, did not progress. In 2007, Donny Reyes was arbitrarily detained by police officers, and taken to a police station where an officer told other inmates “look, I’m bringing you a little princess, you know what to do”. Other inmates repeatedly beat and raped him. One police officer was punished with one month’s suspension from duty without pay.

Hungary: […] the Budapest Chief of Police decided to ban the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride parade scheduled for the beginning of July […] Amid international and national pressure he reversed his decision on 13 June.

[…] around 450 people took part in the parade during which explosive devices were thrown at police by hundreds of violent far-right demonstrators chanting threatening slogans. The following day, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány condemned violence against LGBT rights marchers and called for decisive action against extremism and intolerance.

[…] four counter-demonstrators received minor fines and three were acquitted […] after they were taken into custody for throwing eggs and disobeying police orders during the parade. […]

[…] the Budapest Central District Court gave an 18-month suspended prison sentence to a man who attacked police by throwing stones at least three times during the parade.

Latvia: […] a Pride march was held in Riga to celebrate the rights of LGBT people. The march was protected by law enforcement officials and no major attacks were mounted against participants. However, a large number of counter-demonstrators engaged in verbal abuse. Prior to the event, derogatory statements were reportedly made against LGBT people by an official in the Mayor of Riga’s office.

Lithuania: Municipal authorities in Lithuania issued derogatory statements against LGBT people. An EU initiative, the “For Diversity, Against Discrimination” touring truck, aimed at raising awareness about EU legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender, disability, age, religion and belief, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation, was banned […]

Paraguay: The Truth and Justice Commission investigated two cases related to sexual identity, but cited a lack of reliable evidence of wider repression against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population.

Romania: In its May Universal Periodic Review report to the UN Human Rights Council, the government acknowledged that LGBT people continued to face prejudice and discriminatory attitudes.
[…] around 200 LGBT rights activists marched through Bucharest in a heavily policed pride parade, defying efforts by religious and far-right groups to have the annual event banned.

Rwanda: The government was hostile towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, whose members faced harassment and intimidation. In March, two female LGBT activists were accused of forging documents and detained for two weeks after attending a LGBT conference in Mozambique.

Turkey: Laws continued to be interpreted in ways that discriminated against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Allegations persisted of violence by law enforcement officials against transgender people.

[…] a local court in Istanbul ordered the closure of Lambda Istanbul, an organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, after the Istanbul Governor’s Office complained that the organization’s objectives were “against moral values and family structure”.

A transgender person […] was picked up on the street, taken to the Ankara Security Directorate and then insulted and beaten by police. She was released six hours later after paying a fine.

Uganda: There were continuing attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and on human rights defenders working on LGBT rights.

[…] a number of LGBT activists and individuals were arrested and faced torture, including sexual assault, and other ill-treatment by police and security personnel while in detention.

Additionally, LGB people are known to have suffered human rights abuses in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon, Gambia, Greece, Jamaica, Moldova, Nigeria, Nepal, Poland, Russia and Senegal.

I can’t help wondering how many more reasons, how much more proof, and how many more of us must suffer these human rights abuses before our cis allies will stand with us against this rising tide of transphobic bigotry and violence.

It’s time to stop looking the other way.


Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

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