Friday, March 28, 2014

World News

Georgian anti-gay activists threaten harsh protests
STAFF REPORTS | TBILISI, Georgia -- Radical Orthodox Christians and clerics warned Wednesday that if the LGBT community in Georgia demonstrates again for their rights on May 17, they can expect a harsher retaliatory mood than the violent attacks organised by the same clerics and Orthodox priests a year ago.
On May 17, 2013, a small group of LGBT supporters organized a silent demonstration dedicated to the international day against homophobia, but several thousand anti-gay activists including radical Orthodox Christians and clerics, attacked them.
28 persons, including journalists and policemen were injured.
Basil Akhvlediani, an archpriest at Akaurta Sioni Church acting as a spokesperson for the clerics warned;
“If the May 17 [2013] events were not enough, the situation can get worse this year.”
The U.S. State Department criticised Georgian law enforcement authorities for not protecting the Georgian LGBT demonstrators in 2013, which caused the then Georgian Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, to claim that the police rescued people from physical abuse, but he added;
"[...] these people [LGBT] have always been beaten in Georgia."
A Georgian human rights activist, Uchi Nanuashvili told LGBTQ Nation that Georgia’s pending treaty with the EU, the Association Agreement, has become entangled in the debate over LGBT equality, as Orthodox activists see it as promoting "a homosexula agenda that endangers children."
The treaty, which is expected to be signed by June this year, will include criteria for guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities including sexual minorities.
Akhvlediani decried the treaty,
"In order to implement their aggressive propaganda, they [LGBT advocates] try to summon the international society,” he said. “EU and NATO membership can be considered suicide.”
The principal group which advocates LGBT equality rights in Georgia, Identoba, told LGBTQ Nation Friday that the group hasn't made concrete plans.
“We don’t know what the organization will do for May 17 this year," Natia Kharatishvili said, " but maybe it’s possible we don’t commemorate it at all." 
Human Rights group urge Kyrgyzstan’s national parliament to withdraw anti-gay bill
STAFF REPORTS | NEW YORK -- A draft bill to designed to curtail lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights should be withdrawn from Kyrgyzstan’s parliament, (Zhogorku Kenesh), Human Rights Watch, (HRW) a New York based human rights advocacy group said in a statement Thursday.
The law, which was published online Wednesday for public discussion, has not been officially registered for consideration by parliament. The bill would amend the nation's Criminal Code, the Code of Administrative Responsibility, the Law on Peaceful Assembly, and the Law on Mass Media, and would introduce a range of criminal and administrative sanctions on those who speak or act in a way that creates “a positive attitude toward nontraditional sexual orientation.”
"Those provisions in the bill would violate Kyrgyzstan’s constitution as well as international human rights law on nondiscrimination, freedom of expression, association, and assembly," Hugh Williamson, a spokesman for HRW said. “This draconian bill is blatantly discriminatory against LGBT people and would deny citizens across Kyrgyzstan their fundamental rights,” he said and added,
“The sponsors of this homophobic bill should withdraw it immediately, and the government and political parties should speak out against such legislation, making clear it has no place in Kyrgyzstan.”
Under the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, people who are found responsible for “creating a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations, using the media or information and telecommunications networks,” would face up to six months in prison and a fine of from 2,000 to 5,000 som (US$36 to $91).
If the person is found to “create a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations” among minors, or is a repeat offender, the prison term could be as long as a year and the fine would be 3,000 to 6,000 som ($55 to $110).
Fines also could be imposed under the administrative code for similar activities that do not amount to criminal acts under the proposed amendments.
In their explanatory note to the draft bill, the sponsors define “non-traditional sexual relations” as “sodomy, lesbianism and other forms of non-traditional sexual behavior.” They claim that the amendments are necessary “to safeguard and protect the traditional family, human, moral, and historical values of Kyrgyz society.”
“The government of Kyrgyzstan should protect its LGBT citizens from violence and discrimination, not limit their right to speak about their lives and the violations they experience,” Williamson said. “Attempting to exclude LGBT people as ‘nontraditional’ is cynical and dangerous, and tries to make them less than human.”