Matthew

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Re; Work On Him Until He Confesses

This is a quick post to add a link from Human Rights Watch new report entitled ‘Work On Him Until He Confesses’.

The report documents how President Hosni Mubarak’s Government(Egypt) allows police abuse towards its own citizens by failing to investigate accusations of torture, and not allowing criminal prosecutions. There in effect leaving the abused party with NO form of remedy.

The link will bring to a page that sets out the table of content for the report, and allows you to receive it in the English and Arabic translation.

Hope you Enjoy

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Do Ask, Do Tell, We Don’t Care

In 1993 a so-called comprise between the then president of the United States Bill Clinton and military leaders resulted in the policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. The policy meant that gay men and women, as well as bisexuals, could serve in the United States armed forces as long as their sexuality was kept secret, and they did not engage in these practices on or off base. In return for this there would be no intrusions into anyone’s personal lives. Although consensual sexual behaviour between those of the same sex remained a criminal offence under military law, and since the implementation of DADT in 1993 14,000 service persons have been wrongly discharged from the services based on a sexual trait, and NOT due to any lack of skill.

To summarize, this policy led to a clear message that non-heterosexual behavior of any kind was unacceptable, it cost people their livelihoods, led to harassment, and the military lost out on valuable members of the service due to an irrelevant fact.

Now however in 2011 ‘Do Ask, Do Tell, We Don’t Care’ policy has occurred. I use these words for emphasis on the policy, but in essence the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act’ of 2010 has done just that.

This Act signed by president Obama is a massive step in stopping irrelevant characterics stigmatising capable men and women.

So I would like to give big congratulations to the United States for setting an example to the rest of the world.

I leave with just one important message from Human Rights Watch:

“Human Rights Watch urges the Defence Department to implement rapidly the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.”

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The War Against Rape

This is a post to praise UN Security Council Resolution 1960, passed on December 16 2010, which constitutes a step further to stop sexual assaults against women.

It finally allows public shaming of armed groups who have been proven to sexually abuse women. It also spells out instructions to end the practice and avoid future shaming. However most importantly sends a clear message that using rape as a weapon of war can lead to sanctions. The reason I bold rape as a weapon of war, is because I find it to be an under looked point, and one of the most serious war crimes. This type of sexual abuse is man’s lowest quality, and the worst form of obsession. No woman should be degraded in this manner.

So I would like to congratulate the UN Security Council for this strong step to stop these harness abuses, and quote Marianne Mollmann, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

“Today is a big day for women worldwide.”

Of course as a side point which I often mention at the end of my posts, the question that arises is: why has this taken so long to be achieved?

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Dignity for All Students Act

An interesting piece of legislation was signed by the New York governor entitled the Dignity for All Students Act. The basic terms of the legislation is to protect students from bullying and harassment. The reason I mention this legislation however is because it is the first New York piece of legislation that directly refers to gender identity, and expression.

I just want to welcome this important piece of legislation that thanks to the tireless efforts of state lawmakers, and Governor Patterson makes students more safe. Due to this legislation students can now be protected legally for having to put up with relentless bullying  for a characteristics they can not help. Finally, New York has recognised these consequences that leave young individuals emotionally and/or physically damaged, with no option but taking their own lives. So I welcome this important piece of legislation.

However I would ask the question why has it took so long ? How long have individuals worried about expressing who they are in a so-called democracy. How many people can not express their true self? And how many lives have been taken under pressure of relentless abuse?

So thank you New York, but next time don’t take so long.

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Gender in the 21st Century

There was an interesting story on the INTERNATIONAL LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANS AND INTERSEX ASSOCIATION site. It involved a girl, a lesbian, who was excluded from the school year book because she wore a tuxedo in her photo, but had implications far beyond that mere fact.

The reason I mention the story is because it got me thinking: are there still roles unique to men and women, or do we live, or should live in a genderless society? Obviously when I talk about this issue I am not referring to actual biology but to perceptions in society. In the process of thinking about this subject I tried to think of advantages to certain roles for certain genders, and was faced with quite a difficult time. Therefore I came to the conclusion maybe gender is just a label to allow discrimination, which women are unfortunately but not exclusively subjected to.

I then asked myself legally would it be possible to be genderless, and found a type of answer out quickly thanks to Norrie May-Welby. This individual has become the world’s first legally genderless person thanks to New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages giving into the activist demands. Although a few days later the decision from New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages were told they did not have the power to issue a certificate for a genderless person. Yet still this means the idea legally has been introduced, and likely many ideas when they have entered the minds of people, they are hard to get rid off.

Hence I leave with you with the question: should the human race become genderless? if so why, and if not, why not?

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Justice and the US; immigration and disability

It turns out that people face greater injustice in the United States, well at least in regards to immigration. This is because individuals with mental disabilities are more likely to face erroneous deportation under the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The reason for this is the judicial system. In the US, immigrants have no right to free legal representation at their hearings. Normally this is bad, but the effects are compounded when these immigrants have mental disabilities, and are just unable to defend themselves and put across their reasons for seeking asylum. Read the rest of this entry »

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re Homosexuality and the International Community

This is just an update for those who read my earlier post about Homosexuality and the International Community.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission have received ECOSOC UN Status.

After their hard battle with seemingly never-ending deadlocks to their success, the ECOSOC voted in favour of the US lead resolution to grant the IGLHRC the status they have worked so hard for. The resolution came at a vote of 23 in favor, 13 against, and 13 abstentions and 5 absences. This vote makes the IGLHRC the tenth organization working primarily for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights to receive UN Status. It is hoped this success is a big step to furthering Homosexual rights in the international community.

As Cary Alan Johnson stated

Today’s decision is an affirmation that the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have a place at the United Nations as part of a vital civil society community

So a big well done to International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission for winning their three-year battle.

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Homosexuality and the International Community

I came across recently in the news an attempt to block the gay rights movement progression into the international community. Colum Lynch writes an article telling the story how

Congressional Republicans Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Az) have rallied behind a coalition of Islamic governments urging foreign governments to oppose a U.S.-led effort to support a bid by an American gay and lesbian organization to gain full-fledged membership as a U.N. non government organization.”

This alliance aims at stopping the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) from receiving international NGO status. The move comes as the US Government is finally being progressive and is currently helping IGLHRC to receive UN NGO status; the aim is to fill the gap between gay rights movement and the international human rights movement.

To give some background to the story, the IGLHRC has been trying to receive international status (as I believe they should) for three years but has been continuously blocked by a committee with a strong Islamic conservative view that reports to the ECOSOC.  However, recently the Obama administration has taken steps to help the organisation by bypassing this conservative committee, and help the IGLHRC receive its rightful status. Republican Senators Christopher H. Smith and Trent Franks backwards reaction (to anything that may make the world evolve and become more tolerant) was to attempt to block the Obama Administration’s support. They wrote to UN members to attempt to stop the American move to allow a bypass of this committee.

My question is: what are you afraid of, Senators? This is the 21st century and gay rights are in the public domain, people will not be stuck in the dark ages anymore about gay rights, and these stall tactics will not do anymore. My God, even Latin America’s Argentina has just legalized  same-sex marriage and you are playing stalling games, if you have something to say, man up and say it.

Gay issues play an important role in the domestic law and politics of countries around the world, hence they should play an equal role in the international rights domain. Just what do these senators think will happen if the IGLHRC becomes a UN NGO?  Maybe they will contribute in a manner that represents a part of civil society, and the senators would not want that now. Or maybe this organisation will undermine intolerance and lack of understanding of gay rights. Alternatively if we infer from this strong reaction the UN will crumble to piece from this toxic organisation gaining status.

I think not: gay rights is the next step to a tolerant and truly democratic society, and the more the international community rectifies this problem, the more respect they will receive from this blogger.

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Asylum and Homosexuality

There was an interesting story in the Guardian today that restored my faith in the ability of the English judiciary. The case in question was an appeal to the now Supreme Court of the UK, and had to do with whether persecution because of one’s sexuality was a legitimate reason for getting asylum. In the original case, a man from Cameroon and another man from Iran, who were both gay, were refused asylum even though in Iran punishment for homosexual acts ranges from public flogging to execution, and in Cameroon jail sentences for homosexuality range from six months to five years. But according to the great Court of appeal it was an acceptable risk, because apparently these men could just pretend they were not in fact gay and live their lives as a lie.

Thank you for that pearl of wisdom.

However the Supreme Court has shown the progressive nature of the English culture and declared in its decision:

To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behavior by which to manifest itself is to deny his fundamental right to be who he is…Homosexuals are as much entitled to freedom of association with others who are of the same sexual orientation as people who are straight.

Well all I have to say is thank you Lord Hope, if this old middle/upper class male judge can recognize this fact maybe there is hope for the rest of the United Kingdom, and perhaps for the world to be equally as progressive.

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The European Intelligence Community, Terrorism and the Dynamo Effect

I found an interesting article today by Human Rights Watch; which asks an important question for us English, French and Germans directly, and others as well. If our countries do not directly participate in torture but benefit from it, are we just as blameworthy?

Judith Sunderland thinks so, and I am of the same opinion.

By we Europeans directly benefiting from torture, we are in essence creating a market for it. One may ask how do we actually benefit from it when there are numerous international regulations to stop these benefits from occurring? Well, the regulations to stop our countries from using torture evidence in Court are negated by the fact that the burden of proof is put on the defendant (which raises the question of the implications on the right for the prosecution to prove allegations especially when they are using this so-called legitimate evidence.) Hence we are left with the state using this illegal evidence.

So how do our governments justify using this information? Well lo and behold my favorite phrase of the prevention of terrorism gets used. So yes, us Europeans should be proud of our Governments, we have a firm stance to stop terrorism in our countries, and then we make sure to send a message that its OK for others to do it, as we benefit from it in the name of counter terrorism. So to go back to the title of this blog entry, our message pushes the first dynamo over, and when the rest of them fall, we will only have ourselves to blame.

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