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Gov’t Hems and Haws Over ‘Honour Killings’

By Sujoy Dhar

NEW DELHI, Sep 9, 2010 (IPS) - Instances of ‘honour killings’ in Indian communities still steeped in traditional beliefs continue unabated. Yet the government has not enacted tougher laws that will deal a decisive blow against this societal scourge.

For bringing dishonour to the family, couples defying time-honoured traditions in many orthodox Indian villages must flee for their lives lest they become victims of ‘honour killing’ committed by kin or members of their own caste.

Some of the couples on the run were either caught unawares or hounded out and killed by their families who were determined to restore honour to the clan.

"Young couples live in fear. They are often driven to suicide, if not killed," Nishi Kant, who runs Shakti Vahini, a non-governmental organisation researching honour killings in India, told IPS.

Marrying outside one’s caste or within one’s lineage (‘gotra’), or outside one’s religion is still tabooed by many Indian families, who believe such "aberrant behaviours" deserve the most brutal punishment, often in the form of death.

Over the past months, horrific reports of honour killings have been pouring in. About 45 people have died as a result of such killings in the past 19 months, according to Shakti Vahini. Despite the spike in honour killings, the state remains a mute spectator, said Kant.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance has condemned the killings but has not acted decisively on the sensitive issue, fearing a dent in its traditional vote banks.

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FSC Issues a Call-to-Action for the Adult Online Community

ICANN has posted the Revised Proposed Registry Agreement and Due Diligence Documentation for public comment on the ICANN website.  FSC has responded to the Board with a letter of requests and has filed a Documentary Information Disclosure Policy for additional information.

We need your help!  FSC is launching an industry-wide call-to-action.  It is imperative that you speak up now! 

ICANN’s .XXX current comment period closes Thursday, September 23rd so ACT NOW!

There are two ways in which adult industry professionals can be counted on the public forum:

1. Click on the link below and respond to the statements of opposition.  FSC will compile the data and report it to ICANN

http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22B6YZULW6R

2. Or better yet, PLEASE write your own statement of opposition to ICM’s proposed .XXX sTLD.  Below are some issues you may want to stress. 

Comments can be posted on:

xxx-revised-icm-agreement@icann.org

Public Comment Suggestions

Make sure that you mention that you are a professional member of the adult online community-the party most impacted by the ICANN Board’s decision.  Write to the Board about any of a number of issues as demonstrated below. 

Let the Board know that you are concerned…

… that ICM is pushing unnecessarily for a “responsible” global online community when the adult entertainment community already has an entity through which Internet publishers and others can self identify as a responsible global online adult entertain¬ment community through the Free Speech Coalition and its Code of Ethics.

… with companies that have pre-registered .XXX domain names but are in opposition to a .XXX sTLD .  By ICM’s own definition those companies do not qualify for a .XXX sTLD because they do not voluntarily agree to the .XXX sTLD and thus believe that ICM’s proposed .XXX sTLD would be detrimental to their business.

… with the lack of transparency surrounding ICM’s submissions in the omission of the names of IFFOR Board members and Policy Council members who will develop regulations for the .XXX online industry. 

… that adult businesses would be required to agree to comply with “IFFOR Policies and Best Practices Guidelines” that have yet to be created by boards and councils which have yet to be revealed.

… that information provided for public comment is insufficient.  Members of the adult entertainment community require more information about the application in order to provide the appropriate level of feedback to the ICANN Board for it to make an informed decision. 

… that if additional information is provided, the community most impacted by .XXX, the adult online community will not have sufficient time to respond and therefore request that the public comment period be extended 30 days after additional information that has been requested has been supplied.

Thank you.  Your time and effort are greatly appreciated.  If you have any questions or require additional information contact diane@freepeechcoalition.com.

Comments can be posted on: xxx-revised-icm-agreement@icann.org

Remember…. ICANN N’s .XXX current comment period closes Thursday, September 23rd so act now!

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UN officials urge countries to remove criminal sanctions based on sexual orientation

17 September 2010Top United Nations officials today appealed to all countries that criminalize people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity to reform such laws and to ensure the protection of basic human rights for all.

“No doubt deeply-rooted cultural sensitivities can be aroused when we talk about sexual orientation. Social attitudes run deep and take time to change. But cultural considerations should not stand in the way of basic human rights,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In a message to a panel discussion in Geneva on ending violence and criminal sanctions based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which was delivered by UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay, Mr. Ban noted that the responsibilities of the UN and the obligations of States are clear.

“No one, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. No one should be prosecuted for their ideas or beliefs. No one should be punished for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

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Anti-LGBT Hatred from the Pulpit in "Faith of the Abomination"

This looks great! (h/t Calpernia Addams) -arvan

Faith of the Abomination is an independent documentary film created in Austin, TX about the experiences of a lesbian couple who went undercover as a heterosexual couple inside an Evangelical Organization.

Sometimes opportunities in life present themselves in strange ways. Sometimes these opportunities reveal truths unknown, courage unexplored, and betrayals unexpected.

Faith of the Abomination is the story of two Evangelical lesbian women who were promised inclusion in the church, only to be thwarted at every turn. Feeling lonely and frustrated, they decided to change their outside package and joined the Evangelical Organization as man and woman. They were accepted immediately and soon became members of the church's inner circle. However, what they found there strayed far from the teachings of Jesus...

http://www.faithoftheabomination.com

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A Day in Karamah

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    More sterilizations of HIV-positive women uncovered

    "A lot of women didn't know it was wrong that they'd been sterilized."

    JOHANNESBURG, 30 August 2010 (PlusNews) - Veronica* did not realize she had been sterilized while giving birth to her daughter until four years later when, after failing to conceive, she and her boyfriend consulted a doctor.

    "I was like 'Okay, fine', because there was nothing I could do by then, but I was angry. I hate [those nurses]," she told IRIN/PlusNews. Veronica tested HIV-positive during a routine antenatal visit and was given a form to sign by nurses at the hospital where she went to deliver.

    "I didn't know what it was all about, but I did sign," said Veronica, who was 18 at the time and had been scolded by the nurses for being unmarried.

    She vaguely recalls being unconsciousness and then coming to and giving birth to her daughter, but did not ask questions about the cut on her abdomen. "My aunt - she's a nurse - went there and asked them what the cut was all about. They didn't answer her; they said it was private and confidential."

    Veronica, who is now 28 and working for an HIV/AIDS home-based care programme in Orange Farm, an impoverished township south of Johannesburg, is among a growing number of women in South Africa and other countries in the region who have come forward in the last few years with similar stories of forced or coerced sterilization after an HIV-positive test result.

    Local rights groups in Namibia, with the support of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, have helped uncover 15 such cases, and a trial involving three HV-positive women who say they were sterilized at public health facilities without their consent is due to resume on 1 September in the High Court.

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    U.N. Weighs Sanctions Against Perpetrators of DRC Mass Rapes

    By Aprille Muscara

    UNITED NATIONS, Sep 8, 2010 (IPS) - The U.N. Security Council is considering leveraging sanctions against the perpetrators of the mass rapes that occurred last month in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following a meeting held on the recent violence Tuesday.

    "From the U.S. point of view, we will take up the mantle of leadership… in ensuring that the perpetrators of the violence are held accountable, including through our efforts in the sanctions committee – to add them to the list that exists and to ensure that they are sanctioned," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after the meeting.

    Over 500 rapes have now been confirmed in the North and South Kivu provinces since Jul. 30, with scores more unconfirmed and still others certainly unreported, according to the deputy head of the U.N. peacekeeping department, Atul Khare, who briefed the council during the meeting. Khare was dispatched to the DRC after reports of the recent violence in the country surfaced in the media two weeks ago.

    Members of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, known by their French acronym FDLR, and the Mai Mai Cheka rebel groups systematically gang raped over 242 women during a four-day raid of 13 villages in the North Kivu province beginning Jul. 30. According to MONUSCO, the U.N.'s peacekeeping force in the DRC, they are believed to have continued their pillaging spree after 75 subsequent rapes were confirmed in neighbouring areas.

    And in South Kivu, over 214 rapes of men, women and children as young as seven years old have been confirmed, with reports of the systematic rape of every woman in the village of Kiluma yet to be corroborated, Khare said. Included in this figure are 10 rapes committed by the official Congolese armed forces, known as the FARDC.

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    Laura Agustín on Sex Work Facts v. Fiction

    Laura Agustín, author of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry is seen here discussing sex work in reality and the impact of misconceptions and misinformation on sex workers.  She discusses migrant sex workers, trafficking and the conflicts caused by both.

    Laura Agustín writes as a lifelong migrant and sometime worker in both nongovernmental and academic projects about sex, travel and work.  You can contact her here.

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    Call for Evidence: Disability Harassment

    We have extended the deadline for providing evidence to Friday 17 September 2010

    We want to hear from anyone who has been bullied or harassed for disability related reasons, and from organisations that work for/with disabled people, including voluntary and community sector organisations, public authorities (such as local councils, police, housing, social services and education) and public transport operators.

    Secure Survey: You can now give us your evidence using our secure portal - with options to complete an online questionnaire or upload files to the Inquiry

    In this section:

    Individuals who have experienced harassment

    If you have been harassed because of your disability, or someone close to you has been affected, we want to hear about your experience. We want to hear from people who are Deaf or disabled, including those with mental health conditions and long term health conditions, as well as their family, friends or associates. We want to know what happened and what public authorities and public transport operators did – or didn’t do – to help.

    Your experiences – positive or negative – will help the Commission to show what police, social services, schools, bus companies and other agencies can do to put an end to the harassment of disabled people in public places and behind closed doors. If you’re not sure what to tell us, we have a questionnaire to help get you started.

    You can give your evidence anonymously but providing a name and contact details will help us if we need to contact you to find out more about what happened. Your personal information will be treated as confidential.

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    APNSW HR Regional Sex Workers Forum: Summary Report

    APNSW HR Regional Sex Workers Forum
    Dates: July: 29, 30, 31 and 1st Aug 2010
    Venue: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Summary Report

    Some 15 national representatives from 14 countries of APNSW Sex Workers Forum attended a four day workshop entitled the APNSW Human Rights Regional Sex Workers Forum in Kuala Lumpur from July 29, 30, 31 and Aug 1st. National representatives were selected by APNSW members in their respective country.

    The national representative from Japan, Yukiko Kaname, although unable to attend, was able to participate live via skype/email and translated with the help of Marisa Ingleton (Australia, Scarlet Alliance).

    The sex workers forum was developed to guide broad directions of APNSW in terms of policy and programme. The objectives for the workshop were:

    · How to run APNSW and institute governance structured based on APNSW manual, which is a living document. In the coming days we will decide who will be chairperson and three sex workers reps to form the APNSW Programme and Policy Committee (PPC) who will assist the APNSW secretariat in decision making on behalf of the larger sex worker forum. The selected chair and Selvi from APNSW BOD automatically sits on the PPC.
    · Understand APNSW’s five year strategic plan (2009 – 2014) and what activities we can now tick off.
    · Explanation of the policy shift which has lead to APNSW has lead to new funding including a regional consultation to be held in October in Pattaya (2010)
    · Assessment to find out what communication tools we can work together.
    · Sharing of country Sex Work and HIV issues at the national level (via film/documenting activity)
    · To meet donor requirements of outputs


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