rights

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Emergency hotline for female genital mutilation started in EU

With SOS, the FGM Task Force now has a child protection project started, which is unique in Germany and Europe.  It focuses on the concrete protection of girls from a very specific violence: female genital mutilation.

In Germany alone, need up to 50,000 under-age girls are classified as endangered.  Up to 80% of these girls actually are subjected to the mutilation.  To protection, they could not count so far with few exceptions.

The experience of recent years have shown that people who have specific information about planned or have already become committed genital mutilation, often do not know whom they can turn to.  Even authorities and youth respond often uncertain and hesitant when girls at risk must be protected.

arvan's picture

TheCall Ministries From USA Intends To Fuel Homophobia In Uganda

[via IGLHRC]

Urgent Call To Action: Stop Thecall Ministries From Fueling Homophobia In Uganda Through Their May 2, 2010, Crusade

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) condemns Lou Engle's upcoming crusade scheduled for May 2, 2010. The crusade could cause incalculable damage, as it is designed to label homosexuality as a "vice" in Uganda and to incite people to "fight" against this "vice" in society. In the context of an already inflamed extremist religious movement against homosexuality in Uganda sparked off by American evangelicals, the inflammatory preaching of Lou Engle and his associates is likely to incite further violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda.

Sexual Minorities Uganda calls on all human rights defenders, organizations, religious communities and leaders, governments, and civil society, globally to take action to ensure that Lou Engle and his associates do not set foot in Uganda and that the Call Uganda does not proceed with this inflammatory and hate-inducing plan. While Sexual Minorities Uganda supports freedom of worship, we recognize the need for restriction on any speech that incites hatred and violence against a minority group. If a prayer event is to be held in Uganda, it should be done in a manner which encourages Christ-like love and acceptance and does not incite hatred and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

Mercedes Allen's picture

Father Knows Best in Banning the Burqa?

Belgium stands to become the first nation to ban the wearing of the burqa and niqab -- a head-to-toe covering and a facial scarf, respectively --at the end of this month.  From

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  • arvan's picture

    Photo Exhibit of trafficking survivors - Pain To Power

    [via Neww Polska]

    Trafficked women redraw their portraits with a new identity through the lens of photographer Achinto Bhadra.  Hemlata Aithani captures the metamorphosis.

    From brothels to mainstream, it has been a journey of transformation captured through the lens — the journey of 126 young women rescued from the red light areas in Kolkata and rehabilitated. Capturing their metamorphosis from ‘pain to power’, as they portrayed themselves in characters they could identify with, was acclaimed photographer Achinto Bhadra. At an exhibition organised at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi, he displayed 50 out of the 126 portraits he had created.

    While the striking compositions, colour, costumes, make-up, expressions and captions made each portrait captivating, the exhibition for the most part was about the successful reintegration of the young subjects into society; their newly-gained independence; their determination to start life afresh; and how they see themselves and what they identify with.

    The photographs were part of a project that began five years ago by the Kolkata-based NGO, Sanlaap, with support from Terre Des Hommes Foundation, Switzerland. “Sanlaap has been working for the past 21 years against the trafficking of girls and women... working with girls rescued from brothels.... and children of commercial sex workers and helping them to come back to main society,” says Indrani Sinha, director, Sanlaap.

    arvan's picture

    Donna M. Hughes is lying to you about sex and slavery.

    Donna M. Hughes has a message for you: Kinky sex is sex trafficking.

    It is a lie.  She may or may not mean to lie to you, but it is a lie because it is not true.

    There are a faulty number of assumptions here, all of which are pure conjecture.

    First, that she is authorized to speak categorically, on behalf of the human race on issues of what is and is not healthy sexual behavior.  I don't care what her definition of proper sex nor improper sex is.  Frankly, I don't have any interest.  It does not affect me nor anyone I know.

    Second, she conflates trafficking with slavery.  Trafficking is a broader and perhaps more modern word for slavery.  Let's be clear, slavery is slavery.  Forced labor of any kind is slavery.  Slavery exists today and people are forced to do many things as slaves.  Manual labor, warfare, sex, domestic labor and many other things.  As words go, however the two words are different.  Slavery is understood clearly.  Trafficking is not only less well understood or less often heard, but it is used in many contexts. 

    Sex sells and Sex Trafficking sells, too.

    arvan's picture

    Chilean Custody Decision Violated Lesbian Judge's Rights

    By Daniela Estrada

    SANTIAGO, Apr 9, 2010 (IPS) - The attorneys representing Chilean Judge Karen Atala, a lesbian who brought her case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights claiming discrimination in the loss of custody of her three daughters, accused the Chilean state of sending out "unequivocal" signals of a lack of will to implement the regional body's recommendations.

    The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a Washington-based Organisation of American States (OAS) body, found that "the Chilean state violated Karen Atala's right to live free from discrimination," and issued recommendations.

    But Supreme Court chief magistrate Milton Juica said Thursday that he would not join the working group proposed by the government to comply with the suggestions issued in February.

    "The courts do not discriminate in any way," Juica said, referring to the case. "We are not going to take part in any working group."

    Although the government of right-wing President Sebastián Piñera said it accepted the IACHR's recommendations, Juica's remarks are "an unequivocal signal of the state's lack of will" to live up to them, said Jorge Contesse, director of the private Diego Portales University's (UDP) human rights centre.

    In a May 2004 decision, the Supreme Court stripped Atala of custody of her three daughters because she was living with her lesbian partner, Emma de Ramón, a history professor.

    In so doing, the Court overturned the rulings of two lower courts that had granted her custody after she separated from her husband, who is also a judge.

    arvan's picture

    Stop False Advertising by Crisis Pregnancy Centers

    Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) deceptively advertise as comprehensive women’s health clinics, often listed under “abortion services,” to lure women to their facilities, where they are pressured to choose pregnancy or adoption in lieu of abortion or birth control.

    Of the 3,500 CPCs nationwide, a Congressional study found that 87% provide false and misleading information about birth control and abortion.

    The American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and the World Health Organization all dispell fake clinics’ false claims that abortion leads to breast cancer, infertility, suicide, and that condoms are ineffective.

    The Hatch Amendment, which reinstates $250 million in federal funding, over 5 years, for failed abstinence-only Title V programs, slipped under the radar and made its way into the new Health Care Reform Bill.  States can choose to opt into this funding and millions of these federal dollars will be funneled to fake clinics.

    We urge you to tell Congress to support legislation that would stop CPCs’ deceptive advertising practices, require that accurate medical information is provided, and eliminate ALL federal funding for CPCs!

    Sign the Petition!

    Petition Text

    Stop False Advertising by and Federal Funding for Fake Clinics

    Dear Congressional leader,

    I am outraged that fake clinics, or so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), deceptively advertise as comprehensive women’s health clinics, provide false and misleading information about birth control and abortion and often receive federal funding.

    A Congressional study found that 87% of so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers provide false and misleading information by telling women that abortion is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness including suicide, and tell women that condoms won’t protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the World Health Organization all dispel these false claims.

    Furthermore, the Hatch Amendment to the health care reform bill reinstates $250 million in federal funding, over five years, for failed abstinence-only Title V programs. Fake clinics, or so-called CPCs, in states that opt into the Title V program will be able to receive millions of dollars in federal funding and this is an outrage!

    I urge you to support federal legislation that would stop fake clinics’ deceptive advertising practices, require that medically accurate information is provided, and eliminate ALL federal funding for fake clinics!

    [Your name]

    For more information, please visit Feminist Majority Foundation.

    arvan's picture

    Sex Workers Rights in Macedonia: You Must Know About Me - Excerpts [video]

    By: Violeta Krasnic

    In Macedonia, as throughout the world, sex workers are pushed to the margins of society by a combination of prejudice, discrimination, and violence.  Yet, the fact that a person sells sexual services cannot be used as justification for the denial of their fundamental rights, to which all human beings are entitled.

    “You Must Know About Me” is a first-hand account of sex workers’ experiences and aspirations off and on the streets.  While dealing with harassment and violence from clients, pimps, and the police, sex workers strive to counter hostile public attitudes by speaking out and fighting for their rights.  The video calls for zero tolerance of violence against sex workers and the coordinated response of institutions to the actual needs of sex workers.

    arvan's picture

    Organisation Intersex International Position Statement on Genital Cutting

    Organisation Intersex International Position Statement on Genital Cutting

    Intersex refers to atypical internal and/or external anatomical sexual characteristics, where features usually regarded as male or female may be mixed to some degree. This is a naturally occurring variation in humans. From the late 1950's onwards, starting in the USA, intersex infants and children were increasingly subject to cosmetic surgeries intended to ensure that their genital appearance and internal gonads conformed to that usually expected for their assigned gender. This also tended to entail hormone treatments aimed at conforming them to those associated with being "male" or "female."

    From the early 1990’s to the present day, hundreds of intersex adults have come forward to say that they regard these medical practices as being extremely harmful to them, both physically and psychologically. Despite this high level of dissatisfaction, there has been little follow-up of adults who were treated this way as children, so without any clear understanding of outcomes, there is no real evidence upon which to justify this approach. On the contrary, the little evidence there is suggests that physiologically, functional outcome is poor. A study conducted in England of intersex people who electively chose to undergo such surgery as adults revealed that the large majority were dissatisfied; treatments resulted in physical pain and diminished sexual response, and were not able to provide them with the sense of normalcy which they hoped for.

    There is no evidence that intersex variations alone will negatively impact the quality of life of the individuals who have them, nor that "normalizing" medical treatments are a solution. What evidence there is suggests the opposite; intersex adults who have not received unnecessary medical intervention have said they feel lucky to have "escaped" such treatments. They lack the psychological trauma from treatments imposed on others, and report satisfaction with their sexual response and their unique physical attributes. Such treatment is often justified from the assumption that intersex children and/or adults will be subjected to discriminatory behaviour because of their bodily differences; however, this is not necessarily correct, because their differences are sometimes only evident when naked, or not evident visually at all. Where differences are visible, this is no different than the situation of people from other minority groups. The solution to such challenges is not to alter the characteristics themselves, but to combat the prejudicial attitudes that stigmatise.

    Cosmetic surgery on intersex genitals appears to harm intersex infants, children, and even adults, yet it still persists. As with male circumcision, it is often driven by parental desire to provide their children with bodies that conform to certain beliefs about how genitals should be. Also, the presumption that atypical sex anatomy will result in atypical sexual orientation and/or gender identity, homophobia and a fear of atypical gender presentation are seen by some intersex people as the motivation driving these surgeries. In many societies today, gender expression and sexual orientation are seen as a human right, and this is recognised by the UN. Performing unnecessary surgeries on infants and children in order to influence adult sexual orientation and/or gender identity outcomes should be seen as a human rights abuse. There is no evidence that sexual orientation or gender identity are affected by genital surgery one way or the other.

    We seek recognition that all humans have the right to autonomy over their own bodies, including their genitals etc. Because infants and children are too young to assert their autonomy, they should not be subjected to unnecessary surgeries which may irrevocably harm them, and which they may not have chosen as adults. We recognise that cases requiring medical treatment for the maintenance of health or preservation of life should be managed as with any other situation where a child needs treatment. Intersex infants and children should be raised without cosmetic surgery and/or steroidal hormones until they are old enough to decide for themselves whether they wish to undergo these procedures and treatments or not.

    We recommend avoidance of genital cutting, where possible, until a child can fully participate in decision making. This would be worked towards through communication between parents of intersex children, the children themselves, intersex adults, support groups, and clinicians who are sensitive to the needs of the child. Counselling should be available for those affected by the situation, to ensure they are fully informed and equipped to make the best decisions. Wider education about intersex as a human variation is also necessary; the cultural anxiety and social pressure that encourage surgery, hormone therapy and physical conformity need to be addressed. Through a process that includes education, communication, and counselling, then public shame will decrease, along with a reduction of cultural anxiety and social pressure, ultimately allowing people the liberty to maintain autonomy over their own bodies.

    arvan's picture

    The National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon

    The National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon is the first-ever national bowl-a-thon for abortion funding. 

    The National Network of Abortion Funds is sponsoring the national component of this event, while individual member abortion Funds are hosting local bowl-a-thons in their communities.  

    The dual goals of the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-thon are to raise awareness of economic barriers to abortion care and to strike down these barriers by raising money to pay for abortion care and to improve state and federal policies that interfere with access to abortion for the most disadvantaged women. 
     
    Seventeen abortion Funds, members of the National Network of Abortion Funds, are hosting bowl-a-thons in their local communities during the month of April.
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