The Obama administration announced that the State Department will “leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination” against LGBT people, but did not specify just what “leverage” means.
The State Department releases a human rights report, which covers “internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” every year. The Council for Global Equality published an analysis of the worst human rights offenses directed against LGBT people in 2009 by country.
I went back to these countries for the most recent data. Below are the top 10 LBGT-rights violators (as reported from 2009); their statuses in 2010 according to the State Department; and they aid they received in FY2011, according to ForeignAssistance.gov.
|Egypt||Although the law does not explicitly criminalize homosexual acts, the law allows police to arrest gays on charges of debauchery. In January 2009 police arrested 10 men in Cairo on charges of debauchery. Authorities forced the men to undergo HIV tests and anal examinations in detention. Following a court order, police released the men in May 2009. Gays and lesbians faced significant social stigma in society and in the workplace.||$1,653,900,000|
|Gambia||The law establishes prison terms ranging from five to 14 years for any male that commits in public or private any act of gross indecency, procures another male, or has actual sexual contact with another male; however, to date, no one has been prosecuted. There is no similar law targeting women. Many citizens shunned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.
In a March 2009 speech before the National Assembly, President Jammeh called homosexual conduct “strange behavior that even God will not tolerate.” The president previously described homosexual conduct as a criminal practice and told police to arrest persons practicing homosexual activity and to close motels and hotels that accommodated them. In 2008 the president ordered all LGBT persons to leave the country within 24 hours and threatened to cut off their heads. Despite this statement, there were no reported incidents of physical violence against LGBT individuals. There were no LGBT organizations in the country.
There is strong societal discrimination against LGBT individuals, but officially there are no laws that deny such individuals access to citizenship, employment, housing, education, or healthcare.
|Honduras||There are no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation, but in practice social discrimination against persons from sexual minority communities was widespread. Representatives of NGOs focusing on sexual diversity rights asserted that throughout the year security forces killed and abused their members. The prosecutor often encountered serious difficulties in investigating suspicious deaths of LGBT persons because the victims had concealed their identity or sexual orientation.Criminal investigations did not recognize a “transgender” category. Sexual minority rights groups asserted that throughout the year security forces, government agencies, and private employers engaged in antigay discriminatory hiring practices. These groups also reported that intimidation, fear of reprisal, and police corruption made LGBT victims reluctant to file charges or proceed with prosecutions.In January the NGOs Lesbian Gay Rainbow Association of Comayaguela (ARCOIRIS) and CIPRODEH released a report documenting killings and other serious human rights abuses reportedly perpetrated by member of the security forces and other individuals against members of the LGBT community. For example, on September 9, a court sentenced police officer Amado Rodriguez Borjas to between 10 and 13 years’ imprisonment for a 2008 attack on Nohelia, a transgender person, who had resisted Rodriguez Borjas’ advances. On September 8, a court found Rodriguez Borjas guilty of aggravated attempted homicide for attacking “Protected Witness E,” who had witnessed the assault on Nohelia. As of October Rodriguez Borjas, in prison for the attack on Nohelia, was also awaiting sentencing in the “Protected Witness E” case.On May 17, the LGBT community organized a demonstration in Tegucigalpa to raised awareness about homophobia. In July the NGO Gay Community of San Pedro Sula organized a gay pride event, which the government authorized. On December 13, the LGBT community organized a demonstration in front of the Public Ministry to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the killing of LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist Walter Trochez. It was not known if the police provided sufficient protection for participants at these events.In May unknown persons fatally shot in San Pedro Sula transvestite Neraldys, vice president of Colectivo TTT. On August 31, two unknown persons on a motorcycle reportedly fatally shot in San Pedro Sula transvestite sex worker and president of the LGBT NGO Coletivo TTT, Imperia Gamaniel Parson. Human rights advocates asserted that these killings were hate crimes. LGBT activists submitted a complaint to the prosecutor in San Pedro Sula. At year’s end there was no information regarding any investigation of these killings (see section 1.a.).In October LGBT activists reported that authorities located the vehicle used by unknown assailants in the January 2009 fatal shooting of Cynthia Nicole, a transgender sex worker. LGBT rights defenders also reported that authorities were in the process of issuing an arrest warrant for a suspect.At year’s end, there was no information available regarding any investigation of the June 2009 fatal shooting by unknown assailants of transvestite sex worker Vicky Hernandez Castillo in San Pedro Sula during a curfew imposed by the de facto regime.At year’s end there were no known developments in the prosecutor’s investigation of the December 2009 fatal shooting by unknown assailants of LGBT activist Walter Orlando Trochez in Tegucigalpa.There was no information available, and none was expected, regarding any response by the Committee on Human Rights to an LGBT rights advocate’s complaint that authorities reportedly denied transgender persons national identity cards because the applicants were wearing cosmetics and feminine accessories.On June 9, a tribunal in Tegucigalpa sentenced police officer Nelson Daniel Gaytan to 39 months imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 lempiras ($2,630) for the crime of illegal detention in relation to the 2007 police beating, detention, and gang rape while in detention, of LGBT activist Donny Reyes.There was no information available, and none was expected, regarding the status of a police officer awaiting trial in 2009 for unlawful detention in 2007 of several members of ARCOIRIS.||$55,952,000|
|India||The law permits consensual sexual activities between adults. In July 2009 the Delhi High Court overturned a portion of section 377 of the penal code, which prohibited same-sex relations. Section 377 still applies to cases involving minors or coercive sex. While a few groups and individuals challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court within a few days of the announcement, the government decided not to oppose the verdict. At year’s end the Supreme Court had not rendered a judgment on the appeal. The law was previously used to target, harass, and punish lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons.
Although LGBT groups were active throughout the country, sponsoring events and activities including rallies, gay pride marches, film series, and speeches, they faced discrimination and violence in many areas of society, particularly in rural areas. Activists reported that transgender persons who were HIV-positive often had difficulty obtaining medical treatment. Activists also reported some employers fired LGBT persons who did not hide their orientations. LGBT persons also faced physical attacks, rape, and blackmail. Some police committed crimes against LGBT persons and used the threat of arrest to coerce victims not to report the incidents, although several states, with the aid of NGOs, had police education and sensitivity trainings.
During the week of April 3, transgender activist Laxmi Tripathi was banished from the elite Bombay Gymkhana club in Mumbai. After the club CEO told the dinner party’s organizer that Tripathi had to leave, the entire group walked out of the club.
On April 10, a FIR was filed against six persons in the April 7 death of Srinivas Ramachandra Siras, a professor at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) who was found dead in his home. In February, shortly before his retirement, the professor was secretly filmed having consensual sexual relations with another man. AMU suspended him without an inquiry, which he challenged in the Allahabad High Court. On April 2, the court ordered his reinstatement and stayed his unlawful removal from his official accommodation. On April 8, police claimed that preliminary investigations indicated suicide.
On May 6, the country’s first transgender television host, Rose Venkatesan, officially announced her new gender status after undergoing sex reassignment surgery.
There were a few positive developments for transgender persons during the year. In April the state of Tamil Nadu hosted a weeklong transgender festival to facilitate the acceptance of transgender persons into mainstream society. The state, which established a transgender welfare board in 2008, continued to provide separate identity and ration cards to transgender persons. In November the central government announced that transgender persons would have the option to be counted as “Other” in the 2011 national census. On November 12, the state of Karnataka announced transgender persons would be included in the “Backward Classes” list, making them eligible for pensions, ration cards, and housing assistance through special programs.
|Jamaica||The law prohibits “acts of gross indecency” (generally interpreted as any kind of physical intimacy) between men, in public or in private, which are punishable by 10 years in prison.
The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) continued to report human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of gay and lesbian patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of such persons. Police often did not investigate such incidents. During the year, J-FLAG received 43 reports of sexually motivated harassment or abuse, which included 26 cases of attempted or actual assault, including three murders and three cases of rape. This violence created a climate of fear that prompted many gay persons to emigrate, while the gross indecency laws left those who remained vulnerable to extortion from neighbors who threatened to report them to the police unless they were paid off.
In September six men brutally gang-raped a lesbian woman and cut her genitals after the assault ended. These men had previously taunted their victim, and this attack typified a phenomenon known as “corrective rape,” whereby rapists justify their actions under the rationale that forcing their victim into sex will somehow convert the injured party to heterosexuality. Three days later a taxi driver raped another lesbian woman in an unrelated attack staged in the same northern parish of St. Ann’s. J-FLAG protested both rapes, stating that the women were attacked because of their sexual orientation. The organization believed that, as with heterosexual women, many homosexual rape victims were hesitant to report their abuse out of fear, shame, or for any number of personal reasons, suggesting that the actual incidence of sexual violence perpetrated against such persons could be notably higher.
J-FLAG members also suffered attacks on their property and home intrusions, as people demanded to know the number of persons and beds in a home. Victims reported numerous cases of threats and intimidation to J-FLAG. In many instances family members expelled their own relatives from homes because of sexual orientation. In other cases neighbors drove gay and lesbian persons out of their communities, slashing tires and hurling insults. Many gays and lesbians faced death and arson threats, with some threats also directed at J-FLAG offices. As a result of such threats, J-FLAG elected not to publicize its location, and one of its officials reported feeling unsafe having meetings with clients at the organization’s office.
The trial of six suspects arrested for the 2005 robbery and murder of prominent gay rights advocate Lenford “Steve” Harvey, initially begun and then postponed in 2007, was scheduled to recommence in early 2011.
Male inmates deemed by prison wardens to be gay were held in a separate facility for their protection. The method used for determining their sexual orientation was subjective and not regulated by the prison system, although inmates were said to confirm their homosexuality for their own safety. There were numerous reports of violence against gay inmates, perpetrated by the wardens and by other inmates, but few inmates sought recourse through the prison system.
Gay men were hesitant to report incidents against them because of fear for their physical well-being. Human rights NGOs and government entities agreed that brutality against such persons, primarily by private citizens, was widespread in the community.
|Kuwait||Homosexuality and cross-dressing are illegal. The law punishes homosexual behavior between men older than 21 with imprisonment of up of to seven years; those engaging in homosexual activity with men younger than 21 may be imprisoned for as long as 10 years. The law imposes a fine of 1,059 dinars (approximately $3,700) and imprisonment for one to three years for those imitating the appearance of the opposite sex in public. No laws criminalize sexual behavior between women.
During the year there were more than a dozen reports of police arresting transgender persons at malls and markets, beating them in custody and shaving their heads, and then generally releasing them without charges. The government did not condone abuse by officials of transgender persons, but it also did not punish the abusers. For example, on December 31, police arrested two women for allegedly dressing and acting like men, according to the local press; the women were released the next day. In March 2009 Criminal Investigations Division officers raided a cafe, arresting five men for cross-dressing. By year’s end there were no updates in this case
There were no official NGOs focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender matters, though unofficial ones existed. Societal discrimination based on sexual orientation was common; officials practiced to a lesser extent a de facto discrimination reflecting societal values and laws. There was no government response to either.
|Kyrgyz Republic||There is no law against homosexual practice; however, according to HRW and a local NGO, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals faced severe oppression, and the government failed to protect their rights. Persons whose nontraditional sexual orientation was publicly known risked physical and verbal abuse, possible loss of work, and unwanted attention from police and authorities. Inmates and officials often openly victimized incarcerated gay men. Doctors sometimes refused to treat LGBT individuals. Forced marriages for lesbian and bisexual women also occurred.
A single NGO supported advocacy campaigns, conducted training, organized festivals, and operated a community center and shelter in support of LGBT individuals.
|Lithuania||While homosexual acts are not illegal and there was no official discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) persons, society’s attitude towards homosexuality remained negative. NGOs focusing on LGBT problems faced no legal impediments, but the few that functioned kept a low profile because of public hostility to their aims. The Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) continued to promote an inclusive social environment for LGBT persons.
During the year the Prosecutor’s Office opened 148 investigations of incitement to hatred, most of them over the Internet, against gays and lesbians.
Domestic human rights organizations and members of the LGBT community reported that discrimination and the persistent social exclusion of LGBT persons were problems. The first Gay Pride march to be held in Vilnius took place on May 8, with participants from all of the Baltic countries. It attracted approximately 600 participants. The event took place only after the Supreme Administrative Court overturned at the last minute a lower court decision to suspend the parade’s license. In 2009 the Vilnius municipality refused NGOs that supported gay rights and other human rights the permission to organize a tolerance march on Independence Day. The NGOs appealed to a court, which upheld the refusal in November 2009.
Approximately 500 police were stationed along the parade route to protect the marchers from a crowd of around 1,000 persons protesting the parade. The protesters, led by two parliamentarians, were kept at a distance by a wall of barriers that had been erected around the parade route, but that did not prevent them from shouting antigay epithets. Police reportedly fired teargas into protesters who attempted to jump the barriers; the protesters retaliated by throwing stones and improvised smoke bombs as well as broken street signs. Authorities temporarily detained 18 persons. Prosecutors sought the lifting of immunity from the two parliamentarians involved in the protest, but the parliament later voted against lifting their immunity.
In July 2009 the Seimas adopted, over the president’s veto, legal provisions “protecting” minors from exposure to certain public information; many human rights proponents criticized the legislation on the grounds that it discriminated against gays and lesbians. In December 2009 the law was further amended in response to those objections, and the amended law took effect in March 2010. However, some human rights activists remained skeptical of its possible use. Antigay activists cited the law to justify their (unsuccessful) effort to prevent the May 8 Baltic Pride march in Vilnius.
|Nigeria||Homosexual activity is illegal under federal law, and homosexual practices are punishable by prison sentences of up to 14 years. In the 12 northern states that have adopted Sharia law, adults convicted of engaging in homosexual activity may be subject to execution by stoning, although no such sentences have been imposed.Because of widespread taboos against homosexual activity, very few persons openly demonstrated such conduct. There were no public gay pride marches. The NGOs Global Rights and The Independent Project provided lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups with legal advice and training in advocacy, media responsibility, and HIV/AIDS awareness. The government or its agents did not impede the work of these groups during the year.
No action was taken against persons who in 2008 stoned and beat members of the House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church, an LGBT-friendly church in Lagos. The attacks occurred after four newspapers published photographs, names, and addresses of church members.
As of year’s end the trial of 18 men, originally charged in 2008 with sodomy and subsequently charged with vagrancy, had been postponed multiple times. All defendants were able to post bail, set at 20,000 naira ($133), and were released. No resolution of the case was announced by year’s end.
|Uganda||Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons faced discrimination and legal restrictions. It is illegal to engage in homosexual acts, based on a 1950 legal provision from the colonial era criminalizing “carnal acts against the order of nature” and prescribing a penalty of life imprisonment. No persons had been convicted under the law. On October 12, police in Kampala arrested one individual for alleged homosexuality, and on October 15 a court in Kampala charged the individual with homosexuality and released him on bail. Hearing of the case was pending at year’s end.
In September 2009 parliamentarian David Bahati introduced a draft “antihomosexuality bill” that would impose punishments ranging from imprisonment to the death penalty on individuals twice convicted of “homosexuality” or “related offenses” to include “aiding and abetting” homosexuality, “conspiracy to engage” in homosexuality, the “promotion of homosexuality,” or “failure to disclose the offense” of homosexuality to authorities within 24 hours. This draft legislation remained in the committee stage during the year but resulted in increased harassment and intimidation of LGBT persons. Although the government did not endorse the draft legislation, several senior members of government and President Museveni’s Cabinet openly expressed homophobic sentiment despite the High Court’s December 2008 ruling that constitutional rights apply to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.
LGBT persons were subject to societal harassment, discrimination, intimidation, and threats to their wellbeing during the year. Individuals openly threatened members of the LGBT community and their constitutional rights during several public events. For example, on April 15 in Jinja, Pastor Martin Ssempa led a march against homosexuality, and during an April 17 event against homosexuality at a church in Kampala, Ssempa showed a pornographic slideshow to audience members, which included several children. During these rallies participants openly threatened LGBT individuals.
In its annual report for 2009, released in October 2010, the UHRC determined that the draft antihomosexuality bill violates the Ugandan constitution and international law.
On October 10, an obscure local tabloid published the names, photographs, and, in some cases, residential locations of several LGBT activists under the headline “Hang Them.” On November 1, the High Court issued an injunction blocking the tabloid from further publication of information pertaining to homosexuality pending resolution of a court case filed by three LGBT activists, including David Kato. The case was pending at year’s end.
On December 13, Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba James Buturo prevented the UHRC and UN OHCHR from screening a documentary on Ugandan human rights defenders that Buturo alleged promoted homosexuality. In the film, one human rights defender criticized Uganda’s draft antihomosexuality bill for violating the rights of Ugandan citizens by forcing health care workers to report alleged gay and lesbian individuals to authorities. In a December 15 press conference, the UHRC defended the documentary and criticized Buturo for violating the UHRC’s constitutional independence.
The April 2009 case against activists Fred Wasukira and Brian Mpadde, accused of involvement in homosexual acts, was pending. In September, police dismissed the June 2009 case in which Charles Ayeikoh was accused of homosexual acts.