In April and May, Brazilian crisis has deepened further more, prompting colossal political chaos which reverberated in sexual politics. Sonia Corrêa, SPW co-chair, assess the deep connections within the crisis regarding threats to abortion rights.
Even so, celebrations and good news came from around the world on other topics. In Bangkok, researchers and activists gathered in a Conference — sponsored by UNDP–Asia and the Asia and Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions — to remember 10 years of the Yogyakarta Principles, in which Sonia Corrêa did the closing remarks. A preliminary report of the conference is accessible here. The Global Forum on MSM & HIV has also reported on the event from the point of view of the Principles connection with HIV prevention.
May is also the month when the 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Bi-phobia (IDAHOT), is celebrated. Check our compilation of events that have taken place worldwide.
But once again there are paradoxical news to report in the realm of LGBT rights. Terrible events of the Chechnya campaign of terror against LGBT people continued to flood the global media and to stir outrage. April was also the month to remember the anniversary of the murder of Bengali LGBT activists, a tragic case that has not been until today properly investigated. In Taiwan, however, a Supreme Court decision has recognized same sex marriage making of the country the first in Asia to take this legal step. At the antipodes, Bermuda has also become the first English Caribbean speaking country to grant marriage equality, also through a high court decision.
Then, in South Africa, where for the last few years the decriminalization of sex work has been intensively debated, the Law Commission that was called to issue an opinion released its report in late May. The report argues that decriminalization will increase health and violence risks and, yet more troubling, states that it would infringe the constitution. The Commission’s view was sharply criticized by Marlise Ritcher from Sonke Gender Justice.
The scenario is decidedly more bleak in the realm of reproductive rights landscape. In addition to the above-mentioned threat to abortion rights in Brazil, the Trump administration has published the guidelines that define how the Gag Rule will be attached to funds for global health, including HIV/AIDS. SPW offers a compilation of policy brief and sharp critiques to these new policy measures and is committed to more closely map what may be the detrimental impacts of the expanded Gag rule worldwide.
In relation to HIV&AIDS, specifically, the announcement of cuts in global HIV programs led by US government is quite discouraging, as reported by the Global Forum on MSM and HIV. Not less worrying is the final declaration of the G20 Ministers of Health Meeting, held in Berlin (May 19th– 20th). Health and women’s empowerment are mentioned as priorities in the text of the 2017 Germany Presidency and NGOs have pressured for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health, but no mention is made of this policy area, not even of HIV&AIDS (except in the name of the Global Fund, which is mentioned once).
At the UN, a new round of Universal Periodical Reviews has also taken place in April –May. To know more about on how sexual and reproductive rights have been addressed by shadow reports and recommendations on the 27th UPR check the Sexual Rights Initiative database. Regarding Brazil, specifically, reports can also be assessed in the national UPR platform. For this round two shadows reports are to be highlighted: SRI/Ipas Report on Abortion Rights and the report presented by DAVIDA and the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes.
Lastly a bit of “fait divers’. In the last two months, European state authorities have provoked few stream of news on sexual matters. The election of French President Emmanuel Macron, in May, brought to the forefront the story of his love affair and marriage with Brigitte Trogneux, who is twenty five years older than him. Then, in late May, at the NATO Summit in Brussels, where Macron and Trogneux were present, the prime minister of Luxembourg posed for the official photo with his husband triggering a swell of photos, news and commentaries in the cyberspace. This is not, however, the first time that the same sex partner of a prime minister participates in an official photo. As reported by Cai Yping in the SPW report Emerging Powers, Sexuality and Human Rights, in 2012, the female prime minister of Iceland visited China with her wife and official photos have also been taken, apparently without causing a big uproar.
Papers and articles
Full issue of Religion and Gender on “gender ideology” is now online – edited by Sarah Bracke and David Paternotte
After the Olympics: stories from Rio’s sex workers – The Conversation
Eastern philosophy influences human rights advocacy – Sunil Pant – Washington Blade
How I faced misogyny in Hinduism—and found peace with my faith – openDemocracy
The hypocrisy of India’s gay community – Daily O
There are more women at Sri Lanka’s universities – but they remain spaces dominated by men
Then and now: Finding love during the Khmer Rouge – Al Jazeera
Creating the new man in Africa – Ama Biney – Pambazuka News
Disability and the Right to Choose – New York Times
What does justice mean for migrant women workers? – openDemocracy
Publications and resources
The Smart Sex Worker’s Guide to Addressing the Failure of Anti-Sex Work Organisations – Global Network of Sex Work Projects
Abortion Law and Policy and the Opposition Sweden, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion – April 19th
The costs of abortion, especially unsafe abortion Honduras, Ghana, Ireland, Canada, El Salvador – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion – April 21th
BREAKING NEWS from Ireland: Citizen’s Assembly recommends abortion law reform & FEATURE: Why would any country put abortion in the constitution? – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion – April 25th
NEWS ROUND-UP: Honduras, El Salvador, Poland, USA, Ireland, Canada + Safe Abortion Action Fund call for proposals – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion – May 9
On Personal Experiences: Yemen, Egypt, Ireland, Rwanda – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion – 23 May 2017
Check it out
Summerschool on Health Law and Ethics 2017 (28 June – 7 July 2017) – Erasmus Observatory on Health Law / Institute of Health Policy & Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Call for Participants – Training for African LGBTI Activists on Human Rights Mechanisms – deadline: June 15th
Sexuality and Art
politics by Ana Lira, from Recife, Brazil
revelations by Paola Paredes