SPW Activites – Editorial
Sexuality around the world
1. UN declaration
2. The Bush era is over!
3. Relevant meetings
3.1 – 24th ILGA World Conference in Vienna
3.2 – 11th AWID International Forum
3.3 – Donor Dialogue on Sex Work and Trafficking (OSI)
4. Regional highlights
4.1 – Uganda: good news
4.2 – Nepal: good news
4.3 – Senegal
4.4 – Nigeria
4.5 – China
4.6 – Brazil
4.7 – Sri Lanka
5. The Abortion front lines
6. Check also
6.1 – Latin America
6.2 – Eastern Europe
6.3 – Muslim Societies
Advocacy: keep an eye
7. 10th special session of the Human Rights Council (in March 2009)
8. The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review
9. ARC International, IGLHRC and ILGA submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on Nondiscrimination
Sexuality in Art
Check it out!
SPW Activites – Editorial
Since the July-August period — when our efforts were focused on the Mexico City International AIDS Conference — the ABIA and Columbia Secretariats have been busily preparing for our next phase of work, a series of three Regional Dialogues on Sexuality and Geopolitics (please check the SPW website in upcoming months for more details). The first dialogue, the Asia Regional Dialogue, will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 10-12th, immediately prior to the VII IASSCS Conference. The second, the Latin America Dialogue, has been preliminarily set for August 2009. The third and final dialogue, the Africa Regional Dialogue, is scheduled for early 2010 and these serious of meetings will be devoted to critically examine the intersections between sexuality and the state and political processes, sexuality and economics, sexuality and religion and science and sexuality.
In the area of research, analysis and dissemination, the book Sexuality, Health and Human Rights was launched in New York last October. During the 11th AWID International Forum, a second book launching event was organized by the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies, among other organizations, where SPW members Gloria Careaga and Wanda Nowicka presented both Sexuality, Health and Human Rights and the e-book SexPolitics: Reports from the Front Lines. We are also pleased to inform you that a new CD ROM edition of the Spanish version of the e-book is now available.
Read about the book launch during the 11th AWID International Forum
Sexuality around the world
Global and local episodes involving sexuality, politics, religion and economics are too many to be compiled in a short quarterly newsletter. They are also too complex, since they unfold in ways that are full of paradoxes and contradictions. While brutal violations occur in one place, somewhere else—or even in the same place—a major human rights breakthrough is underway. National events portrayed as great achievements may have downsides that go uncontested and even unrecognized. Most principally, resistance is everywhere, even when the conditions for political expression and sexual pluralism are very limited.
The first main political development highlighted in this issue is the adoption at the level of the United Nations General Assembly of a groundbreaking declaration, supported by 66 countries, that calls for the abolition of criminal laws punishing same sex relations. As analyzed by Françoise Girard and Ignacio Saiz, efforts to address questions of sexuality and human rights at the United Nations started unfolding in 1994-1995. These efforts reached a point of culmination in 2003 when the Brazilian resolution on sexual orientation and human rights was tabled during the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, triggering major controversy. In 2007, when the Yogyakarta Principles were launched at the Human Rights Council, this marked a major step forward in terms of ensuring the protection of human rights for all persons regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. See the SPW video about Yogyakarta Principles and read the article The Yogyakarta Principles: Fusing Global Discourse with Local Vernaculars, by Ryan Thoreson, student at Harvard University.
The 2008 declaration constitutes a new landmark in this long and winding saga. The process leading to its adoption is analyzed by:
- Gloria Careaga, who attended the General Assembly Session and was recently elected Co-Secretary General of ILGA;
- Lasantha Wickramatunga, chief-editor of the newspaper Saunday Leader recently murdered in Sri-Lanka because of his liberal views and his criticism about the government;
- Douglas Sanders, a Canadian law professor living in Bangkok;
- Lawerence Mute, a member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and one of the contributors to the Yogyakarta Principles; and
- Joel Simpson, Co-Chairperson of Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Guyana
Below we offer a series of relevant links that provide additional and updated information about the Declaration:
- Gays, lesbians must be treated as equal members of human family – UN rights chief, an article by Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN)
- UN: General Assembly Statement Affirms Rights for All (HRW)
- ILGA delegation rallies support for UN statement (ILGA)
- UN split over homosexuality laws (BBC)
The final editing of the 5th SPW newsletter coincided with the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as the new US president. Like millions of people in the USA and around the world we, at SPW celebrate the end of the Bush era. But we also entered this new era with caution because we agree with Judith Butler insightful observation that ‘The election of Obama means that the terrain for debate and struggle has shifted, and it is a better terrain, to be sure. But it is not the end of struggle, and we would be very unwise to regard it that way, even provisionally.’ In an interview published by CLAM – the Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights, Richard Parker was also very sober in his assessment of the barriers that would eventually hinder the ability of the new administration to implement a consistent sexual rights agenda. Both authors called for prudence, watchfulness and sustained political action (see below).
The brief overview of news, protests and policy decisions highlighted in this section covers the three days between the inauguration and January 23rd when this edition was closed. It compellingly illustrates how rapidly and deeply the political and policy terrains are shifting. Even before we had fully analyzed the contents of Obama’s speech, Guantanamo was closed. While we were processing this first groundbreaking policy decision, the great news came about the long-expected lifting of abortion gag rule. But the articles and notes highlighted above also tell much about close monitoring and sustained political action. It is certainly wise to also remember that these ground-breaking decisions are also just the first step of real policy change. But still this has been a great start. A first block of articles in the section includes the analyses developed by Judith Butler and Richard Parker.
- The article by Judith Butler that was quoted above
- The interview of Richard Parker published by CLAM
A second block looks into controversies and breakthroughs that have been unfolding in the course of the last two weeks. The first series of articles address the long expected lifting of the abortion gag rule on January 23rd and illustrates debates preceding the decision.
- Women’s Health, Ungagged (NY Times)
- NGOs from all over the world thank Obama (IPAS)
- Statement issued by the International Women’s health Coalition
- On the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade Obama declared his support to women’s right to choose (CNN)
- SPW partner Jodi Jacobson called Obama to immediately end the Gag Rule
- The Washington Post recalls how Clinton and Bush have also immediately acted in relation to funding restrictions in respect to abortion
A third block looks into the controversy that unfolded, even before the inauguration, in respect to LGBT rights, and was triggered by the invitation to conservative pastor Rick Warren to speak in the inauguration. Later gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson was also invited to speak in the Lincoln Memorial two days before the inauguration. Unfortunately his prayer was practically erased from the mainstream media.
- Obama to back gay rights agenda (The Bulletím)
- SPW’s close partner, Jodi Jacobson, contests the invitation to Pastor Rick Warren
- Huffington Post announces that Bishop Robinson would celebrate the opening of the inaugural ceremony
- Bishop Robinson prayer at the Lincoln Memorial
Lastly we call attention to the short but intense controversy that started when news have been heard that Obama planned to retain Ambassador Mark Dybul as the US Global AIDS Coordinator. Dybul would be asked by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to resign on January 23rd. But before that, various articles and statements criticized his potential retention.
- Statement issued by Advocates for Youth
- Pamela Merrit comments on the Global AIDS coordinator – Jodi Jacobson thanks Hilary for requesting Dybul to resign
We also suggest our readers to check what the Obama-Binden transition website says about sexuality and related matters:
Check also what has been already posted in the White House website.
3. Relevant meetings
In this issue we highlight three global events where sexuality issues were addressed: the ILGA Conference of Vienna, the 11th AWID International Forum in Cape Town and the two consultations on Sex Work and Trafficking sponsored by the Open Society Institute (OSI) in New York in December 2008.
3.1 – 24th ILGA World Conference in Vienna
This conference held in Vienna, Austria, from November 3-6 2008, focused on building regional associations of African, Asian, and Latin American activists and on moving away from a traditional binary gender representation. Read more at ILGA website.
3.2 – 11th AWID International Forum
In the case of the 11th AWID International Forum, held in Cape Town, South Africa, November 14-17th, 2008, we bring to your attention the ILGA report on main activities relating to LGBT rights. Alejandra Sardá from Mulabi – Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos provides a short overview of how sexuality was addressed at the Forum (read the article in English or Spanish). We also include an interview with Elena Reynaga, Executive Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Sex Workers Network (RedTraSex), wherein she describes her work and how sex work was discussed at this meeting (read the interview in English or Spanish).
3.3 – Donor Dialogue on Sex Work and Trafficking
The conversations on sex work and trafficking sponsored by OSI in December, in New York, are briefly analyzed by Svati Shah, whom we thank for her generous contribution. Read the article
Check out more information about sex work at:
- Collateral Damage: The Impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures on Human Rights around the World (GAATW)
- Talk delivered at Beijing Plus Ten meetings on the “Swedish model”, by the professor Don Kulicke
- The Enforcer, by Samantha Power (The New Yorker, January 19, 2009, p. 52)
- Male sex workers: Are we ignoring a risk group in Mumbai, India? (IJDVL)
- Check out link for other Sex Worker’s organizations in SPW website
4. Regional highlights
The dynamics of sexual politics at regional levels have, once again, been marked by paradoxes, meaning we have witnessed some gains alongside other losses. In Uganda, a groundbreaking court decision was finally released for LGBT and HIV activists (see SPW newsletter n.4). In Nepal, the court demanded that the Nepali government give equal rights to LGBTs and amend all discriminatory laws. However, in Senegal, as we have noted in previous issues, persons accused of homosexuality have been prosecuted and imprisoned (see SPW newsletter n.3), and in Nigeria, despite much resistance, the bill aimed at banning same sex marriage has been approved by Congress. In China, the Chang-Kun’s AIDS Blog was closed down and in Brazil a neo-nazi group attacked SOMOS, the LGBT NGO based in Porto Alegre.
Another tragedy to highlight is the assassination of Lasantha Wickramatunga in Sri Lanka, the former editor-in-chief of Sunday Leader newspaper and author of the remarkable editorial on the UN declaration posted above. His death was likely connected to not only his public opinions on sexuality, but also his systematic critiques of the Sri Lankan government for its approach to the conflict that has plagued the country for the last 20 years.
- Ays welcome Uganda arrest payout (BBC)
- Victory for Human Rights (IGLHRC)
- Victory for LGBTs in Uganda court case (HIVOS)
- The Supreme Court Decision in English
- Nepal’s highest court confirms full rights for LGBT people (Pink News)
- LGBT Nepalis rejoice at Supreme Court decision granting equal protections (Gaypolitics.com)
- Free AIDS Activists – Eight-Year Sentences in Threatening Conditions for 9 Accused of ‘Indecent and Unnatural Acts’
- (HRW) – Call for immediate release of nine men sentenced on the basis of their alleged sexual conduct (Amnesty)
- UN working to ensure release of gay men jailed in Senegal (UN)
- Court Sentences Nine Men to Heavy Jail Sentences for Sodomy (IGLHRC)
- Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill violates Constitution (Amnesty)
- Nigeria: Reject ‘Same Gender’ Marriage Ban (HRW)
- New Chang-Kun’s AIDS Blog
- Statement to the China Global Fund AIDS Program regarding the closing of Chang-Kun’s AIDS Blog
- Neo-nazis make suastic graffities on the walls of a Brazilian non-governmental gay organization, by Alexandre Boer
- Killing of Sunday Leader newspaper editor, Mr Lasantha Wickramatunga (Front Line)
- In praise of … Lasantha Wickrematunge (Guardian)
- ‘I hope my murder will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration’ (Guardian)
Lately, the most relevant event has been the Uruguayan President’s veto of an article in the new reproductive health law that was approved by the House of Representatives in October 2008. The regrettable culmination of this ongoing legislative process — which has been addressed in previous SPW newsletters — is analyzed by:
- Alejandra López from Mujer and Salud en Uruguay, in Uruguay: Perspectives on abortion [in English] [in Spanish];
- Diego Sempol, a researcher at UNGS-IDES, Argentina, in Uruguay: aborto, veto y después. La soledad de un presidente (only in Spanish)
Additional information about the events leading up to the veto can be found in:
- Aborto en Uruguay [in English] [in Spanish] (MYSU)
- Lessons in progressive politics (Mercator Net)
- Tabaré Vázquez afronta críticas por veto al aborto (ABC Digital)
- Repudio al veto de Tabaré Vázquez (CLAM)
- Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights website (CLAM)
- CIUDADANIASX: Activismo cultural y derechos humanos
Advocacy: keep an eye
This section highlights examples of advocacy work related to sexuality/sexual rights carried out during the past four months.
In March and June 2009, newly appointed Special Rapporteurs will present their first reports to the Human Rights Council’s Plenary. Two reports that are of particular interest include those by Anand Grover, the new Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the new Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children. Read more about the current mandates of Anand Grover and Joy Ezeilo.
- The Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group concludes its third session (UN)
- Sexual Rights Initiative submissions to UPR (Mulabi)
- Guides to issues of sexual rights and the human rights of women for the 4th round of UPR in February (Mulabi)
- UPR Analytical Overviews (International Service for Human Rights)
ARC International, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) made a submission to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in relation to their Draft General Comment No. 20 on nondiscrimination, interpreting Art. 2(2) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Read more at IGLHRC website
Sexuality in Art
Check out these projects and events that connect art and sexuality!
Vestido Nuevo is the second short film directed by Sergi Pérez from Argentina. The film is about Mario, a boy who one day arrives at school dressed in his sister’s pink dress, surprising his teacher, family and friends. The film is highly acclaimed, especially for its sensitivity to questions of gender identity in primary school. Read an interview with Sergi Pérez from the newspaper El País (in Spanish) and see the film (English subtitles) shown here in two parts [1st part] [2nd part]
During the 11th AWID International Forum, the workshop The power of ‘body movements’ focused on perception and the senses instead of discourse and theoretical debate. A video, with same name as the workshop, was shown that presented images of bodies as tools of empowerment, exchange and social transformation. The three young Brazilian women who had coordinated the workshop were interviewed by SPW members: Aline Valentim, a social scientist who researches Brazilian popular and ethnic dances and rhythms; Angela Collet, a social scientist engaged in debates about the body and human development; and Valentina Homem, a documentary video maker who works on feminist issues. See the film and read the interview [in English] [in Portuguese].
Check it out!
4th Biennial International Sex and Relationships Education Conference
SRE 2009 is open to anyone from both the UK and abroad with an interest in, and concern for, sex and relationship education. The Conference will be held in Birmingham, UK, 7-9 September 2009. Abstracts must be submitted in January 2009. For more information visit the conference website at www.sre2009.org or e-mail email@example.com .
‘UHAI’: The East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative (EASHRI)
The deadline for submitting ‘Peer-Grant’ proposal applications to ‘UHAI’ is the 13th February 2009. For more information about the application process, grant making areas and grant sizes visit the Akiba Uhaki website at www.akibauhaki.org/uhai.html .
Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality
The Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality will take place in Rio de Janeiro, 30 March – 3 April 2009. Applications for abstract presentations, Global Village, and poster presentations are being accepted through the end of January 2009. The closing date for registration is 28 February 2009. For more information visit www.engagingmen2009.org .
Strengthening the linkages between sexual and reproductive health and HIV
A Bulletin of WHO on strengthening the linkages between sexual and reproductive health and HIV will explore some of the reasons why the public health community needs to bridge the gaps that exist between these two critical aspects of public health. The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2009. Manuscripts should be submitted to http://submit.bwho.org (See the Guidelines for Contributors). For more information visit www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/12/08-059394/en/index.html .
Norms, Gender and Sexuality
The research group Norms, Gender and Sexuality of the Free University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles) is launching a call for papers for a series of workshops in Brussels during the week of 16 November 2009. The workshops will analyse public policies concerning the regulation of sexuality in Europe. For more information visit http://normes-genre-sexualites.ulb.ac.be/ .
Reproductive Health Matters 17(34) November 2009
This journal issue is about what is happening in countries as regards criminalisation and decriminalisation of HIV transmission, sexuality and reproduction. The submission date is early March 2009 or thereabouts. RHM’s submission guidelines can be found at www.rhmjournal.org.uk .
2009 ILGLaw Conference
The 4th ILGLaw Conference “The Global Arc of Justice: Sexual Orientation Law Around the World” will take place 11-14 March 2009, in West Hollywood and Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. The deadline for registration is 1 February 2009. For more information visit www.law.ucla.edu/WilliamsInstitute/programs/GlobalArcofJustice2009.html or write to firstname.lastname@example.org .
2009 HaLLA Conference
The fourth annual Harvard Lambda Legal Advocacy (HaLLA) Conference will examine LGBT health disparities and the law. The meeting will take place 27-28 February 2009, Harvard Law School. Registration is free and all are welcome. Fore more information visit http://hlslambda.org/events/halla2009 .
Asia Regional Workshop: Women’s Leadership in HIV/AIDS
The Asia Regional Workshop is the second regional workshop conducted under the initiative “Advancing Women’s Leadership and Advocacy for AIDS Action.” The meeting will take place 16 March – 3 April 2009. For more information visit www.cedpa.org/section/training/aids_leadership .
Advanced Geneva Training Course on International Law and Advocacy
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) is currently accepting applications for the Advanced Geneva Training Course on International Law and Advocacy to be held in Geneva, 16-27 March 2009. Read more at http://www.ishr.ch/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=205&Itemid=280 .
LGBT and Human Rights International Training Programme
With funding from Sida, RFSU and RFSL will together organize and conduct a training programme on LGBT and Human Rights with participants from Africa (26 October – 13 November 2009) and Asia (14–18 June 2010). The closing date for applications is 3 April 2009. For more information visit http://www.rfsu.se/training_programmes.asp or contact Anna Nordqvist at email@example.com .
VII IASSCS Conference
The VII IASSCS Conference “Contested Innocence – Sexual Agency in Public and Private Space” will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, 16-18 April 2009. For more information visit http://www.iasscs.org/2009conference or contact the organizer at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Foro Latinoamericano y del Caribe sobre VIH y SIDA y el Foro Comunitario
The Foro Latinoamericano y del Caribe sobre VIH y SIDA y el Foro Comunitario will be held in Lima, Peru, 3 – 8 May 2009. For more information visit http://www.forovih2009.org.pe/ or contact email@example.com
Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA): Because Accountability Counts!
The overarching priorities of the foundation in 2009 will be “Transparency and Accountability: activities designed to monitor the actions of governments and hold them accountable to their citizens” and “Capacity Building: activities designed to enhance the capacity of individuals, institutions and governments.” The deadline for proposals is 15 February 2009. For more information visit http://www.osiwa.org/spip.php?article138 .
Graduate Scholarships in Reproductive & Sexual Health Law
Graduate Scholarships in Reproductive & Sexual Health Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law is a scholarship program for lawyers from developing countries. The application deadline is 16 February 2009. For more information visit http://www.law.utoronto.ca/prosp_stdn_content.asp?itemPath=3/7/0/0/0&contentId=263 .
Documentary Photography Distribution Grant
The Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project is offering a grant to documentary photographers who have already completed a significant body of work on issues of social justice, to collaborate with a partner organization and propose new ways of using photography as a tool for positive social change. The deadline to apply is 19 June 2009. For more information visit http://www.soros.org/initiatives/photography/news/distribution2009_20081125 .
GLAAD Media Fellowship Program
The GLAAD Media Fellowship Program was created to develop new leadership in the movement for LGBT equality and provide a unique opportunity to build experience in media activism by working nearly full time in GLAAD offices and being supervised and mentored by GLAAD¹s staff in Programs and Communications. For more information visit http://www.glaad.org/about/fellowship_opps.php or email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
IPPF Arab World Regional Office
IPPF is recruiting for the following positions within its Global Comprehensive Abortion Care Programme: Abortion Adviser (based in Morocco), Project Coordinator (based in Morocco), and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer (based in Tunis). Fluent French and good working knowledge of English essential for all positions. The deadline to submit your CV is 8 February 2009. For more information visit www.ippfawr.org or contact Stuart Halford at email@example.com .
Lead Consultant: Women, Girls and the Global Fund in Africa
The Global Fund is seeking a lead consultant to coordinate and provide technical support to coalitions of women’s organizations throughout southern and east Africa. The application deadline is 23 January 2009. For more information contact Shannon Kowalski at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Developing Country NGOs Delegation to the Global Fund board
The Developing Country NGOs Delegation to the GF board is seeking delegates to seat in the extended delegation, starting April 2009. The Delegation members selected will serve two years renewable once, based on an assessment process convened by the delegation leadership. The deadline for nominations is 30 January 30 2009. For more information email to email@example.com .
Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
ARROW is looking for an inspired individual to fill the post of Programme Manager for Advocacy and Capacity-building. The deadline for applications is February 6th 2009. For more information email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com , with the subject heading “Application for the post of Programme Manager”.
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
HRW is seeking highly-qualified applicants for the position of Deputy Director with its Africa Division. The deadline for applications is 13th February 2009. For more information email to firstname.lastname@example.org , with the subject heading “Africa Deputy Director”.
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
ICJ is seeking a Senior Legal Officer to lead the work on sexual orientation and gender identity from the International Secretariat in Geneva. Applications close on 27 February 2009 and should be addressed with the resume to email@example.com , with the subject heading “Senior Legal Officer for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”.
Outreach Program Associate
The LGBT Outreach Program Associate/Officer will drive the success of the outreach efforts and new LGBT programs as well as oversee existing initiatives for the advancement of LGBT human rights within global public policy. For more information contact Bruce F. Knotts at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Outreach Sesearch Intern
The objective of the LGBT Research Intern/Fellow is to assist the LGBT Outreach Program Associate/Officer in all areas of the UU-UNO’s LGBT program, which advocates for the decriminalization of LGBT behavior in all countries. For more information contact Bruce F. Knotts at email@example.com .
- Surfacing: Selected Papers on Religious Fundamentalisms and Their Impact on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights!
- Newsletter N. 1 ILGA Women’s Project
- Knowing Our Rights: Women, family, laws and customs in the Muslim world – 3rd edition
- Informe 2008 del Observatorio Nacional en Género y Salud Sexual y Reproductiva
- Madres lesbianas
- Collateral Damage: The Impact of Anti-Trafficking Measures on Human Rights around the World
- Deconstructing Sexuality in the Middle East Challenges and Discourses
- Conjugal Wrongs Don’t Make Rights – International Feminist Activism, Child Marriage & Sexual Relativism
- Our Lives Matter: Sex Workers Unite for Health and Rights
- Case studies, reports and surveys: Reducing Unsafe Abortion in Nigeria
- Abortion, Ethics, Conscience and Choice
- Resources on Human Trafficking: Treaties, Laws, Reports and Articles
- Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young Adults