Since our last newsletter was published in June, Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW) has been mainly involved in the preparation for the Latin American Regional Dialogue (also in Portuguese and Spanish), part of the series of Regional Dialogues on Sexuality and Geopolitics (also in Portuguese and Spanish), of which the first has take place in Asia (also in Portuguese and Spanish) and the last one, in Africa, is scheduled for early 2010. The Latin American Regional Dialogue, in Rio de Janeiro (August 24th-26th) gathered close to 50 researchers and activists from nine countries who critically reflected on the sexual political landscape in the region and, within it, about the intersections between sexuality and political processes, science, economy and religion. The papers, report and ppts files of the the presentations will be available soon.
Also, SPW’s is presently involved in the global research EroTICs: Sexuality and the internet – an exploratory research project, sponsored by the Women’s Networking Support Program of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC WNSP). SPW was selected to conduct the investigation of the Brazilian case, in partnership with CLAM – Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights. Other countries included in the research effort are Egypt and Lebanon, India, South Africa and the United States.
SEXUALITY AROUND THE WORLD: MAIN DEBATES
Two relevant global meetings on gender and sexual and reproductive rights happened recently are highlighted in this newsletter. The first is the NGO Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Development – Invest in Health, Rights and the Future, organized by the Global Partners in Action. The meeting took place in Berlin, Germany, between September 2nd and 4th, 2009, and held in recognition of the 15 years anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), aiming to strengthen NGOs working in partnership to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for sustainable development in an uncertain and interdependent world. Read more information information about the Forum and a short article about its outcomes written by Ranjani K.Murthy, an independent Indian researcher on gender, poverty and health.
The second event is also related to the ICPD + 15 review process: the Meeting of Women Representing Regional Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean in the ICPD +15, that took place in Panama, from 3rd to 5th August, 2009. Its main outcome was the Panama Declaration that presents the concerns and proposal of Latin America and Caribbean feminist organizations and networks about the implementation of the Cairo Program of Action in both regions. Click here to read the Panama Declaration.
In this session you find few relevant news from around the world regarding sexual and reproductive rights, LGBT gains and step backs and others. Check the article by Hera Diani, from the Jakarta Globe, called “Being Gay, Muslim and Indonesian” and read Amnesty International’s briefing “Serbia: Human rights defenders at risk”.
- Zimbabwe: Gay activist Keith Goddard dies in Harare.
- Serbia: Human rights defenders are under attack in Serbia and the authorities are failing to protect them. Read Amnesty International’s briefing “Serbia: Human rights defenders at risk”.
- Uruguay: Senate unanimously approves sex change bill, with the strong opposition by the Roman Catholic Church and opposition conservatives (also in Portuguese and Spanish).
- Jamaica: The British Honorary Consul John Terry was murdered in his bedroom and the murder scene suggests he was the victim of a violently homophobic crime.
- Indonesia: Read the article by Hera Diani about being gay, muslim and Indonesian, published at The Jakarta Globe.
- Albania: Prime Minister said on a meeting that the Assembly will discuss and approve the draft law allowing gay marriage.
- South Africa: Read Barry Bearak’s article on NY Times about the mixed verdict in Eudy Simelane’s murder trial.
- Indonesia: Activists fight to overturn oppressive law that calls for 100 lashes for homosexuality, in Aceh.
- Argentina: La Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Personas Trans (REDLACTRANS) recibe el Premio a la Excelencia en Salud Pública Interamericana (only in Portuguese and Spanish).
- Brazil: Servidores gays do Superior Tribunal Militar vão poder incluir parceiros no plano de saúde. (only in Portuguese)
Also at the regional levels
> Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights (CLAM) website (information in Eng / Port / Spa)
> Ciudadania SX (only in Spanish)
> Conectas Human Rights (information in Eng / Port / Spa)
> Observatorio de Género y Equidad (only in Spanish)
> CFEMEA (information in Port / Eng)
> Revista de Saúde Sexual e Reprodutiva de Ipas Brasil (only in Portuguese)
> Portal Lambda Moçambique (only in Portuguese)
> CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights No 09 (77) 2009 (only in English)
The abortion front lines
In Dominican Republic, the recent Constitutional Reform includes an article that makes illegal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy under any circumstance. The direct influence of the Catholic Church Hierarchy on the legislative process was blatant and the outcome pushed Dominican Republic into the small group of countries that prohibited abortion in all circunstances.
In contrast, the reform announced earlier this year to revise the 1985 Spanish abortion legislation is moving forward, despite the strong and systematic reaction mobilized by the Catholic Church and other conservative sectors. In late September, the Zapatero government approved the draft law provision, which will be soon sent to Parliament. In the process leading to the draft provision, the main controversies turned around specific rules in the case of women under 18 and the question consciousness objection.
- Dominican Republic: Constitution Bans Abortion in All Cases.
- Spain: Spain Steps Into Battle With Itself on Abortion.
- Philippines: Man nabbed in Quiapo for delivering abortion pills.
- Nicaragua: Amnesty International launched the report “The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women’s lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalized.”
- Read the Department for International Development’s (DFID) new Policy Position on Safe and Unsafe Abortion.
- Read the report “Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress”, written by Guttmacher Institute.
ADVOCACY: KEEP AN EYE
At the United Nations, a number of events occurred that deserve to be mentioned. In July, the Brazilian LGBT Association was the first Southern based LGBT organization to be granted ECOSOC status. Also in September, the General Assembly established the grounds for the creation of a new UN Gender Architecture (see more below), a proposal that, since 2005, has been systematically advocated for by feminist networks since 2005. Concurrently, Hillary Clinton called for a Security Council Resolution on sexual violence in armed conflicts that was also approved. In this issue we publish the assessment made by Charlotte Bunch and Cynthia Rothschild, from Center for Women’s Global Leadership, about the new UN gender architecture.
Meanwhile the outcomes of the Human Rights Council September 2009 Session were rather mixed. The Council adopted a resolution on traditional values that, as analyzed by Amnesty International, does not clearly define what religious values are nor recognizes that traditional values are quite often use to curtail human rights — particularly in relation to gender and sexuality. On the other hand, the Council failed to create an expert mandate on the elimination of discrimination against women.
Two resolutions on HIV/AIDS, presented by Brazil, have been also adopted: one on discrimination and the other on access to medicine, which are to be appraised. However, the texts are not as strong as they could have been. Of particular concern is the fact that consecrated UN language on vulnerable groups has been dropped from the text addressing HIV based discrimination. Given this paradoxical scenario, SPW dearly welcome the new Sexual Rights Initiative Report for the 7th Universal Periodical Review and, most principally, the nomination of Farida Shaheed as the new Independent Expert on Cultural Rights.
We also highlight the Stop Trans Pathologization – 2012 campaign (STP2012) that advocates for the despathologization of the trans identities (transexual and transgender) and their retirement from the manuals of disorders (the DSM from the American Psychiatric Association, which’s newly revised version is due in 2012, and the CIE from the World Health Organization, due in 2014). The main action of the STP2012 campaign is the simultaneous demonstration, in various cities around the world, every October since 2007. This next October 17th a manifestation will be held against trans pathologization in different parts of the world. The participants of the Latin American Dialogue on Sexuality and Geopolitics, held in August 24-26, 2009 in Rio de Janeiro/Brazil, have decided to join the Stop Trans Pathologization – 2012 campaign worldwide. A statement is being prepared that will be soon posted in SPW website and disseminated worldwide.
UN General Assembly
– New UN Gender Architecture
– Security Council Resolution on sexual violence in situations of armed conflict
> Security Council demands end to conflict-related sexual violence (UN News Centre)
UN Human Rights Council
– “Traditional Values” resolution
> ‘Traditional Values’ Vote and Gaza Overshadow Progress (Human Rights Watch)
– 7th Universal Periodical Review
> The new report The UN Human Rights Council Report Card: 2007-2009, by Freedom House
PS: Unfortunately the final text of the Russian Resolution hasn’t been available at the Human Rights Council website yet.
SEXUALITY IN ART
Check in this issue:
> The video Fuck you / A la homofobia, con cariño! (with subtitles in Spanish), by the Uruguayan movement Ovejas Negras (The Black Sheep Movement)
> The blog Intervención Bochinche (only in Spanish), about a cultural demonstration held in Lima, Peru, to defend the sex workers rights
> The summary of the documentary Sou Mulher, Sou Brasileira, Sou Lésbica (I’m woman, I am Brazilian and I am lesbian), by the Brazilian video maker Vagner de Almeida. (only in Portuguese)
CHECK IT OUT!