Michael Knaapen

Human Rights Report: LGBT Highlights, Part 2

Filed By Michael Knaapen | March 05, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Honduras, human rights

world-gay-rainbow.jpgHuman Rights Watch released a report summarizing human rights issues worldwide, spanning January through November of 2013, and covering 90 countries. Among the key issues investigated were LGBT rights.

Last week I began a series of posts highlighting this report. Each installment will spotlight a handful of nations, in order to advance our understanding of LGBT rights as a global phenomenon.

The first nations we covered were Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Argentina -- click here if you missed it or need a review.

As we continue our world survey, we see that progress moves at its customary pace -- three steps forward, two back -- like a law of physics, regardless of geography. Today's installment focuses on LGBT rights advances and violations in the Americas and Australia.

Learn more after the jump.

In Brazil, legislation that would partially suspend a resolution treating homosexuality as a disorder failed due to extensive public criticism. Also, a new rule refers to a disciplinary panel any notaries who refuse to marry same-sex couples. (p. 220/234)

Chile had mixed results in 2013, as a bill granting legal recognition of transgender persons' gender identities was tabled in a senate committee, but laws banning discrimination based on gender identity remained in place after passage in 2012. (p. 228/242)

Haiti was home to much violence and anti-LGBT propaganda in 2013. Between July 17 and 24 alone, 47 hate crimes targeting LGBTI persons were documented. Other attacks targeted LGBT advocates and organizations. The government condemned the violence, but law enforcement failed to prevent or redress the issues. (p. 257/271)

Honduras ranks among the worst offenders of LGBT rights in the Western Hemisphere. 90 murders have resulted from LGBT-targeted violence between 2009 and 2012, and other attacks and harassment are commonplace. Allegations of law enforcement collusion -- despite special prosecutor units set up to investigate anti-LGBT hate crimes -- are cause for alarm. (p. 262/276)

Australia's reputation for laissez-faire attitudes is marred by its current status on LGBT human rights. Some Australian states began extending legal protections to same-sex couples last year, though federal law still prohibits marriage and any kind of federal recognition (think the United States, circa June 25, 2013). Discrimination against LGBT people is illegal, except for religious organizations. Oh yes, and civil marriage. (p. 295/309)

That does it for this installment. In the next, we'll discuss a number of East Asian countries, some of whose progress has been greatly overstated, and others who deserve more praise for their good work than most people are aware.

In the face of so many ugly facts -- violence, oppression, millions of people denied the right to structure their families safely and work without fear of discrimination -- I can't help feeling optimistic: even in the darkest corners of the world, there are some brave lights shining against injustice, emanating a glow of hope.

This is how good things begin to grow.

Image source: GayTravel.com.

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