Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Monday, 28 December 2009
"My research in the west Midlands with postgraduate student Betselot Mulugeta, talking to groups of immigrant men and women from the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities, has revealed serious misconceptions about the nature of the HIV/Aids epidemic in the UK. Lack of information tailored for different migrant groups, alongside lower awareness of HIV/Aids through media coverage as a whole, is a problem with real consequences.
Newly reported cases of HIV in the UK are higher than ever before. Between 1995 and 2006, the rate of HIV infection among black Africans in the west Midlands increased 100-fold, compared to a two-fold increase among white people, a three-fold increase among black Caribbeans and a six-fold increase among other mixed ethnic groups (according to the region's strategic health authority figures).
Taking the Ethiopian and Eritrean population as one example: they are predominantly young and single, tend to live alone and are often sexually active. Their culture and language restrict the information available to them. This group therefore represents a reservoir of HIV infection which is both a concern for the immigrant community itself and the host population. As social networks among the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities in the west Midlands do not condone or tolerate the discussion of sexual issues, external information networks are crucial in raising awareness of the HIV situation in the west Midlands and reducing stigma and discrimination of those who are HIV-positive.
The respondents in our study said they believed the UK was "civilised" and therefore they could not contract HIV/Aids, that the problem had been left behind in Africa. Some commented that they believed all migrants were screened before being allowed entry, and that drugs were available in the UK that would "cure" Aids. Perhaps most tellingly, interviewees said that Aids wasn't talked about in the UK and no information or warnings were provided, so they had assumed there wasn't a problem. Culturally, condoms are a difficult issue. It is considered unacceptable for either partner in a sexual relationship to ask for a condom to be used, because it's thought to suggest the woman is promiscuous or a prostitute, or that there is a lack of trust between them."
Friday, 25 December 2009
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Hundreds of years after it was composed this music transcends time and speaks the same message that it did to the great man who wrote this piece while stone deaf. He lay his head upon the piano and felt the cords as he played, infusing the music with his intense emotion, the devastation that he felt at going deaf.. said to be at the lowest point in his life.. It is also said that Beethoven used a special rod attached to the soundboard on the piano that he could bite - the vibrations would then transfer from the piano to his jaw to increase his perception of the sound.
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
The resolution amended the Policy Initiatives section of the Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Agenda for the City of Minneapolis to insert a section entitled "Human Rights Restrictions in Uganda." Noting that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill "[w]ould criminalize such activities as funding LGBT organizations, publishing or broadcasting or marketing materials on homosexuality," the Resolution affirms that, "[t]he City of Minneapolis opposes this legislation."
On October 14, 2009, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in Uganda's Parliament. In its current form, the proposed bill would:
* Imprison anyone convicted of "the offense of homosexuality" for life;
* Punish "aggravated homosexuality"-including repeat offenders, or anyone who is HIV positive and engages in same-sex activity-with the death penalty;
* Forbid the "promotion of homosexuality," and jail defenders of LGBT rights
* Require reporting anyone known to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender within 24 hours or face up to three years in prison.
The resolution passed by the City Council of Minneapolis demonstrates the still growing international opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and solidarity with LGBT people worldwide.
Other sister cities of Kampala include Kigali, Rwanda; Rajkot, India; Ashkelon, Israel; and Hudson, USA.
For full text of the Resolution click here.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
United Nations: Landmark Meeting Denounces Rights Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
IGLHRC: For Immediate Release: (New York, December 11) - A United Nations General Assembly panel that met this week broke new ground and helped build new momentum for ending human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a coalition of sponsoring nongovernmental organizations said today.
The meeting included discussion of discriminatory and draconian "anti-homosexuality" legislation currently before the Ugandan parliament, and of the role of American religious groups in promoting repression across Africa. In a groundbreaking move, a representative of the Holy See in the audience read a statement strongly condemning the criminalisation of homosexual conduct.
The panel, held yesterday on the 61st anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, featured speakers from Honduras, India, the Philippines, and Zambia, as well as Uganda, where the proposed "anti-homosexuality law" shows the steady threat of government repression.
Sweden organised the panel in coalition with Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, the Netherlands, and Norway. It was sponsored by a group of six nongovernmental organizations that defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The audience of 200 people included delegates from over 50 nations.
Ugandan lawmakers are currently debating the "anti-homosexuality" bill. While there were reports that the death-penalty provisions might be stripped from the bill, other punishments would remain that would drive many Ugandans underground or out of the country, participants said.
Speaking on the panel, Victor Mukasa, co-founder of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and program associate for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLRHC), described how he was forced to leave Uganda following police brutality and raids on his home. He said that Uganda's "anti-homosexuality" bill reflects a pattern of state-sponsored homophobia spreading across the African continent.
"Lack of security, arbitrary arrests and detentions, violence, and killings of LGBT people have become the order of the day in Africa," said Mukasa. "Nothing can change as long as LGBT people live in fear for their safety when they claim their basic human rights."
The statement from the Holy See said it "opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.…[T]he murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State."
Also at the panel discussion, the Reverend Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who is project director for Political Research Associates (PRA) in Massachusetts, presented the group's new report, Globalising the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.
Kaoma said that many anti-LGBT attitudes across Africa are fueled by US groups actively exporting homophobia. He called on US religious figures who have been promoting hatred and fear of homosexuality in Africa to denounce the Uganda bill unequivocally, and support the human rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Citing their moral responsibility to prevent violence, he also urged them to make such declarations in Africa, not just before US audiences.
Other panelists highlighted governments' complicity in prejudice and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Indyra Mendoza Aguilar, coordinator of the Lésbica Feminista Cattrachas network in Honduras said that an atmosphere of impunity since the June coup in Honduras has meant spreading violence against already marginalized people.
"In Honduras, as in many countries, the state turns a blind eye to violence against our communities," said Mendoza Aguilar. "Today we issue a call for reforming our societies, free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, free of impunity."
Vivek Divan, an Indian attorney and member of the team that led a successful legal challenge to India's colonial-era sodomy law, described the provision's insidious effects, promoting inequality, excusing violence, and permitting state intrusion into private lives. The Delhi High Court overturned the law this year in a landmark decision affirming diversity as a core value of the Indian state.
Speakers also stressed how torture, killings, and other grave abuses target people not just because of their sexualities, but because they look, dress, or act in ways that defy deeply rooted patriarchal norms for expressing masculinity and femininity.
"Now is the time to realise that diversity does not diminish our humanity," said Sass Sasot, co-founder of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP). "You want to be born, to live, and die with dignity - so do we! You want to live with authenticity - so do we!"