Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dates Announced for Global Legal Skills Conference 11 in Verona

The Global Legal Skills Conference is the world's largest conference dedicated to the teaching of legal skills around the world, including teaching "Legal English" to lawyers and law students who speak English as a second language. The conference is held annually in different locations around the world. Most recently it was held in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School (where the conference began) and at Northwestern University School of Law. The GLS-10 was also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, which itself previously hosted the conference twice.

In addition to the sessions on skills training, the conference also has a number of sessions on international law subjects.

The 11th Global Legal Skills Conference will return to a popular location, the University of Verona Faculty of Law in Verona, Italy. The conference will be held from Tuesday, May 24, 2016 to Thursday, May 26, 2016. Optional activities will be organized for before and after the conference.

(mew)

June 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Challenges Facing ICTR and ICTY

The top officials of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia today outlined a number of challenges to their work, ranging from the health of the defendants to the “daunting” task of trying to relocate those acquitted or who have already served their sentences.

Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, told the Security Council that the health of accused individuals and staff attrition had caused delays in some cases. The so-called Residual Mechanism is mandated to take over and finish the remaining tasks of both tribunals once their mandates expire.

But Mr. Meron said: “By the end of this year, the forecasts provided by presiding Judges indicate that the ICTY will have completed its work on all but two trials and two appeals.”

“While various cases have suffered delays, these can each be counted as a matter of months, and the last cases are still expected to be completed in 2017, as predicted in the ICTY's previous forecasts,” he said.

Mr. Meron also reassured Council members that ”when the history of the ICTY is written, it is this legacy, not limited delays in projected delivery dates, that will be remembered and, I believe, celebrated.”

ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said the countries of the former Yugoslavia continued to cooperate with the Office and to respond, as needed, to requests for assistance. This included, on high-profile cases, joint arrest operations conducted by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

Mr. Brammertz also said the trial judgments of former Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic are “estimated to be delivered later this year.”

The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Vagn Joensen, said the Appeals Chamber had completed its work with respect to all appeals from the trial judgments, with the exception of Nyiramasuhuko et al. – or the Butare case – concerning six persons and that the formal closure of the Tribunal is still expected to occur before the end of 2015.

He also drew attention to “the very troubling issue of relocating the acquitted and convicted released persons still residing in Arusha,” the Tanzanian city where the Tribunal is based.

“The issue of relocation remains a daunting one and the challenges that the ICTR has faced with relocating these persons, some of which have been residing in a UN safe house for over a decade, have been brought to this Council's attention on numerous occasions,” he said.

Hassan B. Jallow, the Prosecutor of the Rwanda Tribunal and of the International Residual Mechanism for both courts, said the Mechanism Office of the Prosecutor continued to take over functions from the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia Tribunals.

(UN press release)

June 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Issues Second Report on Violence and Discrimination Against LGBT Persons Around the World

Although some progress has been made since the first United Nations study four years ago on discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, the overall picture remains one of pervasive, violent abuse, harassment, and discrimination in all regions, according to a new United Nations report.

“Violence motivated by homophobia and transphobia is often particularly brutal, and in some instances characterized by levels of cruelty exceeding that of other hate crimes,” according to the report by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) (A/HRC/29/23) to be presented later this month to the UN Human Rights Council, which requested it.

The report found that such violent acts include deep knife cuts, anal rape,and genital mutilation, as well as stoning and dismemberment. “These constitute serious human rights violations, often perpetrated with impunity, indicating that current arrangements to protect the human rights of LGBT and intersex persons are inadequate,” the report says. The report also states that “there is as yet no dedicated human rights mechanism at the international level that has a systematic and comprehensive approach to the human rights situation of LGBT and intersex persons.”

The report contains 20 recommendations directed at the national governments, including these recommendations:

  • Repeal laws used to punish individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, including laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relationships cross-dressing, and that restrict freedom of expression, association, and assembly;
  • Prohibit discrimination and incitement to hatred and violence against LGBT persons, and enact hate crime laws that punish those who target individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • Legally recognize same-sex relationships;
  • Ensure access to legal identity documents that reflect an individual's self-identified gender, without imposing abusive pre-conditions; and
  • End abusive therapies and treatments to which LGBT people are often subjected -- including so-called "conversion” therapy, forced sterilization of transgender persons and certain medical procedures on intersex children.

The recommendations, the report says, describe measures to protect individuals from the kinds of human rights violations documented in the report and draw from good practices observed in the course of compiling the report and recommendations of United Nations human rights mechanisms.

The report, the second such official study of its kind since 2011, notes that despite “some progress” during the past four years, “the overall picture remains one of continuing, pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination affecting LGBT and intersex persons in all regions.”

On killings, the report said: “Data are patchy but, wherever available, suggest alarmingly high rates of homicidal violence” and noted that “terrorist groups may target LGBT persons for punishment, including killings.” As an example, the reported cited that “in February 2015, photos appeared to show several men, allegedly accused of homosexual acts, being pushed off a tower to their deaths by militants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).”

While noting important recent advances in the protection LGBT people, the report presents evidence of “continuing, pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination affecting LGBT and intersex persons in all regions.”

(Adapted from a UN press release)

Click here to see a copy of the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, "Discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity," (A/HRC/29/23) (May 4, 2015).  Scroll down to find Report A/HRC/29/23.

Click here to read more about the background and context of the UN report.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)

                  

June 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Protecting Nuclear Facilities from Cyberattacks

The international community must intensify efforts to protect the world’s nuclear facilities from cyberattacks, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog declared as he opened the Organization’s first-ever conference on the issue at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna.

Sounding the alarm in front of more than 650 experts from 92 member States, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said the inaugural International Conference on Computer Security in a Nuclear World sent “an important message” that the world is finally “serious about protecting nuclear and other radioactive material.”

“Reports of actual or attempted cyberattacks are now virtually a daily occurrence,” Mr. Amano affirmed, warning that the nuclear industry had not been immune from the global threat. “Last year alone, there were cases of random malware-based attacks at nuclear power plants and of such facilities being specifically targeted.”

The threat of cybercrime and cyberattacks has been steadily growing over recent years and particularly in developing countries where criminals can exploit legal loopholes and weak security measures, according to recent findings by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Conference – organized in cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) – will run until 5 June and illustrate ways member States and stakeholders can better anticipate and protect themselves from cyber-attacks.

In addition, notes the IAEA on its website, member States will also address a range of issues pertaining to trends in cyberattack and defence, computer security management in nuclear security, computer security threat analysis, computer security for industrial control systems and operator experience in implementing computer security.

“Staff responsible for nuclear security should know how to repel cyber-attacks and to limit the damage if systems are actually penetrated,” Mr. Amano continued.

“The IAEA is doing what it can to help governments, organizations, and individuals adapt to evolving technology-driven threats from skilled cyber adversaries.”

(adapted from a UN press release)

June 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Baku Urged to Free Human Rights Advocates in Advance of European Games

United Nations Special Rapporteur Michel Forst has criticized the “relentless prosecution and repression of prominent rights activists in Azerbaijan” and called for their immediate release – before the inaugural European Games begin in Baku on 12 June.

The independent expert said, “As preparations are in full swing for the Baku Games, the Azerbaijani authorities stepped up their efforts to harass, jail, and surveil human rights defenders, as well as ban them from travel and freeze their assets.” Mr. Forst underscored that such “unjustifiable criminalization” was usually justified with trumped-up or politically-motivated charges of State treason, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office. “As a result, most Azerbaijani defenders have had to endure prolonged pre-trial detention, imprisonment or exile,” he explained.

The UN expert also drew attention to actions against Intigam Aliyev and Khadija Ismail for documenting cases of political prisoners; Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanli and Elnur Mammadov for monitoring presidential elections in October 2013; Leyla Yunus and her husband, Arif, for criticizing the Government; and Rasul Jafarov for organizing a “Sport for Rights” initiative during the Baku Games that aimed to expose corruption and rights abuses in the country.

Mr. Forst expressed his deep regret for continued efforts “to stifle fundamental freedoms of expression and association, and to shrink the democratic space even further in the country” and urged the Government to allow those who promote and protect human rights to do so “in an environment that empowers rather than prosecutes.”

The human rights expert noted that the first European Olympic Games represented “an opportunity for the countries of Europe to come together and celebrate the Olympic spirit of freedom and inclusiveness.” He stressed that as host country, Azerbaijan should embody those ideals and release the imprisoned human rights supporters. “Azerbaijani activists must be free and they deserve to be part of the European celebrations in Baku.”

Mr. Forst also urged athletes, sport fans and supporters of the Games “to show solidarity with Azerbaijani human rights defenders and join the calls for them to be freed immediately in the European spirit of freedom and human rights.”

Maina Kiai, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom or opinion and expression also endorsed Mr. Forst's appeal to the Azerbaijani Government.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

To read more about the first European Games, click here.

(mew)


June 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Myanmar Urged to Release U Htin Lin Oo, a Journalist Charged with Insulting Religion

Appalled at the two-year prison sentence handed down to U Htin Lin Oo on charges of insulting religion, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today urged the Myanmar authorities to release the columnist and guarantee freedom of expression and opinion in the country.

“We urge the authorities to release U Htin Lin Oo unconditionally and to take all necessary measures to ensure that those who conduct peaceful advocacy, legitimately exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion, do not face reprisals,” said OHCHR spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, during a press briefing in Geneva.

According to the media, U Htin Lin Oo, a former official at the National League for Democracy party, was sentenced to two years of jail and hard labour on Tuesday for a speech meant to discourage Buddhist extremism.

“U Htin Lin Oo courageously spoke out against the use of Buddhism as a tool for extremism. His treatment and conviction are in stark contrast to the treatment of those in Myanmar who are clearly inciting violence against minority communities, particularly the Rohingya,” Ms. Shamdasani added.

“Rather than prosecuting individuals, who brazenly call for the Rohingya to be killed, for hate speech and incitement to violence, the authorities have jailed a peaceful advocate who dared to question the misuse and manipulation of religion for extremist ends,” the Spokesperson stated.

High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has previously raised U Htin Lin Oo’s case, warning Myanmar against creating “a new generation of political prisoners” by jailing people who seek to enjoy the democratic freedoms they were promised in the reforms the country has undergone over the past two years.

Calling on the Government of Myanmar to send a “clear message” against hate speech and incitement to violence, OHCHR said that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence in this country should be prohibited by law.

(UN Press Release)

 


June 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Welcomes End of Death Penalty in Nebraska

Welcoming Nebraska as the nineteenth state in the United States to abolish the death penalty, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has urged the U.S. federal government to engage with those states retaining the policy towards achieving a nationwide moratorium as a first step to abolition.

“We welcome the abolition of the death penalty in the state of Nebraska,” said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, who added that Nebraska has not executed any inmates since 1997.

States, such as Colorado, Delaware, Montana and Kansas, whose legislative bodies are currently debating the abolition of the death penalty, are encouraged to follow Nebraska’s lead, Ms. Shamdasani said.

OHCHR also called on the US Federal Government, at the recommendation of the Human Rights Committee in March 2014, to establish a federal level moratorium on the death penalty, while engaging “retentionist states with a view to achieving a nationwide moratorium,” as a first step towards abolition.

The number of people executed each year, and the size of the population on death row in the US have progressively declined in the past 10 years. In 2014, the death penalty was carried out only by seven states, and the number of executions was 35, the lowest since 1994.

(adapted from a UN Press Release)

June 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Asian Society of International Law Conference

Here's a reminder that the 5th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law 2015 will be held at the Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel, in November 2015. <a href="http://asiansil.org/conference/5thBiennial2015/">Click here for more information about the conference.</a> The website includes the call for papers to be presented at the conference.

(mew)

May 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 22, 2015

More than 200 Attendees from 25 Countries at the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference in Chicago

The 10th Global Legal Skills Conference attracted more than 200 participants from 25 countries, the largest GLS Conference to date. The conference was held at The John Marshall Law School (where the conference originated) and Northwestern University School of Law. The conference was also co-sponsored this year by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico), which previously hosted the conference on two occasions.

The conference included a Consular Reception and Award Ceremony, as well as a panel in Spanish to explain the writ of amparo and different business models for investing in Mexico. A Scholars' Forum sponsored by the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) was also held just before the GLS conference.

The sessions cover a wider range of topics relating to international legal education.

The next Global Legal Skills Conference will return to the University of Verona (Italy) on May 22-24, 2016.

(mew)

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WTO Dispute Settlement News

WTOIn dispute resolution activity at the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week, both China and Japan filed appeals of panel reports regarding anti-dumping duties on certain steel tubes.  The two cases are: “China – Measures Imposing Anti-Dumping Duties on High Performance Stainless Steel Seamless Tubes from the European Union” (DS460) and “China – Measures Imposing Anti-Dumping Duties on High Performance Stainless Steel Seamless Tubes from Japan” (DS454).

In addition, Japan initiated a new dispute resolution proceeding against Korea with respect to certain import restrictions when it notified the WTO Secretariat on 21 May 2015 that it has requested consultations with Korea regarding its import bans and additional testing and certification requirements that affect the importation of food products from Japan. This matter has been assigned case no. DS495.

(cgb)

May 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ASIL Women in International Law Mentoring Program Is Looking for New Members

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) and its Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) are now launching the third year of the Women in International Law Mentoring Program.Since 2013, over 240 women have participated in ASIL’s mentoring program as both mentors and mentees in 17 cities from Tucson to Singapore. 

The Women in International Law Mentoring Program is the first of its kind in international law and is designed to foster the next generation of female international lawyers. The program connects experienced female international law professionals with female law students and new attorneys interested in professional development in the field of international law. Mentoring takes place locally, in a group setting, with a maximum of four mentees for every mentor. Mentors and mentees meet in person every other month during the course of an academic year to discuss topics and engage in activities designed to help junior women enter and be successful in the field of international law. Mentors will be provided with optional pre-planned meeting topics to structure meetings for their groups. Upon finishing the requirements of the one-year program, all participants receive a certificate of completion.

More information about the program and applications for the 2015-16 year may be found here.

(cgb)

May 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Private International Law Prize 2015

The Private International Law Interest Group (PILIG) of the American Society of International Law invites submissions for this year’s ASIL Private International Law prize. The prize is given for the best text on private international law written by a young scholar. Essays, articles, and books are welcome, and can address any topic of private international law, can be of any length, and may be published or unpublished, but not published prior to 2014. Submitted essays should be in the English language.  Competitors may be citizens of any nation but must be 35 years old or younger on December 31, 2014. They need not be members of ASIL.

This year, the prize will consist of a $400 stipend to participate in the 2015 or 2016 ASIL Annual Conference, and one year’s membership to ASIL. The prize will be awarded by the Private International Law Interest Group based upon the recommendation of a Prize Committee. Decisions of the Prize Committee on the winning essay and on any conditions relating to this prize are final.

Submissions to the Prize Committee must be received by June 1st 2015.

Entries should be submitted by email in Word or pdf format. They should contain two different documents: a) the essay itself, without any identifying information other than the title; and b) a second document containing the title of the entry and the author’s name, affiliation, and contact details.

Submissions and any queries should be addressed by email to Private International Law Interest Group Co-Chairs Prof. S.I. Strong (strongsi@missouri.edu) and Cristian Gimenez Corte (cristiangimenezcorte@gmail.com). All submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail.

Hat tip to Prof. S.I. Strong

(mew)

May 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

International Law Research Secrets from the Scholars' Forum at The John Marshall Law School

Wilson AbramsonThe GLS-10 Scholars' Forum is continuing with presentations on secrets of foreign and international law research. Presenters pictured here are Clare WIllis (Chicago-Kent College of Law) and Anne Abramson (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago). The program includes useful international and foreign law legal research resources, including many legal research secrets.

Some of the websites recommended for international scholars included these:

The Scholars' Forum is being held in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference, being held in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School and Northwestern University School of Law. The Facultad Libre del Derecho de Monterrey is an additional co-sponsor of the conference.

(mew)

 

May 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Equity-Based Crowd-Funding in the European Union

ButturiniPaolo Butturini, an Assistant Professor of Business Law at the University of Verona (Italy), is speaking at the GLS Scholars Forum on the topic of Equity-Based Crowdfunding Across the European Union.  His presentation analyzes the legal frameworks for equity crowd-funding in various countries.  His presentation also includes a discussion of the skills necessary for lawyers involved in crowd-funding enterprises, including knowledge of the relevant rules in various jurisdictions, drafting skills, and client counseling skills.

The GLS Scholars Forum was made possible by a grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors. The Forum is in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference being held this week at The John Marshall Law School and Northwestern University School of Law. The conference is also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.

(mew)

May 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Comparative Legal Skills in the Context of Criminal Justice

Wilson BelfastPaulina E. Wilson of Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland is presenting at the GLS-10 Scholars Forum on the subject of “Comparative Legal Skills in the Context of Criminal Justice: A Call for Interdisciplinarity." Her presentation explores differences in how criminal statutes are construed in different countries, including close readings of statutory examples from the Criminal Codes of Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

The Scholarship Forum is sponsored by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and is being held at The John Marshall Law School in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference being held this week at John Marshall and Northwestern University. The conference is also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.

(mew)

May 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GLS-10 Scholarship Forum Underway

ZhangThanks to a grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), the Global Legal Skills Conference this year includes a Scholars' Forum where participants are exchanging ideas about works-in-progress. The participants are also sharing information on publication opportunities in scholarly journals, bar association publications, and book contracts.

The first presenter today is Zhang Xiaomeng, a Senior Associate Librarian and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, who presented on understanding the tension that Chinese laws and regulations face in balancing the right to know and the right to keep state secrets.

Zhang Xiaomeng ("Alex") will also present later this week at the Global Legal Skills Conference on the topic of  “The Forms and Limits of English Translations of Primary Laws of China,” in which she'll demonstrate how to find and use English translations of the primary laws of Greater China in a cost-effective way. Many of the suggestions and tips offered in that session will also be helpful in finding and using English translations of primary laws in other jurisdictions.

The Global Legal Skills Conference this week is being held at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and Northwestern University School of Law.  The conference is also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico).

(mew)

May 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WTO Appellate Body Again Upholds Panel Decision finding US Not in Compliance in COOL Measures Dispute

Yesterday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body again upheld the findings of a WTO panel with respect to the United States' failure to properly implement previous decisions relating to certain Country of Origin Labeling Requirements (COOL) provisions maintained by the United States.

Canada initiated this dispute in 2008 complaining that the COOL provisions are inconsistent with Articles III, IX and X of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994, Article 2 of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, (or, in the alternative, Articles 2, 5 and 7 of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement), and Article 2 of the Rules on Origin Agreement. The original provisions at issue were contained in the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 as amended in 2008. The WTO website describes these measures as "includ[ing] the obligation to inform consumers at the retail level of the country of origin in respect of covered commodities, including beef and pork. The eligibility for a designation of a covered commodity as exclusively having a US origin can only be derived from an animal that was exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the United States."

The WTO dispute resolution panel determined that the COOL measures are a technical regulation under the TBT Agreement that are inconsistent with the United States' WTO obligations because they provide less favorable treatment to imported Canadian cattle and hogs as compared to like domestic products. The panel also found that the COOL provisions do not fulfill the legitimate objective of providing consumers with information on origin and therefore violate Article 2.2 of the TBT Agreement.  The panel further found that the COOL measures violate Article X of GATT.  The panel did not consider the other claims.

Both the United States and Canada appealed the panel's findings to the WTO Appellate Body, which issued a decision in 2012 largely upholding the panel's decision, albeit on slightly different grounds. The United States indicated its intention to implement the Appellate Body's decision within a reasonable period of time, but Canada was dissatisfied with the implementation process. Accordingly, Canada requested the establishment of a second panel under Article 21 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding to examine U.S. compliance. Proceedings relating to whether the United States has fully complied have been ongoing since that time.  The Appellate Body decision issued yesterday is therefore the last in a series of decisions finding that the United States has not fully complied and requesting further U.S. action to bring its COOL measures into conformity with its WTO obligations.

(cgb) 

May 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Asian Society of International Law Conference

The 5th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law 2015 will be held at the Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel, in November 2015. Click here for more information about the conference. The website includes the call for papers to be presented at the conference. (mew)

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 17: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. We're sharing a press release in German about the event, from the Lesben- und Schwulenverbands (LSVD) in Berlin, Germany.

(mew)

Akzeptanz ohne Aber - Internationaler Tag gegen Homo- und Transphobie

Politisch und gesellschaftlich für gleiche Rechte, Vielfalt und Respekt eintreten

Am Sonntag, den 17. Mai, begehen wir den Internationalen Tag gegen Homo- und Transphobie. Dazu erklärt Axel Hochrein, Sprecher des Lesben- und Schwulenverbandes (LSVD):

Vor 25 Jahren hat die Weltgesundheitsorganisation Homosexualität aus ihrem Diagnoseschlüssel gestrichen. Homosexualität gilt seitdem offiziell nicht mehr als Krankheit. Trotzdem gehören auch in Deutschland Homo- und Transphobie noch zum Alltag von Lesben, Schwulen, Bisexuellen und Transgender (LSBT). In der vergangenen Woche hat ILGA Europe seine aktualisierte Liste über die rechtliche Situation von LSBT in den einzelnen Ländern Europas vorgelegt. Deutschland fällt jedes Jahr in dieser Liste weiter zurück. Und diese Entwicklung hat einen klaren Grund.

Seitdem die Unionsparteien die Taktgeber in der Bundesregierung sind, erleben wir eine Zeit der politischen Blockade. Zudem erleben wir den Versuch eines gesellschaftlichen Rollbacks. Pegida, „besorgte Eltern“, die AFD, religiöse Fanatiker und Teile der Medien machen offen Front gegen ein selbstbestimmtes und sichtbares Leben von LSBT. Minderheiten werden von ihnen mit minderwertig gleichgesetzt. Gesellschaftliche Vielfalt ist eine gelebte Realität. Sie muss aber auch akzeptierte und sichtbare Realität in unserem Land werden. Allen Menschen und damit auch LSBT sollten ein selbstbestimmtes, gleichberechtigtes Leben in einer vielfältigen, freien, offenen und demokratischen Gesellschaft führen können.

Der (wieder) ansteigenden Homo- und Transphobie muss daher politisch und gesellschaftlich wirksam entgegen getreten werden. Dazu muss die Bundesregierung einen nationalen Aktionsplan gegen Homo- und Transphobie erstellen und dessen Umsetzung aktiv vorantreiben. Die schulische Beschäftigung mit LSBT ist ebenfalls ein fundamentaler Bestandteil von Demokratie- und Menschenrechtsbildung. Sowohl in Unterrichtsinhalten, Lernmitteln als auch im Schulalltag muss deutlich werden: LSBT sind Teil der gesellschaftlichen Vielfalt, sie sind gleichwertig und gleichberechtigt. Daher müssen in allen Bundesländern Bildungspläne für eine Pädagogik der Vielfalt verankert werden, die LSBT ausdrücklich benennen.

Die Zwei-Klassen-Gesellschaft bei Ehe und Familie muss beendet werden. Die Liebe zwischen zwei Männern oder zwei Frauen ist nicht weniger Wert als die Liebe zwischen Mann und Frau. Regenbogenfamilien sind nicht weniger Wert als andere Familienformen. Deshalb braucht es keine zwei Gesetze für die gleiche Sache. Die Öffnung der Ehe für gleichgeschlechtliche Paare ist längst überfällig!

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Another Aftershock in Nepal Today

Nepal was hit again today with another aftershock. We extend our best wishes to everyone affected by these earthquakes. We know the recovery will take a long time. We stand with you.

The Editors

May 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)