Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Global partnership is needed to end discrimination and violence against the worldwide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, a United Nations human rights expert has told an international conference in Bangkok, Thailand, outlining five key steps that should be taken.
“Resolute action is required to stop the violence and discrimination affecting not only LGBT communities but also the human rights defenders working with them,” said Vitit Muntarbhorn, the first-ever UN independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The five key steps are:
- lifting criminal laws that affect LGBT people;
- not seeing the community as suffering from a disorder;
- giving all people the right to have their gender identity recognized on official documents;
- working with different cultures and religions to ensure inclusive practices; and
- ensuring children grow up with the ability to empathize with people of different sexual orientation and gender identity.
Addressing the World Conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Mr. Muntarbhorn stressed that these five key goals – decriminalization, ‘depathologization,’ recognition of gender identity, cultural inclusion and ‘empathization’ – could only be delivered with a broad global partnership.
All people, he said, were invited to “open their hearts and minds to the beauty of diversity,” including in the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity.
He said it had been a “quantum leap” for the world community to create the new mandate, which he took up on 1 November 2016. He said the mandate would advance the commitment to “leave no one behind” in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Mr. Muntarbhorn said that human rights advocates working with LGBT people were also coming under attack, adding that despite progress made on advancing the rights of LGBT people, much remains to be done.
Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
ICJ rules that France Must Protect the Premises Presented as Housing the Diplomatic Mission of Equatorial Guinea in France
The International Court of Justice has ruled that France must guarantee the protection of the premises presented as housing the diplomatic mission of Equatorial Guinea in France.
In an order granting the request for an indication of provisional measures, the ICJ noted that Equatorial Guinea had filed suit against France in June 2016 with regard to a dispute concerning immunity from criminal prosecution of the Vice President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, and the legal status of the building that houses the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea at 42 avenue Foch in Paris. At the end of September, Equatorial Guinea asked the ICJ for the indication of provisional measures, asking specifically that France suspend all criminal proceedings against the Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, and that France treat the building at 42 avenue Foch in Paris as the diplomatic mission of Equatorial Guinea in France.
In the order issued today by the International Court of Justice, the court ruled unanimously that pending a final decision in the case, France should take all measures at its disposal to protect the premises at 42 avenue Foch equal to the protection under article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The ICJ also denied France's request to remove the case from the list of active cases.
Here is the U.N. Press Release about the order issued against France:
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has delivered its Order on the case concerning Immunities and Criminal Proceedings (Equatorial Guinea v. France) and the request by Equatorial Guinea to indicate provisional measures.
The Order indicates that France shall take “all measures at its disposal” to make sure that the premises presented as housing the diplomatic mission of Equatorial Guinea at 42 avenue Foch in Paris satisfy the required treatment outlined in Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Court also unanimously rejected the request of France to remove the case from the General List.
The Court recalled that, on 13 June 2016, Equatorial Guinea instituted proceedings against France with regard to a dispute concerning the immunity from criminal jurisdiction of the Vice-President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, and the legal status of the building which “houses the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea,” located at 42 avenue Foch in Paris.
In September 2016, Equatorial Guinea submitted a Request for the indication of provisional measures, asking the Court, inter alia, to order that France suspend all the criminal proceedings brought against the Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea; that France ensure that the building located at 42 avenue Foch in Paris is treated as premises of Equatorial Guinea's diplomatic mission in France and, in particular, assure its inviolability; and that France refrain from taking any other measure that might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the Court.
Established in 1945 under the UN Charter, the ICJ – widely referred to as the 'World Court' – settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by authorized UN organs or specialized agencies. ICJ Judgments are final and binding on the Parties involved in the legal disputes submitted to the Court.
Monday, December 5, 2016
The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that study-abroad options may end for thousands of undocumented students who have benefited from a policy that gave them temporary protection from deportation. President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") policy that permitted more than 740,000 immigrants to study and work in the United States on two-year renewable terms. DACA students could also study abroad and then return lawfully if they received "advance parole" from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If DACA is ended, however, the special status that would allow those students back into the United States might also end. Many colleges and universities, according to the Chronicle report, are advising DACA students to avoid study abroad programs and to return to the United States in January before Trump takes office.
There's more in the full story by Katherine Mangan, For Undocumented Students, Trump Adds New Risk to Study Abroad, Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 5, 2016.