April 10, 2015
December 10, 2014
A young medic took his own life two days after his family told him to find a "cure" for his sexuality, his devastated fiance has told Sky News.
April 16, 2014
The United Nations Human Rights office has condemned a revised penal code in Brunei which calls for the death penalty for numerous offenses, including same-sex sexual activity, and introduces stoning to death as the specific method of execution for crimes of a sexual nature.
Brunei, a predominately Muslim state in Southeast Asia where homosexuality has long been criminalized, will implement a set of extreme Sharia laws that demand death by stoning for homosexual acts, adultery, rape, murder, and for declaring oneself to be a non-Muslim.
The law comes into effect on April 22.
“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“We urge the Government to delay the entry into force of the revised penal code and to conduct a comprehensive review ensuring its compliance with international human rights standards,” he told a news conference in Geneva.
“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,” stated Colville.
The criminalization and application of the death penalty for consensual relations between adults in private also violates a whole host of rights, including the rights to privacy, to equality before the law, the right to health and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, Colville added.
The provisions of the revised penal code may also encourage further violence and discrimination against LGBT people, he warned.
October 11, 2013
Most of the attention paid to the U.S. pivot to Asia has focused on economics and security, primarily through the lens of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the U.S. military’s presence throughout the region. However, policymakers are turning their focus to issues of governance in Asia, understanding that strong support for democracy and human rights is central to U.S. interests abroad. Earlier this year, representatives from the U.S. State Department mentioned both Internet freedom and gay rights in their testimony on Asia policy to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. This is an important first step, but as the United States continues to push forward on these issues, it needs to ensure that it recognizes the nuances of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political life in Asian countries.
by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
August 19, 2013
A multimillion-dollar deal to provide ski lifts for a resort in North Korea has been cancelled, after Switzerland's government decided the plan violated U.N. sanctions forbidding the export of luxury items to the country.
Those sanctions were strengthened in March, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went ahead with nuclear weapons tests. The prohibitions bar the export of technical equipment that could bolster a weapons program, as wall as "luxury goods such as jewelry with pearls and race cars," as the U.N.'s news agency announced earlier this year.
The proposed deal was worth some $7.55 million, according to Swiss news site The Local, which reports that the Swiss company in question was disappointed that the deal was nixed. More from the site:
"The [State Secretariat for Economic Affairs] said the planned luxury ski resort is being built for 'prestige and for propaganda' purposes of Kim's regime.
"According to a spokesman from the secretariat, it was inconceivable to imagine an ordinary North Korean citizen using the resort's facilities."
Many see the ski resort project as part of North Korea's plan to boost tourism in the country. Kim Jong Un recently visited the site of the planned ski resort, where he praised the army for its construction efforts.
"It is thought [Kim Jong Un] learned to ski in Bern, where he attended secondary school without revealing his true identity," reports the BBC, which adds that French and Austrian ski-lift companies have turned down similar deals.
The North Korean leader was in the news last week, when a state news agency reported that he visited a factory making a smartphone, labeled the Arirang. As the AP reported, the claims were met with skepticism by industry analysts, some of whom said the phones had likely been assembled in China.
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