Examples

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A list of all the examples used in the toolkit

Inside Story - Empowering young women through sport

Alison Carney

Alison is a football coach, social activist and freelance consultant who has been working with Sport & Development projects around the world since 2002. 

Football session in Burkina Faso

I began working with Sport in Development projects in 2002, when I was part of a partnership to start a soccer camp for girls from different religious and ethnic backgrounds.  Working in Bosnia between 2002 and 2008 I became hooked on the idea that sport held the potential to create space for social change, beyond just youth learning sport skills and playing a game.  I experienced a change in attitudes and in levels of openness in spite of persistent prejudice in the greater community around us.  Since 2002, I have been seeking out interesting and innovative projects to work with, especially on the topic of gender equality, and this search has taken me to different contexts and cities around the world.  In almost every single country I have worked, regardless of religion, cultural norms or political climate, at least one young woman has come out to me and shared her story.  Many of these young women tell me that they were only able to realise their sexuality and feel comfortable with themselves through playing sport.  Additionally, most of these women have told me that sport is where they meet other lesbians, either on a sports team or working at a S&D organisation.  Hearing these stories, and being invited into a space of trust by these young women, has had a great impact on me; especially in cases where we were living in a community and a country where homosexuality is illegal and frowned upon.  I also reflected on how so many of their experiences reflected my own experience with sport when I was younger.  This confirmed for me that, although it can be complicated, sport is a universal tool with great potential for social change and self-empowerment.  I realised that sport, in the cases of these women, is a liberating experience that creates a space for transgression of dominant sexual norms and gives them a community in which to express their sexuality and gender identity.

Unfortunately, none of the programmes I have worked with over the past 10 years explicitly address LGBTQI sexualities and gender identities through their curriculums or when talking about sexual health and bodies.  This omission by S&D practitioners seems odd and needs to change because in my work with S&D projects I found that experiences of sexuality and empowerment through sport, for lesbians in particular, are widespread. I think there is great potential to expand this platform to work with youth, including LGBTQI youth, and to talk about sexual diversity and sexual rights. This would also help to raise the visibility of LGBTQI youth in general.   

Demystifying Lawyers: Advice for Activists

By Adrian Jjuuko

I regard myself first as an activist before regarding myself as a lawyer. This is despite my qualifications in law which include a LLM degree, the Bar Course and an LLB. I am also very much aware that many other people would describe me only as a lawyer, and may not regard me as an activist at all. The reason why I self-identify this way is because for the past five years, I have dedicated my life to the realisation of the rights of LGBTI persons in Uganda and I have perhaps done more ‘activist’ work than strictly legal work during this period of time. I have filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of a law that discriminates against marginalised groups in Uganda, not as the lawyer but rather as the petitioner; I founded the only legal aid clinic dedicated to providing services to LGBTI persons in Uganda (though I perhaps do more of coordinating its work than doing the actual representation); I coordinated the Civil Society efforts to oppose the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 in Uganda which saw the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law win the US State Department’s Human Rights Defenders Award 2011; and I have appeared before parliament to testify against the Bill, as well as speak out in the media. Therefore, though I am lawyer by profession, I rarely go to court, although admittedly, I approach issues as a lawyer would - what are the facts, what is the applicable law, what is the remedy, and how do we get it.

There seems to be tensions between lawyers and activists. Activists usually want immediate action that bares immediate results and sometimes may resort to unlawful means to do that. Lawyers on the other hand, tend to stick to procedure and the law and like to strategise for every move they make. For this reason, activists usually disagree with lawyers on how to move forward and this is what causes the apparent tensions. However, since the law is a key factor in achieving equal rights and social justice, and lawyers are schooled in the law, they play an important part in the process.

Law is all pervasive

“Our lives are ordered by law. In fact law is all pervasive. Every activity we undertake is shaped by some law or other. For instance, as individuals heading off to school or work we may ride in a vehicle on roads governed by legislation that prescribes who can drive the vehicle, how fast the vehicle can travel, and perhaps how many people can be carried in the vehicle. If we take a bus or train, then legislation dealing with public transport applies. We enter into a contract with the provider of the service and there are laws on how we as travellers should conduct ourselves. It is possible that the law of negligence may be invoked if, either we or the provider of the service, fail to act responsibly and someone is hurt”

Source: Corbin, L.The Role of Statutory Interpretation in Law Making Through the Courts

An example of discrimination in the United States of America

In the USA a dentist that required a patient with HIV to schedule all future appointments as the last appointment of the day was found to have unlawfully discriminated against the patient by failing to offer him the same options as it offered to other people.

Under the settlement the defendant must pay damages, train its staff on the Anti-Discrimination Act and develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy.

Source http://blog.aids.gov/2013/02/justice-department-settles-three-hiv-discrimination-cases.html#sthash.QCqPsvDT.dpuf.

A definition of discrimination against women

The Convention to End Discrimination Against Women (article 1) contains a detailed legal definition of discrimination against women as:

“any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field”.

An example of discrimination from the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, Article 137c, part 1 of Wetboek van Strafrecht prohibits insults towards a group because of its race, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability in public, or by speech, by writing or by a picture.

In 2011 Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for other countries to also enact law that bans sexual orientation discrimination.

The case of Roger Jean-Claude Mbede who was imprisoned in Cameroon

Gay prisoner Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, 34, died after he was barred from receiving medical assistance by his family, according to Alice Nkom, a lawyer who worked on the case. Mbede was jailed in 2011 and sentenced to three years after he had sent a text message to a man reading, “I am very much in love with you”. Source: International Business Times

To read more about the case of Roger Jean-Claude Mbede see 76Crimes and the Allout websites

Image courtesy of All Out (www.allout.org)

Court cases relating to prison injustices in the US

A US court ruled that a gay former prisoner may sue prison officials for failure to protect him during 'a horrific eighteen-month period of incarceration during which the defendant prison officials failed to protect him from prison gangs who repeatedly raped him and bought and sold him as a sexual slave.' Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503, 512 (5th Cir. 2004).

A gay prisoner in California brought suit after he was removed from protective custody and promptly assaulted with a knife. He alleged he was transferred to the general population as part of an effort to intimidate him into not complaining about an earlier body cavity search during which a prison guard said to him, 'I know where you faggots keep your shit’ [and] then proceeded to thrust one or more of his fingers or thumb up Plaintiff’s anus to search for drugs.' Gonzalez v. City of Fresno, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60630, *4 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 7, 2007).

Different models of public prosecutors

In Brazil the public prosecutors form a body of autonomous magistrates - the Ministério Público.
Its job is to promote justice and as such, they are reposnsible for bring cases to trial and if during the trial they become convinced of a defendant's innocence, for requesting the judge acquit the defendant.

In Japan prosecutors direct police investigations, investigate directly and decide whether to prosecute or not.
High-ranking officials of the Ministry of Justice are largely prosecutors. Prosecutor's offices generally have the last word on whether criminal offenses will or will not be charged.

In the People's Republic of China the position of Procurator is analogous to both detective and public prosecutor.
Legally, they are bound by Public Procurators' Law of the People's Republic of China. According to Article 6, the functions and duties of public procurators are as follows:

  1. Supervise the enforcement of laws according to law.
  2. Public prosecution on behalf of the State.
  3. Investigate criminal cases directly accepted by the People's Procuratorates as provided by law.
  4. Other functions and duties as provided by law.

Source: Website of the Supreme People's Procuratorate http://www.spp.gov.cn.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's condemnation of anti-gay laws

'Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are targeted, assaulted and sometimes killed. Children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their own families, forced into marriage (…) and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide.

'LGB & T people suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity at work, at clinics and hospitals, and in schools – the very places that should protect them (…)

'Let me say this loud and clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They, too, are born free and equal. I stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.'

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General, 11 December 2012.

Stonewall's summary of homosexuality laws

  • Homosexuality is illegal for men in 76 countries across the world and being a lesbian is illegal in 49.
  • In five countries same-sex activity carries the death penalty. Even where it’s legal to be gay other laws often stand in the way of equality.
  • In some cases gay pride marches are not allowed and neither is literature that ‘promotes homosexuality’ - which can include health information or literature that simply states the existence of homosexuality.

UK LGB&T rights organisation Stonewall works internationally to promote different voices from communities around the world to end this persecution. It lobbies the UK Government and European Union to do all they can through their diplomacy and international aid programmes to support gay equality globally and supports LGB&T activists who are fighting for their rights and risking their lives. Read more about Stonewall

The legal challenge to Section 377 in India

In India the Lawyers Collective and the Naz Foundation challenged Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexual conduct.

In July 2009, the Delhi High Court announced that Section 377 should be interpreted to exclude consensual sex between adults. The reasoning was that criminalisation of consensual sexual conduct violates Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.

However that judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court of India on 11 December 2013. The Court held that amending or repealing Section 377 should be a matter left to parliament, not the judiciary.

Namibian court ruling on right of women living with HIV

Three women living with HIV in Namibia were told they could have a caesarean section (reducing the chances of passing the HIV virus on to their children) only if they agreed to be sterilised at the same time.

The Namibian High Court granted a partial victory for these women by confirming that the human rights of these women were violated when they were coerced into being sterilised while they gave birth.

Source:
LM and Others v. Government of the Republic of Namibia, High Court of Namibia

Transgender rights in Nepal

The rights of transgender people were recognised in a landmark Supreme Court case in Nepal in 2007. The evidence presented showed that transgendered people (called 'meti') were targeted by police and others for their non-conforming gender expression and identity. Because metis were routinely denied citizenship cards, they did not have access to a range of entitlements and benefits that such cards conferred.

The court ordered that metis be given identity documents that recognised their gender status as 'third gender.' It also ordered protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity be enshrined in the new Constitution saying that it is the 'responsibility of the State to create the appropriate environment and make legal provisions accordingly for the enjoyment of such rights'.

Read our Case study on transgender rights in Negal.

Source:
Sunil Babu Pant v. Government of Nepal, Supreme Court of Nepal. December 2007.

Discrimination against transgender people in Health Services

A transgender woman in South Africa described going to a clinic to get post-exposure prophylaxis after being raped by a client who discovered that she was transgender.

The clinic nurse told her to leave and come back when she was not wearing women’s clothing. The transgender woman was so traumatised that she never returned. She later tested HIV-positive.

Source:
Submission made by Transgender Sex Workers, Cape Town, for Gender DynamiX, South Africa, for the Africa Dialogue of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

Is there a right to choose how to dress?

Cross-dressing laws may violate human rights in several ways. One's choice of attire may be described as an expression of individual liberty and autonomy, or an expressive statement protected under the right to freedom of expression. Cross-dressing may also be considered an element of trans identity protected under non-discrimination and equality guarantees.

Early cases, however, dealt with the textual vagueness of laws that criminalised dressing in clothing of the opposite sex.

How Sudan, Nigeria and Guyana criminalise cross-dressing

In Sudan, laws prohibiting indecent or immoral dress have been used to punish men who wear women’s clothes as well as women who wear trousers and male models who wear make-up.

In Nigeria, laws on indecent dress have been used to fine and imprison cross-dressing men.

In Guyana, it is a crime if 'a man, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in female attire, or being a woman, in any public way or public place, for any improper purpose, appears in male attire'. (After a series of arrests transgender activists are challenging the constitutional validity of this law)

Why we should distinguish sex trafficking from Sex Work

It is critical to distinguish sex work from sexual trafficking – which is a gross human rights violation involving coercion, violence or threat.

Merging the two terms not only denies sex workers their right to self-determination and agency, ignores their realities, and endangers those engaged in it, but also risks making types of trafficking (other than sexual) invisible and thus leaves victims of non-sexual trafficking without proper protection.

Such confusion also produces ineffective legal and health interventions such as 'raid and rescue' of un-trafficked sex workers, whose livelihoods, associations, and safety nets are torn apart by the raids.

Source:
The International Council on Human Rights Policy

The case of the “Lucknow four” and the misuse of pornography law

In July 2001, police in Lucknow, India raided the offices of the Naz Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) providing HIV/AIDS prevention and care to men who have sex with men. They seized material, including educational brochures, videos, and condoms and accused staff of spreading gay culture throughout Lucknow.

Four staff were charged with multiple offences including

  • conspiring to commit sodomy under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code;
  • Section 292 (sale of obscene books),
  • Sections 3 and 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (prohibition of advertisements or publication containing indecent representation of women); and
  • Section 60 of the Copyright Act, 1957. 

Charges were eventually dropped but not before the four men suffered detention with beatings and abuse.

Read more information about this case

World Health Organisation's document on legal cases relating to the right to health


The World Health Organization's Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establish health as a human right. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights specifies that the right to health includes the right to emergency care and the right to health facilities, goods and services. Authoritative comments by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have specified that the right to health facilities, goods and services includes the provision of essential medicines as defined by the World Health Organization. States parties to the Covenant are under immediate obligation to guarantee that the right to health will be exercised without discrimination and to take deliberate and concrete steps towards its full realization, with emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized groups.

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