News Archives

Malaysia Will Not Stop its Guests Based on Sexual Orientation: Tourism Ministry

Straits Times, Malaysia, 3/7/2019

Malaysia's Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi during a travel fair in Berlin, was asked whether Malaysia was safe for LGBTQ tourists. In response, he explained that there is no tourism campaign focused on the LGBTQ community in Malaysia, and added that there was no plan to hold such campaigns in the future. However, he clarified, ‘as a main tourism destination in Asia, Malaysia has never and will not do anything to stop our guests based on their sexual orientation, religion and cultural belief.’ Though Malaysia has witnessed a series of cases of violence against LGBTQ people in 2018, and the Tourism Minister’s statement has already come under fire from conservative Malaysian politicians.

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3-Judge Bench to Scan Conjugal Rights

The Telegraph, India, 3/6/2019

The Supreme Court has referred to a three-judge bench the question whether married couples can be compelled to have a conjugal relationship even if they are unwilling partners. Under existing laws spouses cannot deny each other such physical intimacy. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna on March 6, 2019, referred the matter to the larger bench for hearing next week following a petition that had challenged various laws governing conjugal relationship as “unconstitutional”. Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde who appeared for the petitioners - some students of the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar - said the plea raised a substantial question of law relating to privacy, particularly of women, in the light of what a nine-Judge constitution bench had ruled in 2017.

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HIV Spreads Through 'Premarital/Extramarital Sexual Contact', Says Kerala Textbook

The Wire - New Delhi, India, 3/5/2019

A Class X biology textbook in Kerala states that ‘premarital or extra marital sexual contact’ is one of the ways through which the HIV can be transmitted. The textbook identifies that HIV can be transmitted by sharing a needle or syringe used by AIDS patients, and sometimes through bodily fluids and from an HIV positive mother to the foetus. However, it specifically identifies only premarital or extramarital sexual contact as a way for the virus to spread, instead of unprotected sex with an HIV positive partner. The textbook, published by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), is the 2016 edition. After being called out, SCERT officials claimed that in the new edition (June 2019), the mistake would be corrected.

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Iran’s Regime Charges Woman With “Normalising Same-Sex Relations’

The Jerusalem Post, Iran, 3/4/2019

Iran’s judiciary charged a women’s rights activist with violating its national security because she sought to ‘normalise same-sex relations’ in a country that imposes capital punishment for homosexuality. The Iranian lesbian and transgender network group, 6rang, wrote on its website that Rezvaneh Mohammadi’s charges include ‘collusion against national security by normalising same-sex relations’ because of her advocacy of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. This case is one of many where the free speech of women’s rights activists is under threat. ‘Iran’s authorities think they can stop people from advocating for women’s rights by locking them up, but unlawful arrests will not silence the growing number of people who are standing up for women’s rights in Iran,’ said another rights activist.

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Saudi Arabia Women's Rights Activists to Face Trial, Prosecutors Say

NBC News, Saudi Arabia, 3/2/2019

Women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia who have been detained for nearly a year will be put on trial, the country's public prosecutor said late on March 1, 2019. The women are accused of coordinating activities that ‘aim to undermine the Kingdom's security, stability, and national unity,’ the prosecutor said in a statement released by the Saudi press agency. The women, ranging in age from their 20s to 70s, were arrested in May 2018, for protesting the patriarchal, oppressive Saudi regime. An investigation conducted by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International the previous year claimed that Saudi authorities tortured and sexually assaulted the detainees.

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