#MeToo: Nepal’s Women Speak Up
The Diplomat - Kathmandu, Nepal, 10/31/2018
As India’s #MeToo Movement continues to expand, the global movement has gathered momentum in Nepal too. Under the #MeToo hashtag, Nepali women who faced sexual assault and misconduct in the past are slowly and gradually coming out with their stories. One of the most high-profile accusations have been by two female journalists against Keshav Sthapit, a minister and party leader, of sexual harassment. Women rights activists are also encouraging more women to share their stories, and more revelations are likely in the future as the campaign gains momentum. But still, a large section of Nepali women who cannot access social media and English-language media are being relatively excluded from this global movement.
Tanzania: Anti-Gay Crackdown in Dar es Salaam
BBC, Tanzania, 10/31/2018
Paul Makonda, the Governor of Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam, has announced the creation of a surveillance squad dedicated to hunting down gay people, round-ups would begin the coming week. The team will apparently scrutinise social media in order to track down and arrest people in same sex relationships, Makonda said. Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, where anti-gay rhetoric has been on the rise since President John Magufuli's election in 2015. Many gay, lesbian and transgender people are forced to hide their sexuality as a result. Last year, the country's deputy health minister defended a threat to publish a list of gay people, effectively outing them against their consent. LGBTQ rights in Tanzania are under a constant threat.
Massive Taiwan Gay Pride Parade Pushes Key Referendum Vote
The Star, Taipei, 10/29/2018
On October 27, 2018, thousands took part in Taipei's Gay Pride parade – the biggest in Asia – ahead of a landmark upcoming vote on LGBTQ rights on the island. Taiwan's top court in May 2017 had legalised gay marriage, the first place in Asia to do so, and ruled its decision must be implemented within two years – but little has been done since then in terms of implementation. Therefore, anti-gay rights campaigners have mounted a referendum against allowing same-sex marriages, which will take place alongside local elections in November, in response to which, pro-LGBTQ groups are putting forward their own referendum in the favour of legitimising same-sex marriage. Thus, the theme of this year's march was to support these pro-gay rights referendums.
Protesters Burn Hindu Religious Center in Southern India
Washington Post - New Delhi, India, 10/27/2018
Protesters on October 27, 2018, set fire to a Hindu religious center in Southern India for supporting a Supreme Court decision allowing women of menstruating age at Sabarimala Temple, one of the world’s largest Hindu pilgrimage sites. Ever since the Supreme Court ruling, several religious groups have filed petitions against it, and the State Government says it has arrested about 2,000 people for blocking the entry of women ages 10-50 when the temple opened for prayers for five days. This incident is yet another means to condemn the progressive decision. The Supreme Court ruling has been a rare feminist victory in recent times, but it remains to be seen whether women entering the temple will continue to receive this kind of resistance.
Tax on Drinks to Raise Funds for HIV Treatment in Uganda
The Guardian, Uganda, 10/26/2018
Taxes levied on alcohol and soft drinks in Uganda will be used to fund the country’s HIV treatment programmes, in a move designed to make the country less reliant on donors. The Government believes $2.5m a year will be generated from the 2% total tax levies collected from alcoholic drinks, which will be channelled into a new HIV and AIDS trust fund (ATF). Provision for the fund was included in the HIV Prevention and Control Act, passed in 2014, but the regulations for its operation have only recently been passed. Activists welcomed news of the fund being operational, although the amount expected to be generated is still a fraction of what is needed to combat HIV and AIDS in the country.