Asia Must be Alert to Rise in Anti-LGBT+ Rhetoric Ahead of Polls: Advocates
Reuters - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1/8/2019
Asian countries holding elections this year must be ready to protect the rights of LGBT+ communities ahead of a likely rise in anti-gay rhetoric by politicians, rights groups said on January 8, 2019. A number of countries across the region are set to go to the polls in 2019, including India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, and rights advocates fear lawmakers may try and appeal to conservative voters by targeting LGBT+ people. ‘Citizens in countries who do not respect or tolerate LGBTIQ people may see statements from politicians as a license to harm, abuse and discriminate,’ an activist said. Socially conservative attitudes on homosexuality prevail across Asia, where being LGBTQ is illegal in multiple countries. Recently, there have also been many attacks on gay couples in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Chinese Gay Dating App Blued Puts Hold on New Users Over HIV/AIDS Fears for Minors
South China Morning Post, China, 1/7/2019
Concerns have surfaced over minors’ access to mobile dating platforms with a popular Chinese gay dating app suspending registration of new users after a report that some underage users contracted HIV on dates set up via the app. Blued, which was launched in 2010 and now boasts 40 million registered users, said on January 6, 2019, that it would launch a ‘comprehensive content audit and regulation’, and crack down on texts, pictures and groups that involved minors, as well as underage users posing as adults. ‘Blued has always forbidden juveniles from logging on to and using the app,’ the company said in a statement. It added that it had used artificial intelligence to weed out pornographic content since last year, and vowed to further support HIV and AIDS prevention work.
Government Starts Process for Financial Inclusion of Sex Workers
The Times of India - New Delhi, India, 1/6/2019
In an important move, the Centre has set in motion the process to see how survivors of sex trafficking and those caught in commercial sexual exploitation (i.e, non-consensually forced into sex work) can be brought into the framework of ‘financial inclusion’. A high-level task force among other things will now study how banking facilities can reach this section of society and linkages forged to connect them to advantages of financial inclusion. The Ministry of Finance on January 2, 2019 issued a memorandum setting out the contours of the task force, which includes “working out the modalities” of such a financial inclusion. The first meeting of the task force is expected to be held next week.
Pakistani Minister Urges Global Push to Curb Child Sexual Abuse
Gulf News - Islamabad, Pakistan, 1/5/2019
Pakistani Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has called for a greater international cooperation to curb crimes related to child sexual abuse. In an interview on January 5, 2019, the Minister said that the child sexual abuse has become a serious issue in Pakistan, and requires serious attention. She also emphasised the importance of enacting more laws and rigidly implementing the existing laws relevant to child abuse. Currently, the maximum punishment for child abuse in Pakistan is life imprisonment, but the loopholes in the criminal justice system often cause low conviction rates. Mazari said that the country’s judiciary departments were in the process of forming criminal judicial reforms, and once they’re finalised, criminal case proceedings will no longer be unnecessarily stretched.
Activists Call for Legislation to Curb Child Sexual Abuse in Pakistan
Xinhua - Islamabad, Pakistan, 1/4/2019
Activists from children rights organisations on January 3, 2018, called on the government to form laws and expedite backlog of cases pertaining to child sex abuse and child pornography in Pakistan. Addressing a press conference, the activists lamented that child sexual abuse is becoming an organised crime in the country, and said that it should be addressed as a priority. Recently, the brutal rape and murder of a three-year-old girl, Faryal, in the country's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province sent shock waves to the whole country, making child rights activists and civil society to increase their demands for holistic legislation as well as the rigid implementation of existing relevant laws. The press conference was followed by a walk to seek justice for Faryal.