News from the Global South

South Africa in a Crisis of Violence Against Women, Says President

The Guardian, South Africa, 9/7/2019

The South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has admitted the country is facing a national crisis of violence against women as women’s rights protesters took to the streets for a third successive day. Ramaphosa addressed the nation on September 6, 2019 with a plan of action to curb gender-based violence, claiming that laws would be reviewed in parliament imminently. Ramaphosa has also promised 11 new courts, a review on cold cases and harsher penalties for perpetrators. A national plan to curb gender-based violence will also be implemented in school programmes, workplace policies and community initiatives. This comes as a response to the growing number of cases of violence against women, including multiple cases of rape, molestation, kidnapping and murder.

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Trans Chinese Teens Forced into 'Conversion Therapy' - Study

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur, 9/6/2019

Trans teenagers in China face abuse at home and bullying at school, with almost one in five forced into conversion therapies, according to a survey released on September 6, 2019. The researchers called for the widely discredited therapy - be it hypnosis or electric shocks - to be outlawed, saying transgender youths in China face a ‘hostile’ environment. The online survey questioned 385 people aged from 12 to 18 who are transgender or are gender non-conforming. It was conducted by the Beijing LGBT Center and analysed by researchers at Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University. It found that 17% of respondents had been coerced or forced to undergo conversion therapy, 45% were at risk of major depressive disorder and 51% experienced suicidal thoughts.

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Transgender Women Face Systemic Discrimination in Lebanon: HRW

Al Jazeera, Lebanon, 9/4/2019

Transgender women face "systemic discrimination" in various aspects of life in Lebanon, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which called on parliament to pass anti-discrimination law. The rights group said in its report, published on September 3, 2019, that transgender women face ‘systemic discrimination in education, employment, housing, and the provision of healthcare’ in the country. The report is based on 50 interviews with Lebanese trans women and transgender refugees and asylum seekers from other countries in the Middle East - all of whom reside in Lebanon. This discrimination is exacerbated by a lack of resources ‘tailored for trans people's needs’ and by their ‘difficulty in obtaining identification documents that reflect their gender identity and expression,’ the report said.

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Women in Live-In Relationships Are Like Concubines: Rajasthan Human Rights Body

India Today - New Delhi, India, 9/4/2019

The Rajasthan Human Rights Commission (HRC) on September 4, 2019, issued an order asking the state government and the Centre to ‘prohibit’ the practice of live-in relationships. A bench of the Rajasthan Human Rights Commission went so far as to claim that women who opt for live-in relationships are like ‘concubines’. The order in this regard was passed by Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma and Justice Prakash Tantia who cited various Supreme Court decisions for the same. The bench totally disregarded the consent of women who seek out live-in relationships and implied that women could only be “conditioned” into living with a man outside of marriage, stating that this was against their basic human rights as mentioned in Article 21 of the Constitution.

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Top Philippine Court Refuses to Legalise Gay Marriage

The Jakarta Post, Philippines, 9/3/2019

A landmark case to legalise gay marriage was rejected by the Philippines' highest court on September 3, 2019, but LGBTQ advocates in the nation vowed to continue their battle in legislative institutions. Government lawyers argued that since plaintiff Jesus Falcis had never tried to get married, he would not benefit if justices struck down the portions of the 1987 law defining marriage as between a man and woman. Though the Philippines has a reputation for being accepting of same-sex relationships, very few legal protections exist for LGBTQ people. Despite its decision, the court noted that the ‘constitution does not…restrict, marriage on the basis of... sexual orientation, or gender identity’ and went on to say that the issue of same-sex unions could be referred to the Congress.

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