News from the Global South

Indian Police Question Suspects in Telangana Rape and Murder Case

Aljazeera, India, 11/30/2019

On November 29, 2019, the police detained four suspects after finding the burned body of Dr. Priyanka Reddy, a 27-year-old veterinarian who was raped and murdered in Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana. She had gone missing and her body had been discovered on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Police said the suspects offered to fix a flat tyre on her motorbike and then took her to a secluded spot where the crime was committed. She had made a last phone call to her sister to say her bike had broken down and stated her distress in that situation. While the government has passed a series of laws increasing punishment for rape, cases of sexual violence are prevalent, and often go unreported.

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Indonesian Gymnast Dropped After Told ‘She’s No Longer a Virgin’

Reuters - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 11/29/2019

An Indonesian female gymnast training for the Southeast Asian Games was dismissed and sent home on grounds that she was not a virgin. Indonesia’s sports ministry claimed the dismissal was due to performance and disciplinary issues, but the gymnast’s family rejected doubts over her performance. Shalfa Avrila Sania, 17, had been due to leave for the biennial Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines on November 26, 2019, until she was dismissed from the training in mid-November. Sania’s family sent a letter to the ministry to protest her dismissal, according to their lawyer. Human rights groups have previously opposed ‘virginity tests’ on Indonesian women seeking to join the police or military and on students in Indonesian schools, saying the practice was unscientific and degrading.

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Stop Transgender Bill: Community Activists Say it Violates Their Rights

India Today - New Delhi, India, 11/28/2019

People from the transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming communities on November 27, 2019, staged a protest against the passage of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill. The activists from the community have alleged that the bill violated their rights instead of empowering them. ‘We request the President not to sign this bill. It treats us as non-equals and violates some of our fundamental individual rights,’ said one activist at the press conference organised on November 27, 2019. ‘This bill puts all people into one binary. We want comprehensive legislation,’ said another activist. During the course of the protest, activists and members of the trans community also raised the demand for reservation in education and employment in the bill that must be open to transgender people beyond existing binaries.

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47 Nigerian Men Plead Not Guilty to Homosexuality Charge

Reuters - Lagos, Nigeria, 11/27/2019

Forty-seven Nigerian men pleaded innocent on November 27, 2019, to a charge of public displays of same-sex affection, an offence that carries a 10-year jail term. The Nigerian men, who appeared at a court in Lagos, were among 57 arrested in a police raid on a hotel in the Egbeda district in 2018. The trial is a test case for a law banning gay marriage, punishable by a 14-year jail term, and same-sex ‘amorous relationships’. It had caused international outcry when it came into force. Nobody has yet been convicted under the law, but Human Rights Watch and other activists say it has been used to extort bribes from suspects in exchange for not pursuing charges. The case has been adjourned until Dec. 11, 2019.

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Rajya Sabha Passes Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

Livemint - New Delhi, India, 11/26/2019

The Rajya Sabha on November 26, 2019, passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 by voice vote, despite ongoing protests against the bill and heavy criticism of it from the transgender community and rights activists. Though Tiruchi Siva, a Rajya Sabha MP pushed for sending the bill to a select committee, so that its regressive provisions could be reviewed and made more comprehensive, the bill has still passed in the upper house as is. Among its many shortcomings, the trans bill, despite claiming to ‘protect’ the rights of trans people, denies them the right to self-identification, fails to recognise family structures beyond the natal family, and fails to adequately address the gender-based violence and discrimination trans people face.

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