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World News
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Rex Wockner

This article shared 1865 times since Wed Dec 23, 2009
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Honduran gay leader, resistance fighter assassinated

Well-known Honduran gay activist Walter Trochez was murdered in a drive-by shooting Dec. 14 in Tegucigalpa. He was 27.

Trochez was an active member of the resistance front against June's coup d'état and, on Dec. 4, had been kidnapped, beaten, interrogated about the resistance, threatened with death, and told to cease his activism.

The four kidnappers, whose clutches he managed to escape after several hours, wore hoods and drove a truck without license plates. They were probably government agents, multiple sources said. Police officials denied any involvement.

"Even if you give us the information, we're going to kill you," the kidnappers told him. "We have orders to kill you."

In his role with the Resistencia Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado, Trochez had been documenting and publicizing homophobic killings and crimes believed to be committed by the forces behind the coup, as well as general human-rights violations committed during anti-coup protest marches.

He had recently published an article titled "Increase in hate crimes and homophobia toward LGTB as a result of the civic-religious-military coup in Honduras."

The article said, in part: "It is worth stating that the explicit support of the church in Honduras for the military coup of June 28, 2009, prevented holding a referendum organized by the legitimate constitutional government, while it put dictator Roberto Micheletti in power. ... Once again we say it is NOT ACCEPTABLE that in these past four months, during such a short period, nine transsexual and gay friends were violently killed, six in San Pedro Sula and three in Tegucigalpa. ... As a revolutionary, I will always defend my people, even if it takes my life."

"The murder of Walter Trochez must be investigated immediately and those responsible brought to justice," said Kerrie Howard, Amnesty International's Americas deputy director.

"Amnesty International fears that Walter's killing may be a sign of worse abuses to come in the atmosphere of political instability and fear that has prevailed since the coup d'état in June. ... The de facto authorities must ensure all reports of reprisals against protesters and campaigners are fully investigated and subject to the full weight of the law."

Human Rights Watch called Trochez's murder "part of a pattern of violence against LGBT people in Honduras that seems to have accelerated in the turbulent months since the June 28 coup."

"The mounting violence against people who look or love differently in Honduras reflects a crisis of intolerance," said HRW researcher Juliana Cano Nieto.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said Dec. 17 that Trochez's death was "the 16th known murder in the Honduran LGBT community since the military coup."

"The human rights of people in all sectors of Honduran society are being systematically violated as the direct result of the military coup.

However, the accelerated rate at which LGBT people have been killed in the last five months suggests a targeted pattern of violence," the group said.

UK registrars cannot shun civil partnerships

England's Court of Appeal ruled Dec. 15 that a Christian marriage registrar who was disciplined for refusing to register gay civil partnerships was not a victim of religious discrimination. Lillian Ladele also had claimed that local authorities in the London borough of Islington shunned and ridiculed her because of her religious convictions.

She quit her job at Islington Council in September.

Ladele initially won her case before the Central London Employment Tribunal, but the decision was overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and that ruling now has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The court said "the requirements of a modern liberal democracy, such as the United Kingdom, include outlawing discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on grounds of sexual orientation, subject only to very limited exceptions."

Ladele plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Gays blocked from fielding candidate in Philippine election

The Philippines Commission on Elections on Dec. 17 upheld its earlier decision to block the LGBT group Ang Ladlad from registering as a political party and fielding a candidate for Congress in the May national election.

The vote by the full commission to uphold the decision by a smaller group

of commissioners was 4-3.

It is "crystal clear," the commission said, "that ( Ang Ladlad ) tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs."

"Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith," the ruling stated.

According to ABS-CBN News, the ruling also quoted the Bible and the Koran as calling homosexuality "unseemly" and "transgressive."

Ang Ladlad said it will appeal the rejection to the nation's Supreme Court.

Quebec government launches battle against homophobia

The Canadian province of Quebec launched an official campaign against homophobia Dec. 11.

"By its gesture this morning, Quebec society demonstrates once again that it is in the vanguard in terms of the rights of sexual minorities," said Kathleen Weil, who is the provincial justice minister, attorney general and minister responsible for the fight against homophobia.

"La Politique québécoise de lutte contre l'homophobie" will recognize the realities of sexual minorities; promote respect for their rights; "foster their well-being, notably in offering services adapted to their needs"; and "ensure concerted action by all social actors in the fight against homophobia."

"Whether this translates into action on a large scale or simple gestures in everyday life, I am convinced that each of our actions to counter homophobia will move Quebec toward a society that is more just, more tolerant, and richer in its diversity," Weil said.

In a posting on its Web site, the Justice Ministry said the new campaign is just one element "in a broader strategy leading to the full and complete recognition of sexual minorities, institutional and community support for sexual minorities, and improved knowledge about sexual diversity."

Assistance: Bill Kelley

This article shared 1865 times since Wed Dec 23, 2009
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