Author Archives: Andreas R. Ziegler

USA: Florida House passes bill prohibiting transgender student athletes from female designated teams and sports

USA: Florida House passes bill prohibiting transgender student athletes from female designated teams and sports

The Florida House of Representatives passed HB 1475 Bill on Wednesday, requiring public institutions to designate athletic teams and sports based on “biological sex.”

The bill, which passed the House with a vote of 77-40, inserts Section 1006.205, titled “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” into Chapter 1006 of the Florida Statutes 2018. This, in effect, bans the participation of transgender female athletes either as part of an athletic team designated as a “female team” or in any sport designated as a “female sport.”

The insertion requires the designation of athletic teams and sports based on biological sex into one of the following three categories: males, men, or boys; females, women, or girls; or coed or mixed. It states that the athletic teams and sports “designated for females, women, or girls, may not be open to students of the male sex.” In its move to designate sex-specific athletic teams and sports and with the intent “to maintain [equal] opportunities for female athletes,” the bill allows physical examination of a student’s reproductive anatomy, genetic makeup or testosterone levels, should there arise any dispute regarding a student’s sex.

Kara Gloss from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida reacting to the vote stated:

Transgender athletes have the right to participate in school sports. They have a right to find a sense of belonging and to be part of a team . . . [the bill compromises] the health, social and emotional development, and safety of trans students. If passed into law, [it] would alienate trans students, embolden discriminatory behaviors from staff and other students and make for hostile school environments.

The bill is now pending approval from the Florida Senate. If approved by the Senate and subsequently signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, it would take effect on July 1, 2021.

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I look forward to teaching the first course on “Sexuality, Gender Identity and International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law” as a visiting professor at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law — Andreas R. Ziegler

I am looking forwards to teaching the first course on Sexuality, Gender Identity and International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law as a visiting professor at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com Next Tuesday the course will start in the framework of the LLM in […]

I am looking forwards to teaching the first course on “Sexuality, Gender Identity and International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law” as a visiting professor at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law — Andreas R. Ziegler

Cameroon security forces cracking down on LGBT people, Human Rights Watch says

Cameroon security forces cracking down on LGBT people, Human Rights Watch says

Photo by Kreative Kwame on Pexels.com

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday said that Cameroonian security forces, in a crackdown on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, have threatened, arrested, and assaulted at least 24 since February.

Among the arrested persons, at least one has been subjected to HIV testing and anal examination. Both the Cameroonian Penal Code and the Law Relating to Cybersecurity and Cybercriminality criminalize homosexual acts and propositions. Under section 347-1 of the penal code, sexual relations between people of the same sex are penalized with six months to five years of imprisonment and payment of a fine.

According to Cameroonian non-governmental organizations, there has been increased police action against LGBT people in the country. On February 24, the police invaded a center that provides HIV prevention and treatment services, and arrested 17 people, who were accused of homosexuality, including center staff. One of those arrested, a 22-year-old transgender woman, said, “Police told us we are devils, not humans, not normal. They beat a trans woman in the face, slapped her twice in front of me.”

There have also been instances where prosecutors have introduced medical evidence from forced anal examinations, which have led to increased convictions based on homosexual conduct.

HRW documented two additional arrests in 2021 and one mass arrest in 2020. In Bertoua, on February 14, gendarmes arrested 12 youths, including at least one teenager, on homosexuality charges, and subjected them to ill-treatment before releasing them the same day. On February 8, gendarmes arbitrarily arrested two transgender women in Douala, targeting them in the street based on their gender expression. They were charged with homosexual conduct, lack of identity cards, and public indecency. In May, the police in Bafoussam arrested 53 people on homosexuality charges at a hotel gathering hosted by an LGBT organization, and subjected at least 6, including minors, to forced anal examinations and HIV tests.

“These recent arrests and abuses raise serious concerns about a new upsurge in anti-LGBT persecution in Cameroon,” said Neela Ghoshal, HRW’s associate LGBT rights director. “The law criminalizing same-sex conduct puts LGBT people at a heightened risk of being mistreated, tortured, and assaulted without any consequences for the abusers.”

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights provides for non-discrimination and equality before the law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Cameroon is a party, also protects the rights to equality, non-discrimination, and privacy.

HRW shared its findings with the relevant Cameroonian government officials but is yet to receive a response.

The post Cameroon security forces cracking down on LGBT people, Human Rights Watch says appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

German Constitutional Court hears case regarding presumption of parenthood of non-biological second mother

German Constitutional Court hears case regarding presumption of parenthood of non-biological second mother

Mutter, Mutter, Kind?!

by Berit Völzmann (https://verfassungsblog.de/mutter-mutter-kind/)

Es geht ein Ruck durch das Abstammungsrecht. Gleich zwei Gerichte haben am 24. März 2021 dem Bundesverfassungsgericht die Frage vorgelegt, ob das geltende, mehrheitlich biologistisch verstandene Abstammungsrecht mit dem Grundgesetz vereinbar ist. Beide Fälle betreffen die rechtliche Elternschaft zweier miteinander verheirateter Frauen, deren Kind mittels anonymer Samenspende gezeugt wurde – und könnten der Auftakt für ein grundlegendes Umdenken rechtlicher Elternschaft sein.

Mutter, VATER, Kind

Wird ein Kind in eine Ehe hinein geboren, so werden die Eheleute Eltern des Kindes (vgl. §§ 1591, 1592 Nr. 1 BGB). Voraussetzung dafür ist jedoch, dass es sich bei den Eheleuten um eine Frau und einen Mann handelt (§ 1592 Nr. 1 BGB). Ist die gebärende Frau mit einer nicht-männlichen Person verheiratet (Geschlechtseintrag weiblich, divers oder ohne Geschlechtseintrag), erhält das Kind nicht automatisch bei Geburt zwei Elternteile, sondern nur einen: die gebärende Person (Mutter nach § 1591 BGB). Der zweite Elternteil ist für die Begründung der rechtlichen Elternschaft auf die Stiefkindadoption verwiesen – ein Verfahren, bei dem die gesamte Familie einer umfassenden behördlichen und gerichtlichen Prüfung unterzogen wird und das zudem frühestens sechs Monate nach Geburt des Kindes begonnen werden kann. Dies hat der BGH zuletzt 2018 bestätigt. Deutschlandweit stellen das nun mehrere Familien gerichtlich in Frage: Sie fordern Rechtssicherheit für sich und ihre Kinder und halten den Zwang zur Durchführung eines Adoptionsverfahrens für diskriminierend und unzumutbar.

Zwei Gerichte haben sich nun (im Ergebnis) der Argumentation der Antragsstellerinnen angeschlossen und damit ausdrücklich gegen die Auffassung des BGH gestellt: Sie halten die zivilrechtlichen Abstammungsregelungen für verfassungswidrig und haben die Fälle dem Bundesverfassungsgericht vorgelegt. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommen sie mit unterschiedlicher Begründung – einmal im Schwerpunkt freiheits- und einmal ausschließlich gleichheitsrechtlich.

Verletzung des Elternrechts, Art. 6 Abs. 2 Satz 1 GG

Der 21. Zivilsenat des Oberlandesgerichts Celle (Az. 21 UF 146/20) argumentiert, dass die fehlende gesetzliche Regelung einer „Mit-Mutterschaft“ die mit der Geburtsmutter verheiratete Ehefrau in ihrem verfassungsrechtlich geschützten Elternrecht aus Art. 6 Abs. 2 Satz 1 GG verletzt. Das Recht und die Pflicht zur Pflege und Erziehung der Kinder beruhe nach der Rechtsprechung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts darauf, dass die Eltern dem Kind das Leben gegeben haben und ihm sozial und familiär verbunden sind. Diese grundlegenden Begründungselemente zum Elternrecht ließen sich ohne Weiteres auf gleichgeschlechtliche Ehegatten und Partner*innen übertragen, die ein Kind mit den Methoden der Reproduktionsmedizin empfangen haben. Elterliche Rechte und Pflichten ergeben sich daher nach der Ansicht des Senats nicht nur für leibliche Eltern, sondern – in Fällen der Zeugung des Kindes im Wege einer anonymen Keimzellenspende – auch für die Partnerin der Mutter (Rn. 91). Entscheidend sei, dass auch diese im Einverständnis mit der Mutter für das aus der künstlichen Befruchtung hervorgehende Kind dauerhaft und unauflöslich Verantwortung übernehmen wolle. Neben der Samenspende seien auch der gemeinsame Entschluss und die Erklärungen beider Partnerinnen im Rahmen der medizinisch unterstützten Fortpflanzung notwendige Voraussetzung dafür, dass neues Leben entsteht. Dies begründe die Verpflichtung gegenüber dem Kind und damit zugleich das Recht, die Pflege und Erziehung des Kindes wahrnehmen zu können (Rn. 93). Zusammengefasst in den Worten des Senats: „Wie für leibliche Eltern gilt auch für die Wunscheltern, dass gerade ihnen das Wohl des Kindes mehr am Herzen liegt als irgendeiner anderen Person, einschließlich der Spendereltern […].“ (Rn. 94).

Der Senat sieht hinsichtlich des verfassungsrechtlichen Elternrechts die biologischen Zusammenhänge durch die Möglichkeiten und Entwicklungen der Fortpflanzungsmedizin weitgehend zurücktreten und die funktionalen Elemente an Bedeutung gewinnen. Eine gleichgeschlechtliche Elternschaft sei dann durch Art. 6 Abs. 2 Satz 1 GG geschützt und eine zweite Frau „gleichsam […] natürliche Mutter“, wenn angesichts der faktischen Verbindung mit dem Kind, des Willens zur dauerhaften Verantwortungsübernahme und der Verbundenheit zur Austragenden die dauerhafte Übernahme der Elternfunktion zu erwarten sei (Rn. 98). Den Weg zur Begründung der Elternstellung über die Stiefkindadoption hält der Senat mit Blick auf das Eltern-Kind-Verhältnis für nicht erforderlich und zum Teil (hinsichtlich der mehrmonatigen Probezeit) auch unzumutbar (Rn. 129-133).

Neben der Verletzung der Freiheitsrechte der Ehefrau und des Kindes (auf Gewährleistung elterlicher Pflege und Erziehung aus Art. 2 Abs. 1 GG i.V.m. Art. 6 Abs. 2 Satz 1 GG) sieht der Senat eine nicht gerechtfertigte Diskriminierung sowohl der Geburtsmutter als auch der Ehefrau und des Kindes nach Art. 3 Abs. 1 GG i.V.m. Art. 6 Abs. 2 Satz 1 GG (Rn. 149 ff.). Da der Ehemann der Geburtsmutter kraft Gesetzes gemäß § 1592 Nr. 1 BGB Vater des Kindes werde, während die Ehefrau der Geburtsmutter nicht die zweite Elternstelle zu dem Kind erhalte, würden die Ehen von verschiedengeschlechtlichen Paaren mit Kindern und die Ehen von gleichgeschlechtlichen Paaren mit Kindern unterschiedlich behandelt. Tatsächlich bestünde aber sowohl für die verschiedengeschlechtliche Ehe wie auch für die gleichgeschlechtliche Ehe ein jeweils spezifisches Zuordnungskriterium des zweiten Elternteils zu dem Kind: Bei verschiedengeschlechtlichen Ehen sei es die Vermutung der genetischen bzw. leiblichen Abstammung, bei gleichgeschlechtlichen Ehen – aufgrund des Elternrechts des Ehegatten aus Art. 6 Abs. 2 Satz 1 GG – der Willensentschluss zur medizinisch assistierten Zeugung des Kindes und die erklärte Verantwortungsübernahme (Rn. 153). Eine sachliche Rechtfertigung für die unterschiedliche Regelung sei – insbesondere aufgrund des hier anzulegenden strengen Maßstabes (Nähe zu zu Art. 3 Abs. 3 GG) – nicht zu erkennen (Rn. 155).

Diskriminierung gegenüber verschiedengeschlechtlichen Eltern bei Zeugung durch qualifizierte Samenspende, Art. 3 Abs. 1 GG

Die Richter*innen des 3. Zivilsenats des Berliner Kammergerichts als Senat für Familiensachen (Az. 3 UF 1122/20) begründen ihre Vorlage an das Bundesverfassungsgericht ausschließlich damit, dass eine nicht zu rechtfertigende Ungleichbehandlung des Kindes und der Ehefrau nach Art. 3 Abs. 1 GG gegenüber vergleichbaren Fällen in verschiedengeschlechtlichen Ehen vorliege (Rn. 64 ff.). Viel stärker als das OLG Celle geht das KG dabei auf die konkrete Situation der medizinisch assistierten Samenspende im Vergleich zu heterosexuellen und anderen Paaren ein. Seit Einführung des § 1600d Abs. 4 BGB im Jahr 2018 könne im Falle einer sogenannten qualifizierten Samenspende (im Wesentlichen: ärztlich unterstütze künstliche Befruchtung) der Samenspender in keinem Fall mehr als Vater festgestellt werden. Damit habe die Gesetzgebung entschieden, dass in diesen Fällen die Zuordnung eines Mannes (des Ehemannes) als Vater des Kindes von seiner biologischen Elternschaft völlig unabhängig sei. Kinder, die durch ärztlich unterstützte künstliche Befruchtung mit Hilfe eines anonymen Samenspenders gezeugt wurden, würden also ungleich behandelt, je nachdem, ob sie in einer verschiedengeschlechtlichen oder gleichgeschlechtlichen Ehe der Mutter geboren worden seien. Dies sei verfassungsrechtlich nicht zu rechtfertigen. In beiden Fällen sei die Zuordnung der rechtlichen Elternschaft völlig losgelöst von der biologischen Elternschaft.

Auch das KG ist der Ansicht, dass das Kind und die Ehefrau der Mutter auch nicht auf den Umweg einer Adoption verwiesen werden können.

Diskriminierung aufgrund des Geschlechts, Art. 3 Abs. 3 S. 1 GG

Beiden Beschlüssen gemein ist, dass sie die besonderen Gleichheitsrechte außer Acht lassen. Eine Diskriminierung aufgrund des Geschlechts, Art. 3 Abs. 3 S. 1 GG, liegt jedoch vor.

Kinder wie jene in den dargestellten Verfahren werden als eheliche Kinder ihrer nicht-heterosexuellen Eltern benachteiligt gegenüber ehelichen und auch nichtehelichen Kindern von heterosexuellen Paaren: Weil ihre Mütter nicht mit einem Mann – sondern einem Menschen nicht-männlichen Geschlechts – verheiratet sind, kommt ihnen nicht qua Geburt der gleiche rechtliche Schutz zu. Sie trifft eine massive rechtliche Unsicherheit und Benachteiligung: Den Kindern wird die Hälfte der rechtlichen Absicherung und Fürsorge vorenthalten. Sollte der Geburtsmutter etwas zustoßen, wären die Kinder rechtlich gesehen Vollwaise und würden im schlimmsten Fall in staatliche Obhut kommen – obwohl sie bis dahin mit einem zweiten sorgenden Elternteil aufgewachsen sind. Auch haben die Kinder im Falle des Versterbens des zweiten Elternteils keinen Anspruch auf Halbwaisenrente.

Auch die beiden (Wunsch-)Eltern werden benachteiligt gegenüber heterosexuellen Ehen und Partnerschaften, da ihre Ehe keine Wirkung in abstammungsrechtlicher Hinsicht entfaltet und auch keine anderweitige Elternschaftsanerkennung möglich ist.

Beide Benachteiligungen erfolgen aufgrund des Geschlechts: Die Möglichkeiten zur Erlangung der zweiten Elternstellung sind an das männliche Geschlecht geknüpft.

Ungleichbehandlungen aufgrund des Geschlechts sind nach ständiger Rechtsprechung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (BVerfGE 85, 191, 107) jedoch nur zulässig, wenn sie aufgrund biologischer Unterschiede zwingend erforderlich sind. Dies ist hier aber nicht der Fall. Rechtliche Elternschaft kann sich aufgrund unterschiedlicher Zuordnung ergeben. Die (vermutete) biologische Zuordnung mag die häufigste, muss aber nicht die einzige sein. Entscheidend ist der Wille zur dauerhaften Verantwortungsübernahme. Dass dieser zwingend an die biologische Zuordnung geknüpft ist, wird (spätestens) durch die Diversifizierung von Familienformen und durch die Reproduktionsmedizin in Frage gestellt. Zudem können eventuelle Rechte leiblicher Eltern sowie das Recht des Kindes auf Kenntnis der eigenen Abstammung unabhängig von der rechtlichen Absicherung der tatsächlich gewollten und gelebten Elternschaft gesichert werden.

Das Abstammungsrecht ist einer der letzten Bereiche geschlechtsbezogener Anknüpfung – und geschlechtsbezogener Diskriminierung – im deutschen Recht. Die Beschlüsse aus Celle und Berlin betreffen den besonderen Fall der medizinisch-assistierten Samenspende bei Frauenpaaren. Die Argumentationen, insbesondere die Ausführungen des OLG Celle zur Begründung von Elternschaft durch erklärte Verantwortungsübernahme, können aber den Blick öffnen für die bestehenden Diskriminierungen nicht-heterosexueller Familien unterschiedlichster Art. Der Zusammenhang von biologischer Elternschaft und dem Willen zur Verantwortungsübernahme war noch nie zwingend (insbesondere auf männlicher Seite); die Möglichkeiten der Reproduktionsmedizin, die zunehmende Flexibilität des Personenstandsrechts (divers, ohne Geschlechtseintrag, Geschlechtseintragswechsel) und die wachsende Anzahl queerer Familien rütteln an biologischen Vorannahmen und ihrem Zusammenhang zur Elternschaft. Die Beschlüsse des OLG Celle und des KG Berlin können daher vor dem Bundesverfassungsgericht (und für einen späteren Gesetzgebungsprozess) der Auftakt sein für ein grundlegendes Umdenken rechtlicher Elternschaft: von der überragenden Bedeutung (vermuteter) biologischer Zuordnung hin zu einem funktionalen Verständnis rechtlicher Elternschaft, wo es entscheidend auf den Willen zur Übernahme elterlicher Verantwortung ankommt – und nicht auf den Geschlechtseintrag der Eltern.

Male Rape Victims Confront the Bosnian War’s Last Taboo

Male Rape Victims Confront the Bosnian War’s Last Taboo

Male Rape Victims Confront the Bosnian War’s Last Taboo

A wartime sexual violence victim. Photo: Zinaida Djelilovic. Zinaida DjelilovicSarajevoBIRN

April 24, 2020 – 08:10

Men who were raped or sexually assaulted during the 1992-95 Bosnian war have long been reluctant to speak out for fear of stigmatisation, but now attempts are being made to ensure they get the same welfare benefits as other war victims.

This article is also available in: Shqip Macedonian Bos/Hrv/Srp

“Even today, so many years after the war, I have nightmares. I have flashbacks, and the memories come. I still hear threatening voices.”

These are the words of a former prisoner who was captured during the war in 1995 and detained for 27 days. For some of that period, he was held at a detention centre in the Sarajevo suburb of Hadzici where, like other prisoners, he was sexually abused.

“Those things are always on your mind. It crushes you like a pair of pliers. There is no way to relax,” the ex-prisoner, who asked to remain anonymous, told BIRN.

Rape, he said, was “a strategy of warfare at that time”. The men who abused him have never been prosecuted.


Sabiha Husic, director of Medica Zenica. Photo: Zinaida Djelilovic.

“The third day I left the concentration camp, I confided to my wife what I had been through,” he recalled. “She helped me the most. Unfortunately, she got diabetes from a lot of stress and she passed away few months ago.”

He said he was also helped by the Medica Zenica team led by director Sabiha Husic. Medica Zenica was founded in 1993 and was the first NGO to help female survivors of sexual violence. Seven years ago, the NGO realised that it needed to start supporting men too.

“I met director Husic at a conference in Sarajevo where women’s rights were being talked about,” said the former prisoner. “There is usually talk about women who have been raped or sexually abused. And then I told them there were men who survived it.”

He said that he thinks it is much harder for men who have been raped or sexually abused to talk about it.

“There are so many questions about how can it happen… Unfortunately, it can,” he said.

“There are more men who have not spoken out, and they never will. I wouldn’t have either if things didn’t turn out the way they did. It’s hard. It has to be dealt with. I survived it and nothing can compensate for it. You carry it inside you, like a bomb,” he continued.

Medica Zenica helped him to get the officially-registered status of ‘civilian victim of war’. According to the law, registered civilian victims of war are entitled to benefits, which for survivors of sexual abuse and rape amount to 594 Bosnian marks (304 euros) a month.

Securing the status took two years and the case had to be taken to court, he recalled.

“The process was very difficult. A lot of statements have to be made, some of which are inappropriate and which again lead to severe psychological episodes in survivors who have gone through all these traumas. Undereducated and unprofessional people are working on these cases,” he argued.

He added that the financial benefits did not solve the victims’ problems and that he would prefer the state to provide “therapeutic communities for survivors of sexual abuse during the war”.

Medica Zenica’s director, Sabiha Husic, said that Bosnia and Herzegovina has no official statistics on the number of men and women who were sexually assaulted and have been officially registered as civilian victims of the war.

While working on her doctoral thesis about support for survivors of wartime sexual violence, she estimated on the basis on information she gathered from international organisations and reports that about 3,000 men were raped during the war.

“I wanted to analyse and learn from the statistics to see how many applied for the status of civilian victim of war, how many were rejected and what were the reasons for the rejection. However, this information is not available,” Husic said.

So far, seven men have achieved the status of civilian victim of war through Medica Zenica. But a large number of victims do not want to apply, as they fear intrusive or humiliating questions, or being asked why they are applying now, so many years after the war.

Husic said that such questions are unacceptable: “We have no right to question why someone decided to speak today or will decide in five days or five months. We need to create a safe situation in which survivors of wartime sexual violence will feel safe and supported whenever they choose to speak or claim their rights.”

Male rape was a taboo topic for many years, she explained.

“From the Medica experience, I can say that at first we did not think that men could also be victims of this kind of violence,” she said.

“I think the process of speaking out was more difficult for men because they lacked support,” she added.

Stigma and fear


Berina Zutic Razic, legal adviser at TRIAL International’s office in Sarajevo. Photo: Zinaida Djelilovic.

The Hague-based International Tribunal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia classified the sexual abuse and rape of women, men and children as a war crime for the first time in cases arising from the Bosnian war. The UN-backed tribunal has delivered several judgments that have included allegations of sexual assault and rape of men and boys.

The first war criminal who was convicted of crimes including sexual violence by the tribunal was Bosnian Serb politician and paramilitary fighter Dusko Tadic, who was jailed for 20 years in 1997.

In 1998, the tribunal convicted prison camp commander Zdravko Mucic, his deputy Hazim Delic and camp guard Esad Landzo of charges including sexual violence against Bosnian Serb civilians held at a detention camp in Celebici.

The tribunal also sentenced former Bosnian Serb policeman Ranko Cesic in 2004 for wartime crimes including forcing two Muslim brothers who were imprisoned at the Luka detention camp in Brcko to perform fellatio on one another.

Testimonies of sexual violence against men were also recorded in the tribunal’s case against Mico Stanisic, the wartime interior minister of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, and Stojan Zupljanin, the chief of the regional police headquarters in the entity’s main city, Banja Luka.

Part of the first-instance trial verdict from 2013 states that “in the Chelopek Cultural Centre [detention facility in Zvornik], the Yellow Wasps and other paramilitary formations, with police knowledge, severely beat and wounded Muslim prisoners. They were humiliated, sexually abused and mutilated.”

Paramilitary leader Dusan Vuckovic Repic “forced two pairs of fathers and sons to perform sexual acts on each other, including sexual intercourse and penetration with a broom handle”, according to the verdict. Vuckovic Repic died in a Belgrade jail in 2005, eight days before his trial for the Zvornik crimes was due to begin.

The sexual abuse and rape of men during the war has been reported in 23 locations across the country so far, said Bakira Hasecic, president of the Women – Victims of War association.

Hasecic recalled the statement of a man who survived sexual abuse in a Zvornik detention camp: “They were forced to rape a female pig, and before that they were given some pills. And when you think you have survived everything and have seen everything, when you hear other people’s statements, you wonder if a normal human mind could do that.”

The Bosnian state court in Sarajevo has convicted several defendants of sexual violence against men.

In 2015, the state court sentenced former Bosnian Serb soldier Gligor Begovic to 13 years in prison for crimes against civilians who were being held at the Batkovic detention centre near Bijeljina in 1992, including the sexual abuse of several prisoners.

Former Bosnian Army soldier Zijad Kurtovic was found guilty in 2009 of war crimes including forcing two brothers who were Croatian Defence Council fighters to have oral sex with each other.

Also in 2009, former Bosnian Serb military policeman Rade Veselinovic admitted that, among other offences, he allowed members of paramilitary groups to force non-Serb prisoners held at the Sports Centre in Hadzici to have sex with each other.

The rape and sexual abuse of prisoners has also been cited in several other cases at the state court.

Bozidarka Dodik, a judge at the Supreme Court in the country’s Federation entity, argued that over the past decade, the Bosnian judiciary has made great progress in the prosecution of war crimes, including wartime sexual violence.

“Although most of these criminal cases relate to rape and sexual violence committed against women, cases in which men are victims of such violence are also being prosecuted. However, men who are victims of these criminal offences report it even less often than women, mainly because of the stigma and fear that they will be labelled as gay or unmasculine,” Dodik told BIRN by email.

“In some cases, there is the situation that the perpetrator directly rapes or otherwise commits sexual violence against a man. More frequent are situations in which perpetrators forced men (mostly in detention facilities) to rape each other (anal or oral),” she said.

She also noted that “in addition to sexual penetration, there are many other forms of sexual violence that can be committed against men”.

Shaming the victim


Omer Cemalovic, neuropsychiatrist. Photo: Zinaida Djelilovic.

The issue of the stereotyping of victims of wartime sexual violence in criminal proceedings has been part of the training programme for judicial officials at Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centres in the Federation and Republika Srpska entities for the past two years. Judge Dodik is one of the trainers.

“The most common prejudice that victims of sexual violence are generally faced with, regardless if they are men or women, is that rape is a disgrace for the victim, not the perpetrator, and that as a result of such an act, the victim is tainted, filthy and unworthy of respect,” said Dodik.

Dodik believes that most judges, prosecutors and other judicial staff are sensitive to victims, although unpleasant incidents still occur. These are mainly due to deep-rooted gender stereotypes or the result of negligence or paying insufficient attention while communicating with victims, she suggested.

“Rape, whether in peacetime or war, is still a topic that is not much talked about. Progress in understanding rape and other forms of sexual violence can be achieved only through continuous education and awareness-raising, not only for judicial officials but also for the general public,” she said.

In 2017, the TRIAL International NGO published a report entitled Rape Myths in Wartime Sexual Violence Trials’.

Berina Zutic Razic, legal adviser at TRIAL International’s office in Sarajevo, said that the report highlighted that rape is still rarely reported to the police.

“Although some progress has been made in addressing war crimes cases, myths and stereotypes that shift the shame and guilt of sexual violence from the perpetrator to the victim still exist in the Bosnian judiciary,” said Zutic Razic.

“Of course the biggest problem in these cases is the fact that in many cases of sexual violence against men, judicial officials decline to classify these crimes as rape,” she added.

TRIAL International works with the Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centres to provide training for judges, prosecutors and their legal associates, and even for witness support staff, in an attempt to make them more sensitive to wartime sexual violence victims.

The NGO started working with the Ministry of Justice this year to do the same for lawyers. It has also agreed to provide feedback to the Bosnian state court on how survivors appearing as witnesses in war-related sexual violence cases feel about how they are treated during the proceedings.

However, Zutic Razic noted that the stigmatisation of victims comes from prejudices that are deeply rooted in society in general, so change needs to happen on a wider level than the judiciary.

For the survivors, the traumas remain, 25 years after the war ended. Neuropsychiatrist Omer Cemalovic carried out several expert evaluations of men forced by detention camp guards have intercourse with each other.

“This is the worst example of human bestiality: torturing prisoners – civilians – in such a way,” Cemalovic said.

“These are traumas that remain forever and it is impossible to get rid of them completely.”

This article was produced as part of BIRN’s Balkan Transitional Justice grant scheme, supported by the European Commission.

“I’m afraid for my family if the authorities find out about my homosexuality.” Criminalisation in Uzbekistan: Oliver’s story

“I’m afraid for my family if the authorities find out about my homosexuality.” Criminalisation in Uzbekistan: Oliver’s story

Read: https://ilga-europe.org/blog/im-afraid-my-family-if-authorities-find-out-about-my-homosexuality-criminalisation-uzbekistan

At this moment, the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan has a historic opportunity to decriminalise same-sex relations between men and provide better protection for LGBT people. In today’s blog, Oliver, an LGBT activist from Uzbekistan , shares his story with us, and what changing the Criminal Code would mean for him.


As he did every morning, Oliver began his day checking his email, drinking a cup of coffee. But this morning, the 32-year-old LGBT activist from Uzbekistan was upset.

The reason was that a member of the Uzbek Parliament, Rasul Kusherbaev, had publicly declared the day before, March 15, 2021: “I will never accept the cohabitation and relationship of a man with a man as husband and wife. And I believe that while we are alive, such absurdity in Uzbekistan will not be allowed by law. The day this is allowed will be the day of our death.”

At this unique moment in its history, the country of Uzbekistan has an opportunity to finally decriminalise consensual same-sex relations between men in its review of its Criminal Code. This would align Uzbekistan with international human rights standards and its own Constitution. However, despite calls from international human rights bodies including the United Nations, the provision remains in the new draft version of the Code, moved from Article 120 to Article 154, without changing its substance.

Although the Uzbekistani Constitution guarantees privacy, equality and non-discrimination, Uzbekistan is one of the only two Central Asian countries that retain legislation criminalising private, consensual same-sex conduct between men.

“This [criminalising] article is perceived in society as a ban on LGBT people,” says Oliver. He fears persecution from radicals calling for hatred in a state that offers no protection, where even lawyers are reluctant to defend LGBT people. “I am afraid for my relatives, who may also suffer if authorities find out about my homosexuality,” Oliver adds.

“I love Uzbekistan very much. People may be homophobic here, but this does not mean that with proper awareness raising and education by the state, people will not become more tolerant.”

Oliver has personally suffered the consequences of the lack of protection for LGBT people in Uzbekistan. Some years ago, he went on a date with a man he met on a social media network. “I was a very stupid naïve boy who just wanted to be happy,” he says. It turned out he had been lured into a trap, and the man he met was a homophobe who beat him up.

“Obviously, I did not even dare to report the incident,” Oliver says. “The fear that someone would find out, that most people would support him and say that I was mentally ill and deserved it, stopped me.”

In the ILGA-Europe Annual Review 2021, it’s reported that throughout 2020 the article criminalising same-sex relations in Uzbekistan continued be used by the police to threaten, intimidate, psychologically and physically torture, and detain LGBT people. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) has highlighted that the public usually sides with perpetrators of anti-LGBT violence and that law enforcement officers blackmail the victims and extort money.

For Oliver, decriminalising same-sex conduct in Uzbekistan would mean that “the state is ready to start a dialogue.” Decriminalisation would protect LGBT people from violence and harassment. It would also open a space for LGBT communities to self organise and access health and legal counselling.

“We are ordinary people. We don’t want to be afraid of society, of the state. We simply want the state to protect us.”

Oliver has hope for his country and faith in his fellow citizens.

“I love Uzbekistan very much. People may be homophobic here, but this does not mean that with proper awareness raising and education by the state, people will not become more tolerant.”

Here is what you can do:

Join our campaign to call on the President and government of Uzbekistan to decriminalise same-sex relations in the review of the country’s Criminal Code by tweeting #Repeal154!

Looking for inspiration? Here is a call you can tweet:

I call on the President and government of Uzbekistan, member of the UN Human Rights Council, to #Repeal154 to decriminalise same-sex conduct between men under the ongoing review of the Criminal Code.

@aripov_abdulla@president_uz

How the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child will protect LGBTI kids

How the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child will protect LGBTI kids

Source: https://ilga-europe.org/blog/how-eu-strategy-rights-child-will-protect-lgbti-kids

From committing to end intersex genial mutilation to improving freedom of movement for rainbow families, find out in our blog why this new EU strategy is great news for LGBTI kids.


“Children’s rights are human rights”.

On 24 March 2021, the European Commission published the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child. Protecting and promoting the rights of the child is a core objective of the EU and therefore, the strategy aims to “build the best possible life for children in the EU and across the globe.” It strongly complements the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020–2025, committing to clear actions to end intersex genital mutilation, tackle online bullying of LGBTI youth, and improve free movement for rainbow families.

Here are the key points of the strategy that focus on LGBTI kids:

It acknowledges the similarities between intersex genital mutilation and female genital mutilation

Intersex genial mutilation (IGM) and female genital mutilation (FGM) have, unfortunately, a lot in common. In the strategy the EC is explicitly acknowledging so by noting that “more than 200 million women and girls worldwide are survivors of FGM, including over 600.000 in the EU. 62% of intersex people who had undergone a surgery said neither they nor their parents gave fully informed consent before medical treatment or intervention to modify their sex characteristics.

To put an end to this, the key action by the EC will be to “support the exchange of good practices on ending non-vital surgery and medical intervention on intersex infants and adolescents to make them fit the typical definition of male or female without their or their parents’ fully informed consent (IGM).”

It will tackle cyber harassment of LGBTI children

Children experience violence at school and online. According to the 2018 PISA results, 23% of students reported being bullied at school. On cyber harassment, the strategy points out that “almost one third of girls and 20% of boys experienced disturbing content once a month in the past year; and children from minorities encounter upsetting events online more frequently.” The latest Fundamental Rights Agency survey on LGBTI people in the EU shows that amongst LGBTI 15–17 years old respondents, 15% have experienced cyber harassment due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics.

To tackle this, the EC will update the Better Internet for Kids Strategy in 2022 in order to raise awareness of and build capacity around cyberbullying, recognise mis- and disinformation, and promote healthy and responsible behaviour online.

It will improve freedom of movement for rainbow families

The right to freedom of movement and residence of EU citizens is the cornerstone of the European Union, however, this is far from being true for rainbow families. A baby with two mothers is currently at risk of statelessness, and Clai Hamilton, spouse of Romanian Adrian Coman, has not been granted residency in Romania yet, after an European Court issued a landmark judgement in their favour. In the strategy, the EC proposes a horizontal legislative initiative for 2022 to support the mutual recognition of parenthood between EU countries.

With their first ever Strategy on the Rights of the Child, the European Commission has explicitly acknowledged the specific discriminations and challenges faced by LGBTI children. In addition to the above-mentioned points, the Strategy recognises the need to pay specific attention to LGBTI children in the areas of health, education, socioeconomic inclusion, housing and protection from discrimination, both online and offline.

ILGA-Europe will now work with our partners and the European Commission to ensure the implementation of commitments made in the Strategy to address these issues, and to ensure that solutions reach and include LGBTI children across Europe. Tags: childrenEU Strategy on the Rights of the Child

Switzerland: ‘Marriage for all’ opponents hand in signatures for referendum — LGBTI Recht in der Schweiz – Droit LGBTI en Suisse – by Professor Andreas R Ziegler

Switzerland: ‘Marriage for all’ opponents hand in signatures for referendum Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com Swiss voters look set to have the last word on a historic same-sex marriage law after opponents on Monday handed in signatures demanding a national referendum. Around 59,000 verified signatures were handed in by a committee in Bern, two […]

Switzerland: ‘Marriage for all’ opponents hand in signatures for referendum — LGBTI Recht in der Schweiz – Droit LGBTI en Suisse – by Professor Andreas R Ziegler

USA: Arkansas House approves bill banning schools from requiring teachers to use students’ preferred pronouns

USA: Arkansas House approves bill banning schools from requiring teachers to use students’ preferred pronouns

The Arkansas House of Representatives approved House Bill 1749 on Thursday, which will prevent schools from requiring teachers to refer to students by their preferred pronouns or name if they do not align with the student’s sex assigned at birth. The bill, called “an act to prohibit requiring public school and state-supported institution of higher education employees from addressing a student by … a word that is used to identify the student as male or female and that is inconsistent with the student’s biological sex,” was supported by Representative Mary Bentley, who stated that “the idea behind the bill came from teachers who are scared to be taken to court if they choose against calling a transgender student by their preferred name.”

However, the bill goes a step further than protecting teachers from being taken to court; it provides teachers with a cause of action for “any adverse action” in response to misgendering students, allowing them to “be eligible for remedies” if they are disciplined by a public institution in any way for misgendering students, even if done intentionally and for the purpose of causing offense or harm. According to Bentley, “It’s not compelling anyone’s speech, it’s not prohibiting anyone’s speech.”

The bill follows the passing of Arkansas House Bill 1570, which banned transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming treatment and Senate Bill 354, which banned transgender women from participating in women’s sports.

The post Arkansas House approves bill banning schools from requiring teachers to use students’ preferred pronouns appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

Hungarian Foreign Ministry Summons German Diplomat over Hungarian Coach Petry’s Dismissal because of his recent remarks concerning migration and same-sex marriage

Hungarian Foreign Ministry Summons German Diplomat over Hungarian Coach Petry’s Dismissal because of his recent remarks concerning migration and same-sex marriage

According to the football club, it had signed the Diversity Charter and was actively engaged in practicing diversity and tolerance. However, they couldn’t find any trace of these principles in Petry’s statements, which he had made publicly without prior consultation with them. Petry’s dismissal generated a huge public outcry in Hungary, with many politicians sharing their opinions on the incident.

Read: https://hungarytoday.hu/foreign-ministry-summon-german-diplomat-hungarian-coach-petry-dismissal/