London’s new police chief soft on homophobia, claims gay activist
LONDON — The new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has a sometimes poor record when it comes to tackling homophobia and supporting the LGBT community. Only last November, he approved and facilitated a London concert by Jamaican murder music singer, Bounty Killer.

The Met Police does not allow racist singers to perform in London. Why the double standards?

The Commissioner is hypocritical on hate crimes. He permits homophobic singers to perform in London, but not racist ones. Racist artists are banned on the grounds that they are a threat to public order and good community relations.

This same principle should be applied in the case of homophobic singers. It isn’t.

Sir Paul is part of the problem. He gave Bounty Killer the green light to perform, even though the singer was on record as inciting the murder of lesbian and gay people.

OutRage! is urging people to protest to the new Met Commissioner, urging him to in future adopt a zero tolerance policy towards singers who advocate homophobic violence and murder, on the grounds that allowing them to perform threatens public order and community cohesion.
— commentary by Peter Tatchell, originally published on UK Gay News

Parliament members request action
BRUSSELS — On Jan. 29, sixteen members of the European Parliament sent a Parliamentary Question to the European Commission and the European Council expressing their concerns about recent murders of transgender people in Honduras and particularly the human rights defender Cynthia Nicole Moreno.

The MEPs asked: “Has the European Commission discussed or have the intention to discuss the on-going violence against transgender people with Honduras’ authorities?”

Members of the European Parliament noted the fact that police in Honduras had been very reluctant to investigate murders and violence against transgender people.

Three transgender women had been killed in recent months, but police had not found any of the perpetrators and non-governmental organizations working in the field say that there is a great risk that the perpetrators will never be found because of the negligence of the police.

In a separate question to the European Council, the Euro MPs asked if the Council will put pressure on Honduras to protect transgender human rights defenders taking into account the Czech Presidency’s declared priority to support human rights defenders in the world.

The Parliamentary Question has been signed by MEPs Michael Cashman, Raúl Romeva, Sophie In’t Veld, Lissy Gröner, Kathalijne Buitenweg, Jean Lambert, Bairbre de Brún, Catherine Stihler, Caroline Lucas, Glenys Kinnock, Eva-Britt Svensson, Gary Titley, John Bowis, Sarah Ludford, Britta Thomsen and Richard Corbett.
— by Andy Harley . UK Gay News

Russian Pride organizers send sixth complaint
MOSCOW — Organizers of Moscow Gay Pride sent on Jan. 27, their sixth complaint to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the denial by the Moscow authorities of the right to demonstrate and freedom of assembly.

This latest application to the Strasbourg-based court is over the ban of a picket that was scheduled to take place last year on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia.

The main aim of the banned picket was to demand the criminal prosecution of Moscow Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, for systematic and unlawful bans of all public events staged by gays and lesbians in the Russian capital.

Notification for the picketing was sent to the Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow in full accordance with the Russian law on May 13, 2008. The same day, then-Deputy Prefect Galina Boryatinskaya banned the event saying that “the aims of the picketing provoke negative reaction of the society and the conduct of the picketing can lead to group violations of public order which create threat to the security of the participants.”

Despite the ban of the picket, International Day Against Homophobia was marked when Moscow Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev staged a one-man picket in front of the General Prosecution Offices on Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Petrovka streets.

He had a placard which read: “Article 149 of the Criminal Code was not repealed! Homophobia of Mayor Luzhkov should be prosecuted!”

According to Russian law, a one-man picketing does not need prior notification and can not be banned. There were no protestors present at this picket.

In their latest complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, the organizers claim that Russian authorities breached a number of Articles of the European Convention including Article 11 (right to freedom of peaceful assembly), Article 14 (ban on discrimination on any basis – together with Article 11), as well as Article 13 (right to court protection – together with Article 11).

They are asking the European Court to judge that Russia breached the rights given by the European Convention — and are asking for compensation of 100,000 euros.

The application sent to Strasbourg on Jan. 27 is the sixth complaint lodged with the Human Rights Court by Russian gay activists against the breach of the right to freedom of assembly for gays and lesbians in Russia. Of the five previously sent to the court, two concern the bans of Moscow Gay Pride events in May 2006 and May 2007, and the remaining three concern the bans of various pickets during 2007.

The Court has yet to hold preliminary hearing on any of the cases.

“Our sixth complaint shows that the breaches of the right to freedom of assembly are now systematic in Russia,” principle organizer of Moscow Gay Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, said.

He added that he hoped that the court will soon consider out first case when the inaugural Moscow Gay Pride was banned in 2006.

“We are planning to fight for our rights until we win,” he insisted.

This year, the first Slavic Gay Pride is planned for May 16, the same day as the finals of the Eurovision Contest which is televised live throughout Europe and beyond.
— by Andy Harley . UK Gay News