Twenty arrested in Morocco, accused of homosexuality, and two more sentenced to four months in prison
  • According to the Aswat Collective, an LGBT rights group, the twenty–mostly gay men and transwomen–were arrested in the resort town of Agadir and will be charged with “incitement to corruption.”
  • Despite its relatively progressive stance on homosexuality compared to its other Middle East and North African neighbors, Morocco has been cracking down on the LGBT community in recent months.
  • The arrests occur as two men have been sentenced to four months in prison for having engaged in public displays of affection in Rabat, the Moroccan capital. (via Le Figaro)

“The Moroccan authorities reaffirm their position through this campaign of oppression and arrests targeting homosexuals, while the country is having an intense debate relative to the decriminalization of homosexuality.”

More on this story at NewNowNext.

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World’s smallest country legalizes same-sex marriage
  • The Pitcairn Islands, a British overseas territory, has opened up marriage rights to all of its 56 residents, regardless of sex-pairing.
  • The Pitcairns were colonized at the end of the 18th century by British naval mutineers and the Tahitians who accompanied them.
  • With all residents adherents to Seventh-Day Adventism, Pitcairn Islanders built a strictly conservative society that has only recently begun to loosen.

Read the full story at NewNowNext.

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Kenyan atheist society threatens legal action against government for failure to allow its registration
  • The Atheists in Kenya Society’s chairman says that despite his organization’s fulfillment of the requirements for registration with the government, it was denied.
  • The chairman claims that the deputy responsible for the registration of societies justified the exclusion by pointing to the Preamble of the Kenyan Constitution’s declaration of the supremacy of God.
  • Should the Society again be rejected and the matter taken to court, it will follow the same tack as the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which won recognition in the spring.
“I visited their offices today and he told me that the Preamble of our Constitution recognises the supremacy of God. We reject this interpretation. The Bill of Rights fully protects Atheists and allows them to form an association.”
Read the full story at the Star.
(Image Credit: File photo of Milimani Law Courts, via The Star)
Namibia’s military looks to expand percentage of women among its ranks as it reaffirms its commitment to inclusiveness in conflict resolution
  • The Namibian Defence Force currently sees women representing 23% of its forces and 5% of its management, and the Defence Minister has signaled a desire to expand the proportion to 30% in the near future.
  • The country is looking to fortify its commitment to UN Resolution 1325, introduced in 2000 by Namibian cabinet member Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to put women’s rights and inclusion in peace and security efforts at the forefront of international security and conflict resolution.
  • The remarks came during a seminar on gender mainstreaming in Namibia, which connected gains in women’s participation in conflict resolution to expanded opportunities in other sectors.
“When I introduced this important role women could play to the Security Council, it was completely rejected. They said women were not a security issue but a social issue. We persisted, though, and started lobbying and won the confidence of Unicef and other groups, which eventually strengthened our proposal that was finally adopted.”
Read the full story at the Namibian.
Zimbabwe Prosecutor-General says marriage and sex should be an option for young girls disengaged from school
  • As MPs and children’s rights advocates call for increased legal protections for girls under the age of 16, head government prosecutor Johannes Tomana indicated that girls disconnected from educational opportunities should not be kept from sex or marriage.
  • Zimbabwe’s age of consent is 16, and the country suffers from one of the highest child marriage rates in the world, with provinces seeing up to 50% of its minors married off.
  • Tomana also indicated agreement with community service sentences for sexual abusers, claiming that public embarrassment is sufficient punishment for the crime.

“We’ve nine-year-olds, 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds who’re actually not in school, who’re not doing anything for example. What are we saying to them? We say you can’t even do this [have sex], when the environment is not giving them alternative engagements? What are we talking about?”

Read the full story at the Herald.

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Canadian aboriginal women overrepresented as homicide victims, most often at the hands of their own families and communities
  • Despite representing only 4.3% of the population, aboriginal women represent 16% of female homicide victims nationwide.
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has identified the need to develop new crime prevention strategies in the aboriginal community, which suffers from high levels of poverty, family breakdown, lower life expectancy, and other security-sceptic phenomena.
  • In addition to the 1,017 murdered between 1980 and 2012, another 108 are missing cases from the period.

“Aboriginal women continue to be overrepresented among Canada’s missing and murdered women. And while I applaud the efforts of everyone who is working to lessen violence against aboriginal women, it is clear that much work remains to be done.”

Read the full story at the Guardian.

Canada’s transportation security agency amends controversial policy on headgear following outcry from the Sikh community
  • The change rolls back the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency’s April implementation of a new policy that targeted religious headgear for mandatory additional screening at airports.
  • Because travelers wearing non-religious headgear were not subject to the same protocol because the headgear could be removed, the World Sikh Organization released a statement condemning the de facto discriminatory policy on behalf of Sikhs who had identified themselves as targets.
  • The organization met with CATSA, who admitted the policy had been established by the government’s transportation department without consulting faith groups.

“I am being considered a security threat every time I travel for work, even (though) I’m a NEXUS cardholder. CATSA’s policy goes above and beyond what the Transportation Security Administration does in the U.S., and I believe it’s targeting religious minorities such as turbaned Sikhs.”

Read the full story at thestar.com.

(Image Credit: Nicholas Keung/Toronto Star)