Kyrgyzstan Feature | LGBT

Kyrgyzstan’s Anti-LGBT Vigilantism

Caught in the orbit of Russia’s anti-LGBT political campaigns, Kyrgyzstan has seen increases in the persecution of its LGBT citizens as the former Soviet state’s realignment with Russia has led to the adoption of some of its most socially conservative policies. Much as in Russia, nationalism and anti-LGBT sentiment have gone hand in hand, with LGBT rights construed by reactionary nationalists as Western encroachment on Kyrgyz values and sovereignty. Amidst a floundering economy, anti-NGO and anti-LGBT bills have found significant support in Kyrgyzstan’s parliament, and though they have yet to be signed into law, police and citizens have used them as excuses to target the LGBT community and antagonize the few advocacy organizations that exist. Coda Story highlights Kyrgyzstan’s politicized homophobia and the stories of victims’ suffering under police extortion and indifference, sexual assault, and relentless threats.

Read:
‘We’ll cut off your head’: open season for LGBT attacks in Kyrgyzstan” (Coda Story via The Guardian)

Additional reading:
Kyrgyzstan’s NGO and LGBT Crackdown” (The Diplomat, March 2016)
LGBT advocates from Kyrgyzstan visit D.C.” (Washington Blade, March 2016)
Kyrgyz Group Wrecks Day Against Homophobia” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 2015)
Kyrgyzstan’s Anti-Gay Bill: Just Following in Russia’s Footsteps?” (EurasiaNet, October 2014)

Resources:
Labrys

(Image Credit: Andrew North/Coda Story, via The Guardian)

U.S. Feature | People with Disabilities

The New Segregation

Long-term care for people with chronic illnesses and certain physical and cognitive disabilities has become an important civil rights battle ground over the last two decades. While media attention has focused on government responses to civil rights issues including anti-LGBT legislation and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, the U.S. Department of Justice has opened more than 50 investigations into what it reports has been the segregation of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities in nursing facilities. Effectively institutionalizing people with disabilities, nursing facilities have detached an estimated 250,000 from economic opportunity and social life, despite a 1999 Supreme Court ruling that people with disabilities should only be placed in nursing facilities if medically necessary. The New York Times analyzes the push for home-based care and the DOJ’s active investigations into violations of protections secured under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s 1999 decision.

Read:
South Dakota Wrongly Puts Thousands in Nursing Homes, Government Says” (The New York Times)

Additional:
Feds: Relying On Nursing Homes For Those With Disabilities Not OK” (Disability Scoop)
Letter on results of investigation into South Dakota’s healthcare practices (U.S. Department of Justice)
Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin Releases Report Showing ADA’s Promise of Integration is Not Being Met for Many Americans with Disabilities” (U.S. Senate press HELP release, July 2013)

(Image Credit: Thinkstock, via Disability Scoop)

U.K. News | Muslim Pakistani-British

Sadiq Khan elected mayor of London, first Muslim to hold the post

  • A member of the Labour party, Khan defeated his Conservative opponent Zac Goldsmith with 57% of the vote, ending eight years of Conservative rule of the British capital on pledges to build more affordable housing and freeze fare prices for public transit.
  • Amidst rising Islamophobia throughout the U.K. and Europe as a whole, the mayoral campaign was marred by accusations from Goldsmith and PM David Cameron that Khan, a former human rights lawyer, was connected to extremists.
  • Khan, 45, grew up in a South London housing estate, one of eight children of working-class Pakistani immigrants, and went on to become a lawyer before his election to Parliament in 2005.

Read more:
Sadiq Khan Elected in London, Becoming Its First Muslim Mayor” (The New York Times)
Elections: Labour’s Sadiq Khan promises a ‘better’ London” (BBC)
Top Conservatives condemn Zac Goldsmith’s ‘disgusting’ mayoral campaign” (The Guardian)