Iranian pilgrims denied travel rights as diplomatic row between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues
- Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced that Iranians would not be allowed to make the annual trek to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
- Relations between the regional rivals have deteriorated in the wake of Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, which led to violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Riyadh’s severance of diplomatic ties.
- In September 2015, hundreds of Iranians were among the thousands killed in a stampede in Mecca, and the continued absence of an official Saudi report has exacerbated tensions between the two countries.
“Iran says its pilgrims will not attend haj in Saudi” (Reuters)
“Iran pilgrims to miss Hajj amid row with Saudi Arabia” (BBC)
“Iranians will not perform Haj this year” (Gulf News)
(Image Credit: Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
At least 700 migrants and refugees die in last week along trans-Mediterranean route
- The UNHCR concluded from survivor interviews that some 550 of 670 died after a boat capsized on its way to Italy from Libya, with other scattered wrecks throughout the week leading to at least 150 other deaths.
- As warmer temperatures have created more favorable travel conditions, an estimated 13-14,000 have been rescued over the last week during Italian naval operations in the Mediterranean.
- The U.N. believes most of those making the trek have been sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees caught up in smuggling networks.
“Over 700 Migrants Died Trying to Reach Italy in Past Week, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
“More than 700 feared dead in recent Mediterranean crossings” (AP)
“Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Marina Militare, via The New York Times)
Trans activist dies in northwest Pakistan after uproar over hospital treatment
- Alisha, 23, died in a hospital in Peshawar after being shot multiple times during a dispute.
- She had reportedly had her medical intervention delayed as hospital personnel taunted her and debated whether to put her in the male or female ward.
- While police have taken in a suspect, the trans community continues to worry at ongoing targeted violence, with Alisha now the fifth trans activist to have been killed in recent months.
“Pakistani transgender activist who was shot, then taunted at hospital, dies of injuries” (The Los Angeles Times)
“Police arrest prime suspect in transgender Alisha’s murder” (Pakistan Today)
“Pakistani transgender activist dies after delayed medical care” (The Washington Blade)
(Image Credit: Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, via The Los Angeles Times)
Anti-LGBT protesters disrupt LGBT Pride festivities in Moldova
Video Credit: Campania socială Fără Frică
- Hundreds demonstrated against a Pride march taking place in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, by chanting, singing, and reportedly throwing eggs and holy water at participants.
- The protests appeared to have been led by Orthodox Christian demonstrators, who carried Moldovan and Orthodox flags symbolizing the close ties of religion and national identity in the predominantly Orthodox country.
- Under heavy police protection, more than 150 participated in the parade, including German, French, and Swedish diplomats, before having to be escorted to safety.
“Protesters disrupt Moldova Pride march” (The Washington Blade)
“Activists, Police Fend Off Counter-Protestors At Moldova’s First-Ever LGBT March of Solidarity” (Unicorn Booty)
Romanian groups work to block same-sex unions in the country
- Anti-LGBT activists undertook a signature campaign to push for a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex unions.
- The campaign was spurred by the Coalition for Family, a confederation backed by the Orthodox Church that claims to have amassed 3 million signatures in support of the amendment.
- Current marriage law in Romania defines marriage as a union of “partners,” which conservative activists have attempted to have changed before in a failed 2013 campaign.
“Romanian groups push for same-sex marriage ban” (AFP via 7 News)
“Three Million Romanians Back Anti-Gay Marriage Campaign” (Balkan Insight)
(Image Credit: AFP)