U.K. elects most diverse parliament in history
- 51 MPs of color (black and minority ethnic, or BME) were elected to the House of Commons, an increase of some 25% from the 41 elected in the previous election cycle.
- 208 women were elected, an electoral record though still only 32% of Parliament, and more than 40 LGBT MPs now form the largest cohort of openly queer politicians in the history of the House of Commons.
- The new parliament also features the first Palestinian, first female Sikh, four black female, first turban-wearing Sikh, and four openly disabled MPs.
“Election results: Record number of black, Asian and ethnic minority MPs elected to parliament” (The Independent | June 2017)
“The New Parliament Has More Black, Asian, And Women MPs Than Ever Before” (BuzzFeed News | June 2017)
“Election 2017: Record number of female MPs” (BBC News | June 2017)
(Image Credit: Facebook, via The Independent)
Paris mayor backtracks after threatening to ban Afro-feminist festival
- Mayor Anne Hidalgo originally threatened to prohibit the Nyansapo Festival, alert police, and sue for discrimination, repeating far-right accusations that the event was “prohibited to white people” despite no such language appearing in the organizers’ materials.
- Festival organizers, part of the Mwasi Collective, planned to reserve certain events for black women, others for black people of all genders, others for women of color in general, and others still for the general populace in an attempt to provide open discussion spaces free of judgment for minority participants.
- The mayor eventually backtracked, although she and right-wing activists claimed victory for having “established a solution” as a rest of Hidalgo’s “firm intervention.”
“Paris mayor vows to halt black feminist festival, then backtracks” (France 24 | May 2017)
“Aux origines de la polémique sur le festival afroféministe Nyansapo” (Libération, in French | May 2017)
“Comme au Nyansapo Fest, pourquoi certaines associations prônent la non-mixité” (Huffington Post, in French | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via Libération)
South Korean soldier convicted of same-sex sexual activity
- South Korea’s military court sentenced him to a six-month suspended prison sentence under the Military Criminal Act, which will lead to a dishonorable discharge.
- While same-sex relations are not illegal for civilians, the South Korean military code criminalizes homosexual activity by military personnel, among which all able-bodied men must serve for two years.
- Human rights organizations have reported that military leaders have ordered the revelation and tracking of gay military members, though the army has denied the allegations.
“South Korean military court hands army captain suspended prison sentence for having gay sex with fellow soldier” (The Independent | May 2017)
“Korean soldier convicted of gay sex” (The Korea Times | May 2017)
“South Korean soldier given suspended jail term for gay sex” (BBC News | May 2017)
More than 100 arrested and 2 publicly flogged as Indonesian authorities target gay men
- Jakarta police confirmed that 141 men had been rounded up at a sauna party and jailed, subject to pornography charges.
- In the conservative province of Aceh, two men, aged 20 and 23, were subject to public whippings after having been caught having sex, a new application of religious provincial law in a country that does not officially criminalize same-sex relations.
- Increased anti-gay sentiment in the country is seen as part of a rising wave of hardline Islamism in the country, which has in recent years been praised for its secular, relatively liberal social gains.
“Indonesian police arrest more than 140 men at alleged gay sauna party” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Two men publicly caned in Indonesia for having gay sex” (Reuters | May 2017)
“Indonesian men caned for gay sex in Aceh” (BBC News | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via BBC News)
Russia begins investigation into abduction, torture, and massacre of gay men in Chechnya
- Government officials reportedly launched an investigation as international pressure increased following reports from human rights organizations about the rounding up of gay men into camps.
- Gay Chechens have allegedly been held in extrajudicial detention and subjected to physical and psychological abuse including beatings, electroshock torture, outing to family, and murder.
- President Vladimir Putin was reportedly briefed by the country’s human rights ombudswoman and is set up for a showdown with Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of the republic.
“Russia investigates ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Chechnya’s anti-gay pogrom: Too much even for the Kremlin?” (The Christian Science Monitor | May 2017)
“‘They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me’” (Human Rights Watch | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Arden Arkman/AP, via The Christian Science Monitor)
Mandisa Maya first woman appointed President of South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal
- Justice Maya was named to the third-highest post in the South African judicial system by embattled President Jacob Zuma.
- Maya has been on the Court since 2006 and is the first woman to be appointed its leader in its 107-year history.
- The Supreme Court of Appeal is the nation’s highest appellate court and the second-highest court in the country.
“Justice Maya makes history as first female SCA head” (South African Broadcasting Corporation | May 2017)
“South Africa gets first female president of second highest court” (africanews | May 2017)
“Judge Mandisa Maya is new president of the Supreme Court of Appeal” (Times LIVE | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Simphiwe Nkwali/Gallo Images/Sunday Times, via Times LIVE)
Italian MEP convicted of defamation for racist remarks
- Mario Borghezio was convicted for comments against former Italian MP Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black national minister.
- Borghezio had stated in a 2013 interview that Kyenge, who immigrated from the DRC, wanted to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” and was “a good housewife, but not a government minister.”
- Kyenge has faced numerous racial attacks as a result of her political visibility, and the ruling is the latest in a series of successful defamation cases she has brought.
“Northern League MEP must pay €50,000 to ex-minister over racial slurs” (The Local | May 2017)
“Italian in Europe’s Parliament Convicted of Defamation for Racial Insult” (The New York Times | May 2017)
“Italian MEP Cecile Kyenge: ‘I feel vindicated’” (BBC News | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Gianni Cipriano/The New York Times)