Tag Archives: Australia & New Zealand

New Zealand News | Muslim

New Zealanders rally in support of Muslim community as government takes action

  • Some 15,000 people attended a rally in Christchurch to honor the memory of the 50 who died in the recent terror attacks.
  • The country’s chief censor issued a ban on the attacker’s manifesto, classifying the document in the same way as other terroristic propaganda such as Islamic State materials.
  • More than 1,000 voluntarily turned in their weapons as the government moved to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing she expects legislation to be in place by mid-April.

Read

Thousands attend New Zealand vigil, rally to fight racism, remember Christchurch victims” (Reuters | March 2019)

Censor bans ‘manifesto’ of Christchurch mosque shooter” (The Guardian | March 2019)

Christchurch shootings: New Zealand to ban military style weapons” (BBC News | March 2019)

New Zealand NEWS | Muslims

Terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques leaves more than four dozen dead

  • A gunman opened fire in the Masjid Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, killing at least 49 and injuring 48 in the worst mass shooting in New Zealand history.
  • In addition to livestreaming one of the attacks on Facebook, the attacker posted a manifesto online in which he declared far-right, anti-immigrant, white-supremacist views.
  • The gunman was arrested along with three other suspects, and officials advised community members to avoid visiting mosques in the aftermath of the attack.

Read

Christchurch mosque shootings: What you need to know” (The New Zealand Herald | March 2019)

New Zealand PM: Dozens killed in ‘terrorist’ attack on mosques” (Al Jazeera | March 2019)

49 shot dead in attack on two Christchurch mosques” (The Guardian | March 2019)

Support

United for Christchurch Mosque Shootings (crowdfunding campaign)

Connect

The Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand (FIAZ)

Australia News | Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual

Australian Parliament legalizes same-sex marriage following postal referendum
  • With a near-unanimous vote, the House of Representatives voted to amend the Marriage Act to remove the barrier to marriage rights for same-sex couples, following a similar vote in the Senate.
  • A postal referendum, the result of a controversial decision by the Tony Abbott–led government in 2015 to put the marriage right question to popular referendum, returned 61.6% of Australians voting in favor of removing orientation-based discrimination in marriage law.
  • The Marriage Act had been amended in 2004 to deny same-sex couples the legal right to marriage.
Read

Marriage equality law passes Australia’s parliament in landslide vote” (The Guardian | December 2017)

Same-sex marriage legalised in Australia as Parliament passes historic law” (The Sydney Morning Herald | December 2017)

Same-sex marriage: First weddings take place in Melbourne, Sydney” (ABC News | December 2017)

 

Australia News | Indigenous

Indigenous leaders in Australia seek formal legal and political representation with government
  • More than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander leaders met in Uluru to discuss political recognition, agreeing formal treaties were necessary beyond proposed symbolic representation in the constitution.
  • The government issued an apology for historical injustices in 2008, although community leaders and activists have sought legal commitments to reparative measures beyond symbolism.
  • The push is likely to face strong opposition as the Australian Constitution has only been amended eight times in 44 attempts in its 116-year history.
Read

Uluru talks: Indigenous Australians reject ‘symbolic’ recognition in favour of treaty” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Australia’s Aborigines seek treaties in drive for more than symbolic change” (Reuters | May 2017)

Why doesn’t Australia have an indigenous treaty?” (BBC News | May 2017)

Additional

The Australian Constitution

(Image Credit: Calla Wahlquist/The Guardian)

Australia Feature | Mixed-race Aboriginal

Australia’s “Stolen Generation” Speaks

For six decades across the 20th century, the Australian government pursued a ruthless policy of the forced assimilation of its indigenous population, tearing mixed-race children from their communities and creating “stolen generations” deprived of access to the culture of their aboriginal roots. The policy, similar to those pursued in Canada and the U.S., forced children into boarding schools, church missions, and adoptions to erase connections to their communities. Canadian photographer Matthew Sherwood has documented the stories of those in the Northern Territory through his photo series Generations Stolen, profiled in The New York Times.

Read

Australia’s ‘Stolen Generations’ Tell Their Stories” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Australia & Canada Feature | Indigenous

The Fight for Indigenous Equality, from Australia to Canada

As increased attention to negative outcomes in indigenous communities has pushed their governments to address racial disparities, Australian and Canadian indigenous advocates have drawn attention to the markedly similar ways in which English settler colonialism and systemic racial inequality unfolded in their countries. In both countries, indigenous peoples make up at least a quarter of the prison population, 40% of incarcerated children, and half of those in the child welfare system. Similar policies of forced family dissolution, detention, and delayed dismantlement of legal inequality have pushed advocates an ocean apart to come up with comparative solutions to the persistent indigenous/non-indigenous gap in their countries.

Read

‘It’s the same story’: How Australia and Canada are twinning on bad outcomes for Indigenous people” (The Guardian | April 2017)

(Image Credit: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Global Event | Women’s Marches

Global Women’s Marches

On the day following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, millions gathered in demonstrations taking place across all seven continents in support of women’s rights. Trump, who was elected despite having been accused of sexual assault by at least two dozen women, ran a campaign that attacked reproductive rights, disparaged high-profile women (including his opponent, Hillary Clinton), and equivocated on issues like gender pay equity, and of the 25 members of his incoming senior leadership team, only three are women. From Austin to Antarctica, women and allies around the world mobilized around issues including women’s security, reproductive rights, racial and immigration justice, climate change, and LGBTQ rights.

Global Overview
The Americas


Source: The New York Times (YouTube)

Europe & Africa


Source: ODN (YouTube)

Asia Pacific & Antarctica


Source: Reuters (YouTube)

Australia News | LGBTI

South Australia approves bill to recognize same-sex partnerships
  • The South Australia Legislative Council approved a bill to establish a relationship registry for same-sex couples in the state and recognize overseas same-sex marriages, including of Australian nationals who travel to New Zealand to be married.
  • The new law will allow same-sex couples to enjoy some of the partnership rights of opposite-sex couples, including recognition of next-of-kin status, and introduces protections for intersex people.
  • The bill followed the death of British national David Bulmer-Rizzi on honeymoon in South Australia, which prompted international outcry after his marriage to his husband Marco went unrecognized for end-of-life decisions and on the death certificate issued.

Read more:
South Australia Has Passed A Law Recognising Same-Sex Relationships After Honeymoon Death” (BuzzFeed News)
Marco Bulmer-Rizzi welcomes relationships register bill passing SA parliament” (ABC News)
Premier Jay Weatherill makes apology in Parliament for past LGBTIQ discrimination” (news.com.au)

Additional reads:
This British Man’s Husband Died On Honeymoon But Australia Refuses To Recognise Their Marriage” (BuzzFeed News)

(Image Credit: Facebook, via BuzzFeed News)

Australia Features | Asylum-Seekers

Australia’s Refugee Hot Potato

Despite its reputation as a beacon—however imperfect—of multiculturalism in the Asia Pacific region, Australia has increasingly come under scrutiny for its asylum policies, which make it nearly impossible for refugees to find haven in the country. International outrage has grown over more than a decade as an evolving set of agreements and restrictions have made the country’s practices increasingly less transparent and, some advocates argue, more inhumane.

Rejection of refugee-carrying vessels, offshore processing, indefinite detention, poor conditions in detention centers, and questionable legal maneuverings have caused humanitarian monitors to sound the alarm, questioning Australia’s commitment to international human rights laws. The most recent development in Australia’s ever-evolving asylum-seeker drama has involved an agreement with the U.S. to take those currently held in offshore detention on the island of Nauru, but the election of Donald Trump has introduced uncertainty into a situation already defined by precarity.

Read:
Offshore detention: Australia’s recent immigration history a ‘human rights catastrophe’” (The Guardian)

Additional:
The Nauru files: cache of 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention” (The Guardian)
Refugees in Australia’s remote camps offered US resettlement” (AFP via Yahoo! News)

(Image Credit: Dean Lewins/AAP, via The Guardian)

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Commemorating the day when homosexuality was de-pathologized by the World Health Organization in 1990, the 13th-annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT) stands as an occasion for global mobilization towards LGBT visibility and security. The day, like many global celebrations, is also one many governments choose to speak out on global human rights and minority security, announcing initiatives to support their LGBT citizens and international projects.

Even today, ongoing disagreements between nations over LGBT rights have prompted diplomatic rows and roadblocks to international cooperation, including the recent objection of 51 Muslim countries to the participation of LGBT groups in a U.N. AIDS forum in June. The push to extinguish homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia at all geographic levels remains important to the global mobility of LGBT people worldwide.

Here are highlights from IDAHOT 2016:

Africa & the Middle East


Video Credit: Collectif Arc-en-Ciel

LGBT Nigerians have continued wrestling with conflicting legal messages, with the recent passage of the landmark HIV Anti-Discrimination Act doing little to undo the effects of a 2014 anti-homosexuality law.

While a moratorium on LGBT criminalization is officially in place in Malawi, individuals are subject to entrenched marginalization and stigmatization in healthcare services, with a national referendum on LGBT rights having stalled.

The Gay and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) organized events for IDAHOT in Bulawayo, focusing on mental health as ongoing social and healthcare difficulties plague the community.

Though homosexuality remains criminalized in Tunisia, activists have achieved increased visibility and pushed for legal reform amidst ongoing discrimination.

Israel reaffirmed its commitment to LGBT Israelis, announcing funding to support an emergency shelter for LGBT youth and a hostel for trans people who have recently undergone gender confirmation surgery.

Days before IDAHOT, activists staged a sit-in outside of a Beirut gendarmerie, protesting Lebanon‘s anti-homosexuality legal holdovers from French occupation.  Similarly, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) issued an appeal to the Lebanese government to decriminalize same-sex relations, arguing for recognition of homosexuality’s presence within the natural variation of human sexuality.

The Americas


Video Credit: teleSUR

U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement of support as his administration lended its voice to a national debate over the bathroom rights of trans people.

In Canada, PM Justin Trudeau announced an anti-discrimination bill protecting trans security as advocates organized a demonstration for trans healthcare rights following the firebombing of a trans health clinic.

Across Latin America, important gains in same-sex partnership and family rights and gender identity healthcare and legal protections have heartened LGBT Latin Americans, but the region continues to have some of the highest reported rates of violence against the LGBT community in the world.

LGBT organizations held cultural and political events throughout Argentina to highlight conditions facing the Argentine LGBT community, call for an anti-discrimination law, and press for federal recognition of the International Day Against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, as the day is known.

Cuba celebrated the day fresh off Pride events in Havana, where Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro, led a parade of thousands through the city streets.

Asia Pacific


Video Credit: Out for Australia

As the country continues contentious battles including the push for marriage equality and erasure of “gay panic” legal defenses, rainbow flags and celebrations appeared across Australia, including over police stations in Canberra, in the streets of Brisbane, and in the senior-care facilities of Tasmania. In Victoria, officials announced a retreat for Aboriginal gender minorities to be held later in the year.

In China, a study conducted by the U.N. Development Programme, Peking University, and the Beijing LGBT Center, the largest of its kind to date, was released revealing that only 5% of LGBTI Chinese are fully out at school and work, but also showed encouraging levels of acceptance of LGBTI people among China’s youth. The head of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission expressed support for anti-discrimination legislation at IDAHOT festivities in the city.

In Fiji, former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau joined festivities at the French Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the island’s LGBTQI community.

Advocates took to op-ed columns in India to confront ongoing transphobia, reflect on gay representation in film, and highlight everyday homophobia in urban life.

A tug-of-war over LGBT rights between Islamic fundamentalists and pro-diversity moderates in Indonesia has led to mixed messages about LGBT security in the nation, spurring anti-discrimination protests.

A recent Human Rights Watch report on anti-LGBT bullying in Japan served as a reminder of the purpose of the day, highlighting rampant anti-LGBT sentiment even as the government has initiated broad efforts to combat bullying in schools.

Europe & Eurasia


Video Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The divergent prospects for LGBTI people across Europe, from Western Europe’s distinctive commitment to the protection of gender diversity to ongoing persecution in the East, was further confirmed through a UNESCO report highlighting anti-LGBT violence in schools released as global education ministers met in Paris.

Rainbow colors appeared in the shopping district of Cyprus‘s capital as 22 organizations came together to organize events to launch the country’s third Pride Festival, focusing on the need to increase legal recognition of both sexual and gender minorities in the country.

In Gibraltar, organizers canceled event plans in support of action on marriage equality legislation currently under consideration, arguing that holding a rally in front of the Parliament as uncertainty prevails would undermine pressure on MPs.

Kosovo‘s first Pride march brought out hundreds from the LGBT community to Pristina, including the U.S. and U.K. ambassadors.

Organizations in Luxembourg planned a silent march to call attention to the plight of LGBTI individuals worldwide and call for increased international protections (including asylum).

Organizers in Serbia took the day to announce the date of this year’s Pride parade (September 18) and address concerns of homophobia as right-wing parliamentary representation has increased.

Advocates, allies, and diplomats gathered around the rainbow flag raised at the US Embassy in Latvia.

On the island of Gozo in Malta, NGO leaders celebrated gender diversity in the country.

After advocates scrapped plans for IDAHOT activities in Georgia due to security concerns, a group of activists were arrested for painting pro-LGBT graffiti on administrative buildings. A “Family Day” protest against LGBT rights and visibility, the third such anti-LGBT demonstration, brought together members of Georgia’s conservative Orthodox community and international religious groups.

In the U.K., London’s new mayor promised to make the city a more just place for its LGBT residents as a rainbow flag flew over the Mayor’s Office.

(Image Credit: EPA, via The Straits Times)

Papua New Guinea & Australia News | Asylum Seekers

Papua New Guinea court and PM say offshore refugee detention center for Australia to close
  • The PNG supreme court ruled the Manus Island-based center, one of two offshore centers Australia funds, was unconstitutional, with some detainees having been held for more than 1,000 days.
  • With only eight refugees having been resettled, PNG PM Peter O’Neill stated that Australia would have to make new arrangements for the 850 men who have been detained in the Manus center.
  • Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton has reiterated that the government will not allow the asylum-seekers onto Australian soil.

Read more:
Manus Island detention centre to close, PNG Prime Minister says following court bombshell” (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Manus Island detention centre to close, Papua New Guinea prime minister says” (The Guardian)
Papua New Guinea Finds Australian Offshore Detention Center Illegal” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Ben Doherty/The Guardian)

Nauru News | Refugees

Dozens of refugees held in Nauru while seeking asylum in Australia protest their detention
  • Protests have continued for more than a week as some of the asylum-seekers have been detained in the open-air center Nauru runs for Australia for 1,000 days.
  • The demonstrations coincided with Australian protests decrying Australia’s controversial offshore detention policy sending refugees who attempted to enter the country without authorization almost 2,800 miles away to Nauru.
  • Despite reports to the contrary, Australian and Nauruan authorities argue facilities are well-maintained, have good healthcare and activities, and, except during times of protest, allow for detainees to travel into the surrounding community.

Read more:
Locked gates and erected fences contain Nauru asylum seeker protests” (The Guardian)
Asylum seekers on Nauru determined to keep up protests” (Radio New Zealand)
Rapes and fears for safety on Nauru uncovered by independent Moss review” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: via The Guardian)

Australia News | Refugees

Few of Australia’s controversial temporary visas for refugees are reaching their targets
  • Temporary protection visas (TPVs) and the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) were introduced as three-year and five-year work or education visas for refugees, respectively, requiring them to work or study to avoid losing their residency.
  • While some 2,000 have applied for the SHEV, refugee advocates say only 20 have been processed in the 18 months since the immigration ministry announced they would be used instead of opening pathways to permanent residency.
  • Without a SHEV, refugees are forced to remain in offshore detention, another of Australia’s controversial refugee policies.

Read more:
Temporary Protection Visa and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (Government of Australia)
Turnbull government accused of ineptitude as refugee visa scheme stumbles” (The Sydney Morning Herald)
Refugees allowed to work and get services in Tasmania from today under SHEV” (ABC, October 2015)
NSW signs up to place refugees in regional areas on five-year visas” (The Guardian, May 2015)

(Image Credit: Firdia Lisnawati/The Sydney Morning Herald)

Global Perspectives | Queer Seniors

In an effort to highlight geographically diverse conditions for minorities and underrepresented communities, Outlas is gathering and featuring publicly available personal accounts, documentaries, features, and other video content centering the experiences of marginalized communities around the world. Join us at the Outlas YouTube channel, where two playlist series highlight diverse stories from across the platform:

  • Intersections
    Featuring the experiences of multiple minorities and the effects and subcultures of compounded marginality, from Muslim women to queer people with disabilities
  • Contexts
    Featuring regionally specific content highlighting how geopolitical contexts shape identity from place to place, including people of African descent in East Asia, atheists in Africa, and beyond

So without further ado, Outlas presents…

Intersections: Queer Seniors

The first Intersections playlist is an evolving collection devoted to the experiences of queer seniors. Queer seniors face a range of community-specific vulnerabilities, from housing and services discrimination to ageism in the broader LGBT community. As the generations that survived the AIDS epidemic that eviscerated their ranks grow older, they age into physical, psychological, and financial health issues that disproportionately impact LGBT elders. But attention to vulnerability alone fails to highlight the vibrant cultures and histories of queer elders. Videos in the collection also tackle sexuality and aging, advice for younger generations, and the tremendous historical memory that queer seniors hold in need of preservation.

Featured content comes from countries including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia and includes the stories of queer women, people of color, drag performers, and transgender individuals. Unfortunately, the limited geographic scope of available content is a reminder that many if not most queer seniors around the world remain in the closet, located in regions unfriendly or even inhospitable to their visibility. We will continue to add more dynamic stories of queer seniors (particularly from non-English-speaking parts of the world) where appropriate and available. Outlas is always open to suggestions!

View the full playlist on YouTube and stay tuned for more collections featuring the experiences of other underrepresented groups around the world.

Global Feature | LGBT

The Global Fight to End “Reparative Therapy”

Countries around the world are increasingly acknowledging the extreme physical and psychological effects of LGBT “conversion” or “reparative therapy,” pseudoscientific practices including electroshock therapy, sexual violence, and psychological assault run in an effort to purge LGBT individuals of their sexual and gender orientations and identities. From East Asia to the Americas to the Middle East, governments have begun banning such practices, though they continue to run to the financial and psychological detriment of their subjects. The Guardian examines global stories and efforts to dismantle the phenomenon.

Read more:
Electric shocks, rape and submersion: ‘gay cures’ and the fight to end them” (The Guardian)

Additional reading:
A Firsthand Account of the Torture of ‘Conversion’ Therapy” (The Advocate)
‘Gay Conversion’ Therapists Find Safe Haven in Israel” (The New York Times)
Gay conversion therapy, fake doctors to be banned in Victoria” (ABC)
US government calls for an end to LGBT ‘conversion therapy’” (Al Jazeera America)

(Image Credit: Ng Han Guan/AP, via The Guardian)