Tag Archives: South America

Brazil News | Indigenous

Brazilian president strips indigenous affairs agency of land reservation capability

  • President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree shifting the ability to create and define the boundaries of indigenous land reservations from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Bolsonaro previously announced intentions to loosen environmental and indigenous protections, even as farming and mining groups carry out armed attacks against indigenous communities.
  • The order was the first of Bolsonaro’s presidency, issued only hours after taking office.

Read

Bolsonaro strips agency of right to decide native land in Brazil” (Agence-France Presse, via Yahoo! News | January 2019)

Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro rolls back Indigenous tribe protections” (The Associated Press/Reuters, via ABC News | January 2019)

Brazil’s FUNAI Calls Army to Help Protect Isolated Indigenous Tribes” (The Rio Times | December 2018)

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FUNAI

Brazil Feature | Black Women

Afro-Brazilian Women’s Mobilization Moment

The current global push for the redress of epidemic violence against women—from #NiUnaMenos to #MeToo—has long been of national concern in Brazil, with women sharing stories of sexual assault via #MeuPrimeiroAssedio (#MyFirstHarassment) and demonstrations for reproductive rights having sought to counter entrenched conservative religious interests. For Afro-Brazilian women, this is part of decades of mobilization that has attempted to draw attention to both material and ideological disparities threatening their security. High homicide and sexual violence rates, reproductive healthcare limitations, anti-black beauty standards, and lack of positive cultural representation have led activists to demand attention to institutions and cultural practices that they argue have marginalized their welfare. From mass demonstrations to digital organizing, black women have taken the lead in movements for both racial and gender justice, challenging Brazil’s deeply embedded ideology of colorblindness and calling instead for more research into and accountability for persistent economic and cultural disparities.

Read

Beyond #MeToo, Brazilian women rise up against racism and sexism” (The Conversationvia Salon | January 2018)

Afro-Brazilian Feminists and the Fight for Racial and Gender Inclusion” (Black Perspectives | February 2017)

Black Women March Against Violence in Brazil” (teleSUR | November 2015)

Perspectives

Interview with Djamila Ribeiro: Fighting Racism and Sexism in Post-Coup Brazil” (The Council on Hemispheric Affairs | December 2017)

Black Brazilian Feminists Say: ‘Autonomy is the Only Way.’” (For Harriet | July 2015)

Read More

Brazil: Report Exposes High Rates of Rape Among Women, Girls” (teleSUR | January 2018)

The campaigners challenging misogyny and sexism in Brazil” (The Guardian | December 2015)

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Geledés Black Woman Institute

Black Women of Brazil

Panama News | Colombian, Venezuelan & Nicaraguan Immigrants

Panama announces plans to crack down on immigration from Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua
  • Panamanian officials have announced new restrictions on immigration from the three countries, including conducting financial checks and shortening the duration of tourist permits from 180 days to 90 days.
  • Anti-immigration sentiment has grown over the last year, with Colombians and Venezuelans particularly targeted and maligned as connected to drug trafficking and other crime in the country.
  • Around 250,000 have immigrated to Panama from the three countries since 2010.
Read

Panama to Crack Down on Immigration, Colombians and Venezuelans” (teleSUR | May 2017)

Panama cuts stays for Colombians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans” (The Associated Press via The Washington Post | May 2017)

Panama to tighten immigration policy for Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua” (Reuters | May 2017)

Brazil Feature | Black, Brown & Indigenous

The Uncertain Task of Defining Race in Brazilian Affirmative Action

The redress of racial injustice in Brazil, long stymied by the country’s reputation as a “racial democracy,” has gained increasing political attention thanks to the work of black activists across the nation. Brazil’s recent attempts to install socioeconomic and racial quotas in public university admissions have created a number of challenges as fraud and race-policing have pitted student against student in ensuring fair enforcement, particularly as verification committees decide race based on appearance rather than heritage. Foreign Policy and The Globe and Mail examine the volatile debates surrounding Brazil’s new affirmative action policies and the general uneasiness the country has experienced as it has begun to address the long history of discrimination against its black, brown, and indigenous citizens.

Read

Brazil’s New Problem With Blackness” (Foreign Policy | April 2017)

Black or white? In Brazil, a panel will decide for you” (The Globe and Mail | January 2017)

(Image Credit: Tiago Mazza Chiaravalloti/NurPhoto, via Foreign Policy)

Venezuela News | People with Disabilities

Severe drug shortages leave Venezuelans with epilepsy and their families struggling
  • With 85 of every 100 drugs missing, Venezuela faces an acute shortage of pharmaceutical drugs needed to treat a range of otherwise manageable illnesses, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, HIV, and cancer.
  • Families report traveling hundreds of miles to obtain necessary drugs, sourcing from abroad, and taking expired or inappropriate medication.
  • President Nicolas Maduro has blamed the shortage on a right-wing plot to overthrow him and announced new counteractive investments, although little progress has been seen.
Read

Epileptics struggle amid drug shortages in Venezuela” (Reuters | March 2017)

Venezuela Is Falling Apart” (The Atlantic | May 2016)

‘You name it, we can’t treat it.’” (Caracas Chronicles | March 2016)

Falta de medicinas descompensa a los pacientes psiquiátricos” (El Universal | August 2014)

(Image Credit: Carlos Garcia Rawlings/Reuters)

 

Brazil News | Indigenous

Budget cuts and proposed land rights and environmental rollbacks threaten indigenous communities in Brazil
  • Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for the protection of indigenous communities, faces large budget cuts under President Michel Temer’s government that advocates say could increase the insecurity of indigenous groups, particularly of the more than 100 uncontacted groups in the country.
  • A draft decree seeks to increase the level of scrutiny applied in the demarcation of indigenous land reservations, annulling certain previously secured land rights and making the recognition of new claims considerably more difficult.
  • A proposed bill seeks to overhaul environmental licensing protocol, shifting from federally managed licensing procedures to flexible, state-based determinations of licensing necessity for agricultural and land-use projects.

Read more:
Temer government set to overthrow Brazil’s environmental agenda” (Mongabay)
Brazil’s plan to roll back environment laws draws fire: ‘The danger is real’” (The Guardian)
Brazil budget cuts put uncontacted Amazon tribe at risk, say activists” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/The Guardian)

Brazil News & Resource | Women

The Patricia Galvao Institute launches database cataloging gender violence in Brazil
  • Dossiê Feminicído (Femicide Dossier) debuted as a resource for women, educators, advocates, researchers, and others interested in learning more about femicide and other forms of gender-based violence in the country.
  • The platform also provides information about resources, services, rights, and policy for and affecting women confronting violence in their communities.
  • Recent data indicates an average of 13 women are killed in Brazil each day, making the country one of the most dangerous in the world for women.

View:
Dossiê Feminicído

Read more:
Brazilian Women Ramp up Fight Against Femicide with Open Data” (teleSUR English)

(Image Credit: Reuters, via teleSUR English)

Peru News | Women

#NiUnaMenos demonstrations brings tens of thousands out in Peru
  • The campaign, which has ignited throughout Latin America, protests the high levels of gender-based violence women face, with a particular focus on women’s and girls’ vulnerability to femicide.
  • Peru’s women’s minister indicated that 10 women are killed per month in the country, with an additional 20 attempted murders.
  • A series of court rulings that gave reduced or lenient sentences to perpetrators of violence against women led to social media outcry, which has fueled the demonstrations that reportedly brought out more at least 50,000 in downtown Lima, including the President and First Lady.

Read more:
#NiUnaMenos: 50,000 protest violence against women in Lima” (Peru Reports)
Women in Peru protest against rising tide of murder and sexual crime” (The Guardian)
#NiUnaMenos: así fue la marcha contra la violencia a la mujer” (El Comercio, in Spanish)

(Image Credit: Omer Musa Targal/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Argentina News | Women

Argentina announces new plans to combat violence against women
  • President Mauricio Macri announced the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Assistance, and Eradication of Violence Against Women, a plan to combat the cultural roots of gender-based violence and support women through measures including the creation of a network of shelters.
  • The plan also includes the use of geolocation technology to ensure that aggressors are kept from physical proximity with their victims and a phone app that will allow threatened women to bypass dialing to access emergency safety services.
  • The measures come in the wake of a national campaign to combat violence against women that brought thousands to the streets in demonstration.

More:
Plan to cut violence against women launched” (The Buenos Aires Herald)
Cómo es el plan que presentó Mauricio Macri contra la violencia de género” (La Nacíon, in Spanish)
Argentina announces new gender violence plan” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Getty Images via BBC)

Brazil News | LGBT

Brazil sees sharp uptick in violence against its LGBT community
  • Nearly 1,600 LGBT people have been murdered in the last four-and-a-half years according to one advocacy group.
  • Despite Brazil’s reputation for tolerance, a growing evangelical population steadily amassing political power has led a conservative backlash to the country’s progressive legal integration and protection of sexual and gender minorities.
  • The homicide spike follows a general uptick in violence in Brazil, which has seen a 15% increase in homicides over the last year as the country has slid into recession.

Read more:
Brazil Is Confronting an Epidemic of Anti-Gay Violence” (The New York Times)
An LGBT Person Is Murdered Every 28 Hours In Brazil” (The Huffington Post)
We Need to Talk About Anti-LGBT Violence in Brazil” (The Advocate)

(Image Credit: Lalo de Almeida/The New York Times)

Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests

Black Lives Matter Globally

As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests

Brazil News | Women

Gang rape of 16-year-old sparks protests in Brazil
  • The case garnered international attention when a video went up on Twitter showing more than 30 men participating in the rape of the girl, apparently unconscious, in a Rio favela.
  • The crime was exacerbated by a slow, victim-antagonistic police response and a flood of misogynistic messages on social media.
  • Thousands marched in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in protest of high levels of gender-based violence in the country, with upwards of 10% of Brazilian women reporting cases of sexual violence along and a larger number of unreported cases.

Read more:
Brazil and Argentina unite in protest against culture of sexual violence” (The Guardian)
Massive Protests in Brazil After a Girl Was Blamed for Being Gang-Raped in Rio” (VICE News)
Gender violence protests in São Paulo” (The Buenos Aires Herald)

(Image Credit: Xinhua/Barcroft Images, via The Guardian)

Argentina News | Women

Thousands protest violence against women in Buenos Aires
  • The #NiUnaMenos (“Not one less”) campaign brought thousands into the streets of the Argentinian capital to call attention to high levels of violence Argentine women of all ages have been subjected to.
  • The demonstration took place in the wake of the recent murders of three 12-year-old girls in separate incidents involving domestic as well as gang violence.
  • According to one report, 275 women have been killed in gender-based homicides in the year since the last public demonstration, including 165 from domestic violence and 40 involving women who had previously reported attacks by men.

Read more:
Argentines Protest Violence Against Women” (The New York Times)
NiUnaMenos: 275 femicidios entre una marcha y otra” (La Nación, in Spanish)
60% of femicides committed by partners” (The Buenos Aires Herald)

View:
Ni una menos, en fotos: imágenes de la concentración en Buenos Aires” (La Nación)

(Image Credit: via La Nación)

Argentina News | Indigenous Argentines

Argentina establishes special council as criticism of poor indigenous relations intensifies
  • Established by decree, the new council is designed to bring together indigenous and government leaders to tackle cultural and policy issues affecting indigenous communities.
  • Activists have longed called for integration into decision-making processes affecting their communities, including enforcement of constitutional land, language, judicial, and development rights.
  • A recent U.N. report called out the government’s record on land rights—including intimidation and judicial harassment—and called for increased indigenous representation in political and judicial bodies.

Read more:
Government Creates Special Council for Indigenous Affairs” (The Argentina Independent)
Decreto 672/2016: Consejo Consultivo y Participativo de los Pueblos Indígenas de la República Argentina. Creación.” (Ministry of Justice & Human Rights, in Spanish)
Argentina’s indigenous people face ‘appalling’ plight: U.N.” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)

(Image Credit: Resistencia Qom, via The Argentina Independent)

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)