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U.S. Department of State

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 8, 2006

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/

 

 

Excerpts pertaining to LGBT- and HIV/AIDS-related incidents

 

(unless otherwise specified, the excerpts below are from each country’s

Section 5 subparagraph labeled “Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination”)

 

Compiled from State Dept. reports by Richard J. Rosendall

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

 

Afghanistan

The law criminalizes homosexual activity; however, the prohibition was only sporadically enforced.

Albania

NGOs claimed that police targeted the country's homosexual community for abuse. According to the general secretary of Gay Albania, the police often arbitrarily arrested homosexuals and then physically and verbally abused them while they were in detention. According to the ombudsman's office, in June police at the Tirana police commissariat detained, insulted, and physically mistreated a member of the Gay Albania association. Medical experts verified the mistreatment, and the ombudsman's office started an investigation. No action had been taken against the police by year's end.

Angola

The law criminalizes sodomy, but most citizens tolerated homosexuality. HIV/AIDS was openly discussed. President Dos Santos inaugurated a new building for the National Institute for HIV/AIDS and was supportive of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns. Discrimination against homosexuals and those with HIV/AIDS was implicit and of an informal nature. A law that criminalizes discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS has been passed, but was not implemented by year's end. There were no reports of violence against those with HIV/AIDS. Local NGOs have formed to combat stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

Armenia

1 c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Although there was no current, reliable reporting on the full extent of military hazing, soldiers reported to human rights NGOs that the practice continued. During the year one local NGO estimated there were seven hazing incidents; other local and international NGOs insisted the number was significantly higher. Homosexuals, Yezidis (a non-Muslim, Kurdish, religious-ethnic group), and Jehovah's Witnesses also reported that they were singled out for hazing by officers and other conscripts (see sections 2.c. and 5). Authorities did not take any significant measures to limit or stop the hazing.

5  Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Military officers targeted homosexuals for hazing. The Helsinki Association reported cases of police harassment of homosexuals through blackmail, extortion, and, on occasion, violence. In 2004 Armen Avetisyan of the Union of Armenian Aryans launched a campaign to expose homosexuals within the government.

Australia

In December 2003 the NSW government released a study of violence against homosexuals, which found that more than half of the survey participants had experienced one or more forms of abuse, harassment, or violence in the previous 12 months. The report also found that two or more persons who were unknown to the victim perpetrated most incidents of harassment or violence and that homosexuals of Middle Eastern background suffered exclusion, assaults, and stalking from family or community members.

Federal and various state laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of HIV positive status. In the 12 months ending June 30, there were 9 discrimination complaints lodged with the federal disability discrimination commissioner, which is part of HREOC, on the grounds of HIV/AIDS status. These complaints also were included in the total of 523 disability-related complaints to HREOC.

Azerbaijan

The government did not officially condone discrimination based on sexual orientation; however, there was societal prejudice against homosexuals.

Bahamas

Social discrimination against homosexuals occurred. There was widespread homophobia and religiously based opposition to homosexuality. Although homosexual relations between consenting adults are legal, there was no legislation to address the human rights concerns of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered persons. The government actively promoted opposition to homosexuality.

In September Miss Teen Bahamas was stripped of her title after she said she was lesbian. Also in September public school teachers punished students wearing clothing perceived to identify them as homosexual or advocates of homosexuality. There were continued reports of job termination following disclosure of sexual orientation, as well as discrimination in housing.

Bahrain

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

According to BHRS, reports of violence or discrimination against homosexuals or persons with HIV/AIDS were not common. However, reports of crimes in the media did not regularly specify if a victim of a crime was an alleged homosexual or had HIV/AIDS. Bahraini law does not criminalize homosexual relationships between consenting adults of at least 21 years of age.

Bangladesh

The law provides for punishment for intercourse "against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal." In practice the law was rarely invoked; however, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), gay men were harassed and raped by police and local criminals without proper methods of recourse, due to societal discrimination against gays. HRW also found that gay men often faced threats of extortion. According to HRW, considerable official and societal discrimination existed against those who provided HIV prevention services, and against high-risk groups likely to spread HIV/AIDS.

Barbados

There are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, or health care. Although no statistics were available, anecdotal evidence suggested that societal discrimination against homosexuals occurred.

The government initiated programs designed to discourage discrimination against HIV/AIDS infected persons and others living with them.

Belarus

2 a. Freedom of Speech and Press

In early January the government blocked access to several Russian web sites for their alleged homosexual content.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. Homophobia was widespread, and instances of harassment occurred in all spheres of society.

The government-controlled media tried to smear the opposition by associating it with homosexuality. The media broadcast footage of a contrived demonstration by a small group of "sexual minorities" at the October 2 opposition congress along with the comments of bystanders that "gays are evil." Program announcers added comments to the effect that homosexuality goes hand-in-hand with Western paths to development.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem. HIV-infected individuals were afraid to disclose their status for fear of prejudice. Even doctors often feared AIDS and lacked knowledge about the disease. The UNDP reported that very few medical personnel dealt with HIV/AIDS patients and HIV-infected women could give birth only at one department at one hospital. In prisons, HIV-infected inmates faced strong discrimination and were segregated to minimize the risk of injury or death at the hands of other prisoners.

Belgium

Discrimination against homosexuals received considerable public and political attention. In April a Nivelles court convicted a landlord who refused to lease a house to a same-sex couple. It was the first ever conviction for discrimination against homosexuals. In May a juvenile court convicted two youngsters for physically assaulting a homosexual couple, under the law combating discrimination. The country permits homosexual marriages.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

While the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it was not enforced in practice, and there was frequent societal discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. Sexual minorities who were open about their orientation were frequently fired from their jobs. In some cases, dismissal letters explicitly stated that sexual orientation was the cause of termination, making it extremely difficult to find another job. Some gay teens were harassed at school and were kicked out or ran away from home after revealing their orientation to their parents.

Some teachers described homosexuality as deviant behavior when presenting the public school curriculum on health and sexuality to their students.

According to unreliable government statistics, there were less than a hundred cases of HIV/AIDS in the country. There was a significant stigma against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Botswana

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS continued to be a problem, including in the workplace. The government funded community organizations that ran programs to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

The law prohibits homosexuality, and there were instances of harassment of homosexuals.

Brazil

There was a history of societal violence against homosexuals. State and federal laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the federal and state governments generally enforced these laws.

The Bahian Gay Group reported that 63 homosexuals were killed between January and July, compared with 158 for all of 2004.

The Secretariat of State Security in Rio de Janeiro State in partnership with NGOs, operated a hot line and offered professional counseling services to victims of antihomosexual crimes.

Pursuant to a July 27 federal court ruling, same-sex partners in a "stable union" are eligible to receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

On June 15, the Minas Gerais Court of Justice ruled in favor of a girl whose private school enrollment was revoked in 2003 based upon her mother's HIV status; the young girl was not HIV positive. The court awarded the mother and daughter $1,500 (3,500 reais) in moral damages.

Bulgaria

Although the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the government did not effectively enforce this provision in practice. Although incidents of violence against sexual minorities were rare, societal discrimination was a problem, manifesting itself primarily as discrimination in employment. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community were often refused employment on the grounds of sexual orientation or fired after revealing their sexual identity.

In August a gay pride parade in Varna was cancelled by the organizers when vocal opposition was raised by local residents and Orthodox religious leaders.

Burkina Faso

Societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem. Persons who tested positive for HIV/AIDS were sometimes shunned by their families, and HIV/AIDS positive wives were sometimes evicted from their homes.

Burma

Many citizens viewed homosexuals with scorn. Penal code provisions against "sexually abnormal" behavior were applied to charge gays and lesbians who drew unfavorable attention to themselves. Nevertheless, homosexuals had a certain degree of protection through societal traditions. Transgender performers commonly provided entertainment at traditional observances. Some were spirit (nat) worshipers and, as such, they had special standing in the society. They participated in a well‑established week‑long festival held near Mandalay every year. The event was considered a religious event, free of sexual overtones or activities, and was officially approved by the government. No one, including the military or police, interfered with the festival.

HIV‑positive patients were discriminated against, as were the doctors who treated them.

Burundi

The constitution specifically outlaws any discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS or other incurable illnesses, and there were no reports of government-sponsored discrimination against such individuals.

The constitution bans marriage between individuals of the same sex. According to a local law professor, this same-sex marriage ban, given cultural attitudes, constitutes a legal prohibition of homosexuality. Societal discrimination against homosexuals was widespread, although they maintained a very low profile.

Cameroon

Homosexuality is illegal, with a possible prison sentence of between 6 months and 5 years and a possible fine ranging from approximately $40 to $400 (20 thousand to 200 thousand CFA francs). While prosecution under this law was rare, homosexuals suffered from harassment and extortion by law enforcement officials.

On May 22, gendarmes of the Nlongkak brigade in Yaounde arrested 17 suspected homosexuals; 5 of them were released shortly after their arrest for lack of evidence. According to the prosecutor, in June the remaining 12 were formally charged and put under detention at the Yaounde Kondengui Prison, pending their trial. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission the government ordered a "medical examination" to determine whether the men had engaged in homosexual conduct. There was no additional information on this case at year's end.

During the year there were organizations that advocated for the rights of homosexuals.

Canada

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Women

The rate of spousal violence among those who are gay or lesbian was twice that of the reported violence experienced by heterosexuals.

Central African Republic

The penal code criminalizes homosexual behavior; however, there were no reports that police arrested or detained persons they believed to be homosexual. Societal discrimination against homosexuals existed during the year.

Chad

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

While the law prohibits discrimination based on origin, race, religion, political opinion, or social status, the government did not effectively enforce these provisions. Cultural traditions kept women subordinate to men. The government favored its ethnic supporters and allies. Societal discrimination continued to be practiced against homosexuals, those afflicted with HIV/AIDS, and members of nonfavored ethnic groups.

Chile

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, including:

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

In June after a television program exposed the existence of neo-nazi groups in Chile engaging in violence and criminal activities against immigrants, homosexuals, punk rockers, and anarchists, the Human Rights Committee of the Chamber of Deputies presented a bill to initiate a congressional investigation of such movements. At year's end the bill remained pending in the chamber.

China (Taiwan only)

According to a 2003 survey conducted by the Taiwan Homosexual Human Rights Association, more than 30 percent of homosexuals said they suffered discrimination. In November 2004 some 4,500 persons took part in a rally to call for society to respect the civil rights of homosexuals. Societal discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS was a problem, and some politicians made derogatory remarks about such persons. The national health insurance provides free screening and treatment, including antiretroviral therapy, for all HIV-infected nationals.

China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)

No laws criminalize private homosexual activity between consenting adults. In 2004 prohibitions on homosexuality were dropped from regulations governing the behavior of individuals serving sentences.

Gay men and lesbians stated that official tolerance had improved in recent years. In September a university in Shanghai offered the first undergraduate course on gay and lesbian studies. In June the Beijing Gay and Lesbian Culture Festival took place; however, postponement and venue changes were threatened, which organizers claimed was due to discrimination. A subsequent festival in December was cancelled, and police raided the venue where organizers subsequently attempted to gather. Societal discrimination and strong pressure to conform to family expectations deterred most gay individuals from publicly discussing their sexual orientation. Published reports said that more than 80 percent of gay men married because of social pressure. In what officials said was a campaign against pornography, authorities blocked the US-based Web site gaychinese.net for three months. Other Internet sites on gay issues that were not sexually explicit were also blocked during the year.

In 2004 the government officially outlawed discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B. Under the new contagious disease law and adopted regulations, employment discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B is forbidden, and provisions allow such persons to work as civil servants. However, discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained widespread in many areas. Hospitals and physicians sometimes refused to treat HIV-positive patients. The government stated that there were 650 thousand persons living with HIV/AIDS, a downward revision from a 2002 estimate of 840 thousand people. The government stated the change resulted from improved data analysis and collection involving an international committee of experts.

The NGO Human Rights Watch reported discrimination against some NGOs working on HIV/AIDS and against infected persons seeking care and treatment, especially in some areas of Henan Province where thousands had been infected in government-run blood selling stations during the 1990s. Some NGOs criticized the government for failing to distribute funding, medicine, and services promised by a national program to all rural and urban poor residents with HIV/AIDS. The government and many foreign experts emphasized that the promise to provide free care to such residents was a major advance and that any problems were largely logistical as the government worked to meet its goals in care and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS. In April, 15 people were arrested as part of the illegal blood-selling schemes from the 1990s that caused the HIV infection of thousands. State-run media reported that the government closed 147 illegal blood-selling stations during the year. While the government continued to build some special detention facilities for those with HIV/AIDS, there were no public reports of discrimination against infected prisoners, such as Wang Guofang and Li Suzhou, whose mistreatment and difficulty receiving medication while in detention was a subject at the 2004 International AIDS Conference.

Congo, Republic of

The social stigma associated with homosexuality is significant. People are not openly homosexual in the country. In contrast to this, persons with HIV/AIDS are fairly well-organized and fight for fair treatment, especially regarding employment. NGOs work on HIV/AIDS issues widely, including raising public awareness that those living with HIV/AIDS are still able to be contributing members of society.

Croatia

There was some societal discrimination against homosexuals. In August one NGO reported that 11 criminal proceedings for physical assaults against homosexuals were initiated during the year. In one incident a homosexual couple was attacked by a group of teenagers who shouted offensive remarks, then severely beat up the couple. The victims, who immediately reported the incident, complained that the police were slow to react.

A 2004 survey of employers indicated that one-third would not willingly employ workers who declared themselves homosexuals.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained a problem. The Croatian Association for HIV reported that dentists and general practitioners often refused treatment of HIV positive patients and some hospitals postponed surgeries because doctors were reluctant to operate. For example, one person was waiting for hernia surgery in Zagreb since June, and another person's thyroid surgery was postponed at a hospital in Zagreb in September because a doctor refused to operate. Also, transplanting centers refused to put HIV patients on their lists of potential organ receivers.

The UN Development Program (UNDP) reported that one weekly in May published the initials and other personal information in detail sufficient to identify a cafe owner in Split suspected to be HIV positive and alleged that he was intentionally spreading AIDS. The damaged party did not take legal action against the weekly. The UNDP also reported that official health requirement rulebooks were still in place, which disqualify HIV positive from employment as merchant seamen, aircrew, and security guards.

Cuba

Societal discrimination against homosexuals persisted, as police occasionally conducted sweeps in areas where homosexuals congregated, particularly along sections of Havana's waterfront.

The government restricted persons found to be HIV-positive to sanatoriums for treatment and therapy before conditionally releasing them into the community. Even after their release, some persons with HIV/AIDS said the government monitored their movements with a de-facto chaperone to prevent the spread of the illness. HIV/AIDS sufferers also asserted that state medical professionals frequently failed to respect confidentiality, with the result that their condition was known widely throughout their neighborhoods. Some persons with HIV/AIDS said the government only offered them jobs incompatible with their medical condition.

Cyprus

Despite legal protections, homosexuals faced significant societal discrimination, and few homosexuals in the country were open about their sexual orientation. One NGO reported that there were complaints of discrimination toward homosexuals and HIV positive individuals. NGOs were reluctant to initiate awareness campaigns. During the year, there was a lack of education about HIV/AIDS. It was widely believed that HIV/AIDS is a concern only for homosexuals and intravenous drug users.

Czech Republic

Homosexuals face occasional incidents of violence, usually in Prague where they are more visible. The government took a few steps to address prejudice against gays. In December the lower house of parliament passed a law that recognizes the legal validity of gay civil partnerships.

Ecuador

Although the law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, homosexuals, transsexuals, and transvestites continued to suffer discrimination from both public and private bodies. In April the ombudsman office opened an investigation into the extent of discrimination suffered by sexual minorities.

On July 20, the homosexual rights group Friends for Life Foundation charged Guayaquil State University with requiring incoming medical students to be tested for HIV/AIDS. The group claimed that one medical school applicant who refused to submit to testing initially was denied admittance. The applicant later was admitted following a constitutional writ.

According to a credible NGO, a July police operation in Guayaquil known as "Pink Gentleman" aimed to remove transvestite and transsexual sex workers from certain upscale neighborhoods in Guayaquil. Another NGO claimed that police routinely arrested transvestites visible in these areas. The group stated that in a series of operations in July and September, 41 homosexual, transsexual, or transvestite persons had been arrested, held for 24 hours, and then released upon payment of bail. Police officials confirmed that not only prostitutes, but homosexuals who were not prostitutes, were arrested and detained for 24 hours. In response to similar complaints, the ombudsman's office opened an investigation into the September events.

Egypt

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

Although the law does not explicitly criminalize homosexual acts, police have in the past targeted homosexuals using Internet-based "sting" operations leading to arrests on charges of "debauchery." There were no reports of Internet entrapment cases during the year (see sections 1.c, 1.e., and 2.a.).

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Individuals suspected of homosexual activity and arrested on "debauchery" charges reported in 2004 and earlier of being subjected to humiliation and abuse while in custody. There were no reports during the year of this practice.

El Salvador

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of HIV status and sexual orientation, although in practice discrimination was widespread. There were reports of violence and discrimination by public and private actors against persons with HIV/AIDS, and against homosexual, lesbian, and transgender persons, including denial of legal registration for a homosexual rights advocacy group (see section 2.b.).

A July Pan-American Health Organization report revealed that HIV/AIDS patients suffered from a lack of information and supplies. Lack of public information remained a problem in confronting discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS or in assisting persons suffering from HIV/AIDS. According to a National Health Survey presented in September, only half of the population between the ages of 15 and 24 were sufficiently aware of methods for preventing HIV infection.

In July the Ministry of Health conducted a public awareness campaign regarding HIV/AIDS, using billboards, advertisements and informational events. In September the Ministry of Labor launched a campaign to eliminate labor discrimination based on pregnancy or HIV status.

Between November 7 and 11, the government hosted Central America's first regional summit on HIV/AIDS to raise awareness about the disease and available preventative measures.

In September two bodyguards of the prisons director were accused of sexually abusing a transvestite minor whom they picked up on the streets in a government vehicle. By year's end a court had ordered them released on bail pending trial.

There were no developments during the year regarding an investigation into the March 2004 separate killings of transvestite Jose Flores Natividad Duran and transvestite David Antonio Andrade Castellano.

There were no reported developments regarding an investigation into the 2003 killings of transvestites Jose Cornado Galdamez, Reyes Armando Aguilar, and Jose Roberto de Paz.

Equatorial Guinea

Societal discrimination against homosexuals occurred.

Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to be victims of societal discrimination and often kept their illnesses hidden. However, during the latter part of the year, the government and the World Health Organization cosponsored public awareness and sensitization campaigns on HIV/AIDS.

Eritrea

Homosexuals faced severe societal discrimination, and there were reports that the government expelled several expatriates in 2004 due to their sexual orientation.

Ethiopia

Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment. Instances determined to be cruel, involving coercion, or involving a minor (age 13 to 16) are punishable by not less than 3 months or more than 5 years of incarceration. Where children under 13 years of age are involved, the law provides for imprisonment of 5 to 25 years. While society did not widely accept homosexuality, there were no reports of violence against homosexuals.

Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS continued during the year.

Fiji

The constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but pre-existing statutes criminalize homosexual acts. In April a local citizen and an Australian tourist who engaged in consensual homosexual sexual activity were each sentenced to two years in prison on charges of an "unnatural offense" and "indecent practice between males." In August the convictions were overturned on appeal, but the case set off a widespread public debate, sparked in part by an aggressive campaign by the Methodist Church opposing homosexual rights.

France

Although there were isolated incidents of violence against homosexuals, the authorities pursued and punished offenders.

Germany

Despite increasing public awareness, media and reports from other sources indicated that societal and job-related discrimination against homosexuals occurred.

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS does exist primarily due to lack of understanding of the disease. The government worked with NGOs, religious groups and business to educate the public both regarding prevention, and facts about HIV/AIDS.

Ghana

The law is discriminatory toward homosexuals, and homosexuality is criminalized in the country. There is a minimum misdemeanor charge for homosexual activity, and homosexual men often are subjected to abuse in prison. In May 2004 the acting commissioner for CHRAJ publicly suggested that the government consider decriminalizing homosexuality to conform to international standards of human rights.

In April four male students were dismissed from a boy's school in Akosombo for allegedly engaging in homosexual acts. Additionally, gay and lesbian activists reported that gay men were particularly vulnerable to extortion by police.

Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem, and the fear of being stigmatized continued to discourage persons from being tested. In April 2004 the inspector general of police publicly urged all police officers to be tested voluntarily through a free service available to the police. During the year several key government representatives publicly denounced discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. In 2004 the cabinet approved a policy to protect the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Greece

The NGO Greek Homosexual Community (EOK) alleged that police often abused and harassed homosexuals and transvestites and subjected them to arbitrary identity checks and bodily searches in public places.

In December 2004 the broadcasting regulator ESR fined a radio station over insulting language used on a radio show presented by a lesbian, and the station subsequently cancelled the show. The Gay and Lesbian Community of Greece and EOK condemned the ESR ruling as homophobic and lodged complaints with the government over what it described as a discriminatory decision. The government took no action regarding the complaints.

Guatemala

1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

Police threatened persons engaged in prostitution and other commercial sexual activities with false drug charges to extort money or sexual favors and harassed homosexuals or transvestites with similar threats of false charges (see section 5). Critics accused the police of indiscriminate and illegal detentions when conducting antigang operations in specific high-crime neighborhoods. Suspected gang members allegedly were arrested and imprisoned without charges or on the basis of false drug charges, and in some instances were arrested without a warrant and not in the commission of a crime.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law does not criminalize homosexuality, but it also does not expressly include sexual orientation or HIV status among the categories prohibited from discrimination. There was social discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender persons and persons with HIV/AIDS. Homosexual rights support groups alleged that members of the police regularly waited outside clubs and bars frequented by sexual minorities and demanded that patrons and persons engaged in commercial sexual activities provide protection money. These groups also complained that police at times raped lesbians and transvestites, but that due to a lack of trust in the judicial system and out of fear of further persecution or social recrimination, victims were unwilling to file complaints.

On December 17, transvestite Juan Pablo Mendez Cartagena was shot and killed, and transvestite Kelvin Josue Alegria Robles was seriously injured in Guatemala City by persons that members of the homosexual rights group OASIS alleged were wearing police uniforms. At year's end the matter was under investigation by police authorities.

Guinea

Discrimination against homosexuals is not prohibited by law, and there are no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation. There were no reports of either the police or government agents perpetrating violence against persons with HIV/AIDS or homosexuals. Although there were deep social, religious, and cultural taboos against homosexuality, there were no official reports of discrimination against homosexuals.

There have been reports that various hospitals in the country have refused to treat patients with AIDS; hospital workers feared contracting the disease.

Haiti

Societal discrimination occurred against persons with HIV/AIDS, particularly women, but educational programs sponsored by foreign donors, including a grant to a local clinic and efforts by HIV/AIDS activists, attempted to change that stigma.

Honduras

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Freedom of Association

The law generally provides for freedom of association, and the government generally respected this right in practice; however, the criminal associations law prohibits illicit association and prescribes prison terms of 3 to 12 years (see section 4). During the year gay rights advocacy groups expressed concerns that the law prohibiting illicit associations could be used to criminalize social activities and organizations of the gay community. During the year the law prohibiting illicit associations was used to arrest individuals for being members of Mara Salvatrucha and other gangs.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Job-related age discrimination was a serious problem. There were no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation, but in practice social discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation was widespread. Representatives of the sexual diversity rights NGOs Violet Collective, the San Pedro Gay Community, Kukulcan, and the Transvestite Sex Workers Collective of San Pedro Sula asserted that their members regularly experienced abuses, beatings, killings (see section 1.a.), and other physical and verbal mistreatment from authorities. They also asserted that there was anti-gay discrimination by security forces and government agencies, and that employers used illegal discriminatory hiring practices. These groups also reported that due to intimidation, fear of reprisal, and police corruption, gay and lesbian victims of abuse were reluctant to file charges or proceed with prosecutions.

The NGO Red de Hombres Gay Positivos alleged that employers routinely ignored antidiscrimination employment laws and used testing supposedly for syphilis among employees and job applicants as a means to detect HIV status so as to weed out persons testing positive. The NGO also alleged that some Protestant churches fueled prejudice against HIV positive persons.

India

Section 377 of the Penal Code punishes acts of sodomy, buggery and bestiality; however, the law is commonly used to target, harass, and punish lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. Human rights groups stated that gay and lesbian rights were not considered legitimate human rights in the country. In November the government declined to change provisions of Section 377 outlawing homosexuality. In a response to a case being heard by the Supreme Court, the government stated, "public opinion and the current societal context in India does not favor the deletion of the said offense from the statute book." Gays and lesbians faced discrimination in all areas of society, including family, work, and education. Activists reported that in most cases, homosexuals who do not hide their orientation were fired from their jobs. Homosexuals also faced physical attacks, rape, and blackmail. Police committed crimes against homosexuals and used the threat of Section 377 to coerce victims into not reporting the incidents. The overarching nature of Section 377 allowed police to arrest gays and lesbians virtually at will. However, in July in Jharkand, two lesbians belonging to the scheduled tribes married in defiance of both law and tradition.

In September 2004 the Delhi High Court dismissed a legal challenge to Section 377. Plaintiffs filed the case in 2001 after police arrested four gay and lesbian rights workers at the NAZ Foundation International and National Aids Control Office premises in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Police charged the workers with conspiracy to commit "unnatural sexual acts" and possession of "obscene material," which was reportedly safe-sex educational materials. The workers were detained for more than 45 days and denied bail twice. The court dismissed the case, ruling that the validity of the law could not be challenged by anyone "not affected by it," as the defendants had not been charged with a sex act prohibited by law. In April despite the September 2004 challenge of Section 377 by two gay and lesbian NGOs, the NAZ Foundation International, and the National Aids Control Office, the government submitted a petition to the Supreme Court reaffirming the validity of Section 377.

Homosexuals were detained in clinics against their will and subjected to treatment aimed at curing them of their homosexuality. The NAZ Foundation filed a petition with the NHRC regarding a case in which a man was subjected to shock therapy. The NHRC declined to take the case as gay and lesbian rights were not under its purview.

Authorities estimated that HIV/AIDS had infected approximately 4.5 million persons, and there was significant societal discrimination against persons with the disease. According to the ILO, 70 percent of persons suffering from HIV/AIDS faced discrimination.

In Ahmedabad in April 2004, an HIV positive woman committed suicide at her home after allegedly being harassed by her co-workers.

HRW said that many doctors refused to treat HIV-positive children and that some schools expelled or segregated children because they or their parents were HIV-positive. Many orphanages and other residential institutions rejected HIV-positive children or denied them housing. In August the media reported that an AIDS patient, Arjun Debnath, who was initially refused admission in several hospitals in West Bengal, was chained to his hospital bed until a human rights group intervened.
In January 2004 a Mumbai High Court ruled that HIV-positive persons could not be fired on the basis of their medical status.

Indonesia

There was some societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. Some individuals received prejudicial treatment at medical centers, saw their confidential laboratory results released, or had their identity published in a newspaper. In most if not all such cases, the government failed to take corrective action. In Papua, where the incidence of HIV infection is significantly higher than elsewhere in the country, community members and even families often stigmatized and ostracized those known to be infected with the virus. However, the government encouraged tolerance, took steps to prevent new infections, and drew up plans to subsidize antiretroviral drugs.

Iran

In 2004 the judiciary formed the special protection division, a new unit that allowed volunteers to police moral crimes.

The law prohibits and punishes homosexuality; sodomy between consenting adults is a capital crime. The punishment of a non-Muslim homosexual is harsher if the homosexual's partner is Muslim. In July two teenage boys, one 16 and one 18 years of age, were publicly executed; they were charged with raping a 13-year-old boy. A number of groups outside the country alleged the two were executed for homosexuality; however, because of the lack of transparency in the court system, there was no concrete information (see section 1.c.). In November domestic conservative press reported that two men in their twenties were hanged in public for lavat (defined as sexual acts between men). The article also said they had a criminal past, including kidnapping and rape. It was not possible to judge whether these men were executed for homosexuality or other crimes.

According to the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights, the justice system did not actively investigate charges of homosexuality. There were known meeting places for homosexuals, and there had been no recent reports of homosexuals executed. However, the group acknowledged it was possible that a case against a homosexual could be pursued. Conversely, the London-based homosexual rights group OutRage! claimed over four thousand homosexuals had been executed in the country since the Islamic revolution in 1979. A September 29 Western newspaper gave one man's account of a systematic effort by security agents and basiji to use Internet sites to entrap homosexuals.

According to health ministry statistics, by year's end there were 12,556 registered HIV-positive persons in the country, mostly men, but unofficial estimates were much higher. Transmission was primarily through shared needles by drug users, and a recent study showed shared injection inside prison to be a particular risk factor. There was a free anonymous testing clinic in Tehran, government-sponsored low-cost or free methadone treatment, including in prisons. The government supported programs for AIDS awareness and did not interfere with private HIV-related NGOs. Contraceptives were available at health centers as well in pharmacies. Nevertheless, persons infected with HIV were discriminated against in schools and workplaces.

Israel and the occupied territories

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

On March 23, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders protested against a gay pride march planned for Jerusalem in June. On June 26, the Jerusalem District Court ordered the Jerusalem municipality to permit the gay pride march. During the June 30 march, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants. Police arrested Yishai Shlifel and charged him with three counts of attempted murder. His trial was scheduled to continue in January 2006. In April unknown arsonists damaged a Jerusalem nightclub catering to homosexuals. According to the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, at year's end police had made no arrests and the investigation had not advanced.

In April the government announced a policy of recognizing same-sex couples with children as a family for purposes of receiving housing aid. The government also did not challenge a 2004 Nazareth District Court decision recognizing same-sex partners for the purposes of inheritance rights.

The Occupied Territories (Including Areas Subject To The Jurisdiction Of The Palestinian Authority)

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

There is no legal discrimination against homosexuals, and there were no specific reports of abuse because of sexual orientation. However, cultural traditions and religion reject homosexuality, and Palestinians alleged that public and PA security officers harassed, abused, and sometimes arrested homosexuals because of their sexual orientation.

Italy

There was at least one allegation of official discrimination against homosexuals. In June a trial began for a homosexual who claimed that personnel in the ministries of defense and transport had his drivers' license revoked because of his sexual orientation. The trial was ongoing at year's end.

Jamaica

The Offenses against the Person Act prohibits "acts of gross indecency" (generally interpreted as any kind of physical intimacy) between men, in public or in private, which are punishable by 10 years in prison. Although Prime Minister Patterson stated that the country would not be pressured to change its antihomosexual laws, in October a parliamentary committee proposed a combined national public debate on the legality of homosexuality and prostitution as matters of public health.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) continued to report allegations of human rights abuses, including police harassment, arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of homosexual patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of homosexuals. Police often did not investigate such incidents. J-FLAG documented a number of instances of homophobic violence during the year, some of which resulted in charges brought to court, while others were never reported to authorities by reason of fear.

On November 30, Lenford "Steve" Harvey, who operated Jamaican AIDS Support for Life, was killed on the eve of World AIDS Day. At least four men broke into Harvey's home, stole items, and kidnapped Harvey. Two of Harvey's associates who were in the home at the time reported that they were asked if they were gay; they answered negatively but Harvey did not reply, and the intruders took him from his home. Several hours later he was found shot to death in a rural area some miles from his home. At year's end the police had a number of suspects under investigation. A senior JCF official familiar with the Harvey killing reported that the suspects were also linked to other similar robbery-murders whose victims were apparently heterosexual, and he cautioned against categorizing Harvey's death as a hate crime pending further evidence. The JCF appointed political ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair as an independent civilian monitor to oversee the investigation.

In December a homophobic mob allegedly chased homosexual Nokia Cowen off a pier at Kingston Harbor where he drowned. At year's end the police had not identified any suspects in the killing.

In June 2004 Brian Williamson, a prominent homosexual rights activist and founding member of J-FLAG, was found stabbed to death at his home in Kingston. Human rights groups believed that the brutality of Williamson's death indicated a hate crime, but the JCF maintained that the crime was a robbery. A suspect remained in custody at year's end awaiting trial.

Also in June 2004 a group of armed men, reportedly including famous dancehall artist Mark Myrie, a.k.a. Buju Banton, forced their way into a house in Kingston and beat six men while shouting homophobic insults. Banton plead not guilty to the charges on September 21, and was released on less than $1 thousand (J$50 thousand) bail. The court extended Myrie's bail on September 30 and again on October 19, when the court relaxed its conditions, requiring that he report to his local police station once per week.

Male inmates deemed by prison wardens to be homosexual are held in a separate facility for their protection. The method used for determining their sexual orientation is subjective and not regulated by the prison system, although inmates were said to admit their homosexuality for their own safety. There were numerous reports of violence against homosexual inmates, perpetrated both by the wardens and by other inmates, but few inmates sought recourse through the prison system.

Homosexual men were hesitant to report incidents against them because of fear for their physical wellbeing. Human rights NGOs and government entities agreed that brutality against homosexuals, both by police and private citizens, was widespread in the community.

No laws protected persons living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination. Human rights NGOs reported severe stigma and discrimination against this group. Although health care facilities were prepared to handle patients with HIV/AIDS, health care workers often neglected such patients.

Jordan

Societal discrimination against homosexuals existed.

Kazakhstan

Although there were no press reports or official statistics on sexual orientation discrimination, there were reports of such discrimination. Representatives of international organizations reported social attitudes towards marginalized groups, including homosexuals, impeded these groups' willingness to come forward and consequently their access to HIV/AIDS programs.

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS; however, observers report that cultural stigmas against drug users and other at-risk groups continue to affect general access to information, services, treatment and care.

Kenya

There was societal discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDS. A lingering stigma toward persons with HIV/AIDS made it difficult for many families to admit that their members were HIV positive. The government worked in cooperation with international donors on programs of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

Kuwait

Discrimination surfaced against homosexuals in societal attitudes and legal issues. In February police charged a group of 28 alleged homosexuals with creating a public disturbance after they met outside a fast-food restaurant.

Unmarried men faced housing discrimination based solely on marital status. Emiri decree 125 of 1992 prohibits single men from obtaining accommodation in many urban residential areas as determined by the Municipal Council. On September 10, the Council of Ministers approved a plan to construct housing for noncitizen single males on the outskirts of the capital and remove them from urban residential areas.

Kyrgyz Republic

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, although in practice there was discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals.

Laos

Within lowland Lao society, there was wide and growing tolerance of homosexual practice, although societal discrimination persisted.

There was no official discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, but social discrimination existed. The government actively promoted tolerance of those with HIV/AIDS, and during the year it conducted awareness campaigns to educate the population and promote understanding toward such persons.

Latvia

Societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. For example, in July the Riga city government, after coming under criticism from the prime minister, various political parties, and religious groups, revoked the permit that it had issued for the country's first gay pride parade. Although a local court eventually reinstated the permit, the prime minister criticized the planned parade, stating that the country is founded on Christian ethics and that holding the parade would be inappropriate. The transport minister called for the removal of Riga's mayor for complying with the court order.

Lebanon

Discrimination against homosexuals existed during the year. The law prohibits unnatural sexual intercourse, which is punishable by up to one year in prison. The law was sometimes applied to homosexuals. Citizens' sexual preferences reflected societal norms, not legal rulings. There are no discriminatory laws against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Lithuania

Local human rights organizations reported that homosexuals suffered permanent social exclusion. Members of the homosexual community reported discrimination because of their sexual orientation. Homosexuals suffered physical abuse on the street.

In September an informal organization, the Union of Honor and Nation, together with some radical public figures, held a demonstration against homosexuals, gay pride and gay rights parades, and the spread of homosexuality in the country. Local human rights organizations called the demonstration an instigation of enmity, which the law prohibits. The municipality that granted the demonstration permit stated that the organizers had not provided information about the hostile nature of the event.

Macedonia

There was societal prejudice against homosexuals.

Malawi

Homosexuality is illegal, although there were no prosecutions for homosexuality during the year.

Societal discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS was widespread and inhibited access to treatment; many individuals preferred to keep silent about their health rather than seek help and risk being ostracized. On June 1, the industrial relations court in Lilongwe ruled that an employer had discriminated against an HIV positive worker whom he fired after learning of her illness. The employer complied with the court decision to award 8 months' compensation to the worker.The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MOLVT) conducted a public relations program to reduce the stigma associated with having HIV/AIDS.

Malaysia

Although there are no laws that prohibit homosexuality, laws against sodomy and "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" exist and were enforced. Religious and cultural taboos against homosexuality were widespread. The government's response to HIV/AIDS was generally nondiscriminatory, although stigmatization of AIDS sufferers was common.

Maldives

The law prohibits homosexuality, and citizens did not generally accept homosexuality. The punishment for men includes banishment from 9 months to 1 year or whipping from 10 to 30 times. For women, the punishment is house arrest for nine months to one year.

There were no reports of official or societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.

Mali

Freedom of Association

The law provides for freedom of association, and the government generally respected this right in practice; however, the law prohibits association deemed immoral. Citing this law, on June 17, the governor of the District of Bamako refused to officially recognize a homosexual association.

Other Social Abuses and Discrimination

In June the governor of Bamako refused to grant official recognition to a gay association (see section 2.b.).

Mauritania

There was no evidence of either societal violence or systematic former or transitional governments' discrimination directed at practicing homosexuals. Although Shari'a outlaws homosexuality under certain conditions, secular laws did not. The former and transitional governments did not arrest or prosecute any homosexuals during the year.

There was no evidence of systematic discrimination by either society or government against persons with HIV/AIDS; however, taboos and beliefs associated with the disease caused victims in some areas to face isolation or exclusion.

Mexico

While homosexuals experienced a growing social acceptance, the National Center to Prevent and Control HIV/AIDS (CONASIDA) stated that discrimination persisted. Homophobic beliefs and practices were common, reflected principally in entertainment media programs and everyday attitudes. Reports of attacks against homosexuals and transsexuals were frequent.

The law prohibits several types of discrimination, including bias based on sexuality, and requires federal agencies to promote tolerance. In April the government launched a radio campaign to fight homophobia with material prepared by the CONASIDA.

A nationwide government survey released in May recorded that 44 percent of respondents said they would not share a house with an HIV-positive person, and 42 percent would not seek government intervention if their town banned homosexuals.

There were several incidents of harassment of, violent attacks on, and killing of homosexuals. On June 21, unknown assailants stabbed and killed Octavio Acuna while he worked in his condom shop in Queretaro. Acuna was a prominent human rights activist who campaigned for the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS and worked for a sexual education association; the legal representative of the Queretana Association for Sexual Education, to which Octavio belonged, said that she considered Octavio's killing an act of homophobia. An investigation continued at year's end.

Moldova

There were reports of governmental and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation.

According to Gender-DocM, lack of community recognition, negative media portrayals, and condemnation by the Orthodox Church often led to public ostracism of gays, lesbians, and their families. On May 16, Chisinau authorities refused to issue a permit for a peaceful demonstration in support of antidiscrimination legislation for sexual minorities during the country's fourth annual gay pride events, reasoning that the country already had a law protecting minorities, and thus there was no reason for the demonstration.

Gender-DocM reported several incidents of gay children being asked to leave home by their parents and of villages shunning a family because of a gay child. The NGO reported that schoolteachers and university professors have been dismissed due to their homosexuality and that police regularly threatened gays and lesbians with public exposure if they did not pay bribes.

In Transnistria, homosexuality was illegal, and gays and lesbians were subject to governmental and societal discrimination.

Several NGOs reported instances of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDs, particularly in rural villages.

Namibia

The unimplemented 2004 Labor Act did not specifically enumerate homosexuals as a group protected from employment discrimination, and such discrimination occurred. During the year senior government officials continued to make disparaging public remarks about homosexuals. For example, on September 27, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Mushelenga said that homosexuals were a "slap in the face of African culture." Her remarks sparked wide criticism in the media and by human rights groups.

Nepal

The country does not have any laws that specifically criminalize homosexuality; however, government authorities, especially police, sometimes harassed and abused homosexuals. For example, on April 13, police attacked 18 metis (a traditional term for males who dress and identify as women) who were walking toward a festival in Kathmandu, according to the Blue Diamond Society, a Nepali NGO that works to protect against discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered communities.

Netherlands, The

Homosexuals faced increasing harassment in the larger cities, primarily from pockets of Muslim youth. Harassment consisted largely of verbal epithets and abuse.

Nigeria

Homosexuality is illegal under federal law; homosexual practices are punishable by prison sentences of up to 14 years. In the 12 northern states that have adopted Shari'a, adults convicted of having engaged in homosexual intercourse are subject to execution by stoning, although no such sentences were imposed.

There was widespread discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, which the public considered a result of immoral behavior. Persons living with HIV/AIDS often lost their jobs or were denied health care services.

Pakistan

Homosexual intercourse is a criminal offence; however, the government rarely prosecuted cases.

Homosexuals did not reveal openly their sexual orientation, and there were no allegations during the year of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Those suffering from HIV/AIDS faced broad societal discrimination. While the government has launched education and prevention campaigns, these have done little to protect victims.

Panama

A 1920 law prohibiting homosexuality was not enforced. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS in employment and education, but discrimination continued to be common due to ignorance of the law and of HIV/AIDS. The government provided treatment for HIV/AIDS in at least 80 percent of cases through the Ministry of Health and Social Security, but the government had problems maintaining retroviral medication in stock. The New Men and Women of Panama, a gay rights group, however, averred that employers discriminated against openly gay people. There were no reported incidents of harassment or other abuse against the approximately 200 persons who participated in a gay pride march on June 24 in Panama City.

Peru

Despite the absence of formal prohibitions, homosexuals faced extensive discrimination. There were indications during the year that homosexual rights gained a higher profile. On July 16, several hundred lesbians, homosexuals, and bisexuals marched in downtown Lima for the fourth consecutive year. Congresswoman Cecilia Tait, author of a draft law prohibiting sexual discrimination, addressed the marchers. Press reports announced the formation of a group of parents of homosexuals designed to promote understanding of homosexual family members and to provide mutual support.

Poland

Right-wing groups attempted on several occasions to disrupt gay pride marches. In May the mayor of Warsaw, Lech Kaczynski, denied approval of a gay rights parade organized by the Equality Foundation, a consortium of gay-rights groups, stating that he would not allow the promotion of gay culture. Despite the denial, on June 11, gay rights activists held a peaceful equality parade during which they complained about the discrimination they experienced in their everyday lives. Marchers were assaulted with objects such as rocks thrown by antigay demonstrators led by the ultraconservative All Poland's Youth League. In September a Warsaw court ruled that the mayor's refusal to issue a permit for the equality parade was illegal. In December the organizers of the parade filed a claim with the ECHR arguing that the country had violated three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case was pending at year's end.

On November 15, the mayor of Poznan, Ryszard Grobelny, refused to issue a permit for an equality march in that city. The mayor cited security concerns, but the NGO attributed the refusal to social intolerance of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. On November 20, despite the denial of the permit, several hundred people demonstrated in support of gay rights. The activists were harassed, reportedly by members of the All Poland's Youth League, who threw eggs and rocks and made verbal threats that were both homophobic and anti-Semitic in nature. Sixty-eight of the gay rights activists were arrested by police and interrogated about their participation before being released. Approximately one hundred of the violent counterdemonstrators were asked by police for identification in case police decided to investigate further.

On November 25, AI issued a public statement expressing concern over the local "climate of intolerance" against the LGBT community. The statement also criticized the abolition of the office of the plenipotentiary for equal rights for men and women.

There was discrimination against HIV-positive persons. The national AIDS center reported several minor cases of discrimination against HIV-positive persons in the units supervised and funded by the center. The center intervened when complaints were found to be justified.

Portugal

5 Children

The high-profile trial of a pedophilia operation at the Casa Pia children's home in Lisbon that began in November 2004 continued at year's end. The 8 defendants faced charges ranging from procurement and rape to homosexual acts with adolescents and sexual abuse of minors for abusing 46 children.

Trafficking of children for sexual exploitation and forced labor remained a problem (see section 5, Trafficking).

Romania

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Media and human rights organizations reported that the abuse of prisoners by authorities and other prisoners continued to be a problem. There were reports that at the prison in Jilava, prisoners with few or no visitors were often the victims of physical and sexual abuse by other prisoners, due to the inability of the victims to obtain outside support, including through filing complaints.

The government continued limited efforts, including partnerships with NGOs, to alleviate harsh conditions and to deter the spread of HIV and tuberculosis. With funding from the European Union (EU), the government upgraded five prison hospitals, equipping them to detect infections more rapidly. The government also provided segregated cells for self-declared homosexual prisoners at the maximum security penitentiary in Adjud to better ensure their safety, and offered higher education courses for prisoners to continue their studies.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

NGOs reported that police abuse and societal discrimination against homosexuals was common (see section 1.c.) and that open hostility prevented the reporting of some harassment and discrimination. Members of the gay and lesbian community also voiced concerns about discrimination in public education and health care systems, and about the possibility that young LGBT persons were being involuntarily referred to psychiatric institutions based on their parents' decisions.


During the "march of diversity" gay parade held in Bucharest on May 29, an unidentified person assaulted an actor who was filming for his weekly show, mistaking him for a participant in the event. The New Right (Noua Dreapta), an organization with extremist and xenophobic views, sponsored an authorized demonstration during the parade, carrying anti-gay banners and chanting deprecatory slogans. Some members of the New Right also physically assaulted participants in the parade. The police arrested and fined the New Right leader, Tudor Ionescu, and the other assailants approximately $1 thousand (ROL 30 million).

The law prohibits discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS. The national union of the organizations of persons affected by HIV/AIDS (UNOPA) issued two monitoring reports for the year based on interviews with persons living with HIV/AIDS. For the period between January and March, UNOPA reported that 438 out of approximately 1,000 individuals interviewed had encountered human rights violations; this figure included 156 cases of denied access to medical care on the pretext of medicine shortages at the hospital level, 269 cases of delays in the provision of subsidized food and social welfare allowances, and 8 cases of breach of confidentiality. For the period between April and September, UNOPA reported that 795 out of 2,407 individuals interviewed had encountered human rights violations.

During the year the government cooperated with international organizations to implement a national AIDS strategy by conducting conferences and disseminating brochures to raise public awareness of the disease.

Russia

Persons with HIV/AIDS often encountered discrimination. Federal AIDS law contains antidiscrimination provisions, but these were frequently not enforced. HRW reported that HIV-positive mothers and their children faced discrimination in accessing healthcare, employment, and education. Persons with HIV/AIDS found themselves alienated from their families, employers, and medical service providers. For example, a 2003 study of 470 citizens with HIV found that 10 percent had been forced to leave home by their families, 30 percent had been refused health care and 10 percent had been fired.

Although homosexuality is not illegal, many male homosexuals continued to suffer discrimination from all levels of society. Medical practitioners continued to limit or refuse their access to health services due to intolerance and prejudice. According to recent studies, male homosexuals were often refused work due to their sexuality. Openly gay men were targets for skinhead aggression, which was often met with law enforcement indifference.

Sao Tome and Principe

There was societal discrimination against homosexuals. Persons with HIV/AIDS were generally rejected by the communities in which they lived and shunned by their families. However, the government provides free AIDS testing and distributed antiretroviral drugs to some patients.

Saudi Arabia

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

In a similar case in 2001, Muhammad al-Suhaimi, a teacher in an intermediate school, was suspended from teaching and was told not to talk to the media after reportedly engaging in a discussion with students about love in relation to marriages in the country and in relation to God. Authorities accused him of encouraging students to engage in homosexuality and to commit adultery. In a subsequent trial in 2001, al-Suhaimi was sentenced to three years in prison and 300 lashes, but appealed the conviction. He began serving his sentence during the year and served two weeks in prison before receiving a pardon from King Abdullah on December 8.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Under Shari'a as interpreted in the kingdom, sexual activity between two people of the same gender is punishable by death or flogging. The law also prohibits men from behaving like women or wearing women's clothes and women from wearing men's clothes (see section 1.c.).

Although the media has been urged to discourage discrimination against AIDs patients and those infected with HIV, the press reported that the government failed to provide proper medical treatment to HIV positive noncitizens and treated them poorly until their deportation. The Ministry of Health has set up three HIV centers that provided diagnostic and preventive services

Senegal

Homosexuals face widespread discrimination and social intolerance, but they are not targeted for violence and harassment. Because homosexuality is not tolerated by society, homosexuals make no attempt to assert their individual rights.

As a result of awareness campaigns to combat this disease, persons with HIV or AIDS were not discriminated against. In fact, the government has implemented a free anti-retroviral program to treat HIV/AIDS patients. However, they often feel stigmatized. One local doctor estimated that approximately four thousand people with HIV or AIDS have refused to identify themselves and benefit from the government program for fear of being rejected by others.

Serbia and Montenegro

Violence and discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. The media carried slurs against homosexuals. Some NGOs reported that homosexuals were denied equal opportunities in education and employment. A survey by the Youth Initiatives for Human Rights indicated that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons experienced widespread threats, hate speech, verbal assault, and physical violence.

Sierra Leone

There was no official discrimination based on persons being HIV/AIDS positive; however, persons with HIV/AIDS were stigmatized in society.

The law prohibits homosexual acts, and there was both official and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation. On November 29, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children's Affairs condemned same-sex marriage at an Inter-Religious Council meeting.

In October 2004 a prominent gay activist was killed in her office. The activist's recently-dismissed domestic employee was arrested and charged with the crime. On July 11, the defendant, along with approximately 24 other prisoners, escaped custody. At year's end the defendant was still at large.

Singapore

2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Freedom of Assembly

In July police disapproved the permit for the fourth annual gay and lesbian beach festival, after having approved the festival in prior years. … In March the MICA minister upheld an MDA decision not to allow a concert organized by a gay group to raise money for HIV/AIDs.

5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Some individuals with HIV/AIDS claimed that they were socially marginalized and faced employment discrimination if they revealed they were suffering from the disease. The government discouraged discrimination, supported initiatives that countered misperceptions about HIV/AIDS, and praised employers that welcomed workers with HIV/AIDS. In July police disapproved the permit for the fourth annual gay and lesbian beach festival, after having approved the festival in prior years. In March the MICA minister upheld an MDA decision not to allow a concert organized by a gay group to raise money for HIV/AIDs.

Slovenia

The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation; however, such societal discrimination was widespread, and isolated cases of violence against homosexuals occurred. A 2004 poll conducted by the Peace Institute of members of the gay and lesbian community found that 53 percent of respondents had experienced verbal, sexual, or physical harassment because of their sexual orientation.

On June 26, multiple assailants attacked and beat three patrons of a Ljubljana club for homosexuals. Police arrested several suspects but later released them because the victims did not want to press charges.

On July 2, after a gay pride parade, two persons were attacked and severely beaten near the Ljubljana train station, while two others were attacked and beaten in downtown Ljubljana. In all three incidents, the attackers taunted and harassed their victims for being gay. Police arrested several suspects but later released them because the victims did not want to press charges.

South Africa

There was some official and societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals; however, unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that police raped, beat, or assaulted homosexuals.

Although the government conducted campaigns to reduce or eliminate discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, the social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS remained a general problem. There were reports of the abuse of HIV‑infected individuals by their families and communities.

Sri Lanka

The law criminalizes homosexual activity between men and between women, but the law was not enforced. NGOs working on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues did not register with the government. During the year human rights organizations reported that police harassed, extorted money or sexual favors from, and assaulted gay men in Colombo and other areas.

There was no official discrimination against those who provided HIV prevention services or against high-risk groups likely to spread HIV/AIDS, although there was societal discrimination against these groups.

Sudan

Homosexuality is a crime, but no one has been prosecuted on the charge; there is societal but not official discrimination against homosexuals.

Suriname

Although the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there were reports that homosexuals continued to suffer from employment discrimination. Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to experience societal discrimination in employment and medical services. Hospital workers and other health professionals were reluctant to treat infected persons. Barbers and taxi drivers declined to provide services to children from a home for HIV-infected children.

The steering committee established in 2004 by the Ministry of Health, consisting of officials from the Ministries of Health, Social Affairs, Finance, Education, and Planning and Development Cooperation, continued working on the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS along with a newly revamped National AIDS Program. An interagency working group, consisting of representatives from NGOs, government, and civil society, was tasked with reducing stigmatization of HIV/AIDS victims. In June the then minister of labor spoke out against HIV/AIDS-based employment discrimination during a workshop organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and trade unions. In December the first voluntary HIV counseling and testing site opened in Albina, in the eastern part of the country, and the government launched a successful know-your-status campaign to encourage voluntary testing.

Swaziland

Societal discrimination against homosexuals was prevalent, and homosexuals often concealed their sexual preferences. There is a social stigma associated with being HIV positive, and this discouraged persons from being tested; however, education was slowly eroding the cultural prejudice.

Sweden

Societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals was a problem. In 2004 police received reports of 614 crimes with homophobic motive, a 117 percent increase from 2003. The NGO EXPO stated that the trend of increasing violence against homosexuals is continuing, but police authorities noted that the significant statistical increase for 2004 reflected in large part a change in reporting methodologies. The ombudsman against discrimination because of sexual orientation reported 87 cases during the year, up from 48 cases in 2004, but below the 137 cases reported in 2003.

Tanzania

In Zanzibar the law outlaws homosexuality and lesbianism. The law establishes a penalty of up to 25 years of imprisonment for men who engage in homosexual relationships, and 7 years for women in lesbian relationships. By year's end there were no reports that anyone was punished under the law; however, homosexuals faced societal discrimination.

During the year the Tanzania Parliamentarians' AIDS Coalition addressed discrimination against persons infected with HIV/AIDS. However, there were reports that discrimination in housing, healthcare, and education continued to occur against the estimated 3.5 million persons in the country living with HIV/AIDS. There were isolated reports that private employers fired or did not hire persons based on the perception that they had HIV/AIDS. The government, working with NGOs, continued to sensitize the public about HIV/AIDS-related discrimination.

Thailand

HIV/AIDS was estimated to have infected approximately 1.5 percent of the population. During the year the government took measures to improve its support of persons with HIV/AIDS. For the first time the government began providing anti-retroviral drugs as part of the country's universal health care plan. The plan was projected to benefit 100 thousand HIV/AIDS sufferers. In September the government also approved a $83 million (3.41 billion baht) program for increased public education concerning HIV/AIDS, including funds targeted at high-risk groups such as sex workers, young persons and gay males. The government provided funds to HIV/AIDS support groups and continued public debate at the highest levels of political leadership. Societal discrimination against persons with AIDS most often was found in the form of a psychological stigma associated with rejection by family, friends, and community. In previous years local AIDS hot lines received reports that some employers refused to hire persons who tested positive following employer-mandated blood screening.

Tonga

Openly homosexual behavior faced societal discrimination.

Turkey

While the law does not explicitly discriminate against homosexuals, representatives of the gay and lesbian rights organizations Lambda Istanbul and Kaos GL claimed that vague references in the law relating to "the morals of society" and "unnatural sexual behavior" were sometimes used to punish homosexuality. Gay and lesbian rights activists maintained that homosexuals risked losing their jobs if they disclosed their sexual orientation and said the law did not protect their rights in such circumstances.

In September the Ankara governor's office applied to the public prosecutor for the closure of Kaos GL after the organization applied for association status. The governor's office maintained that the organization's name and the goals stated in its bylaw--including the defense of gay and lesbian rights--were against the moral values of the country. However, the prosecutor's office, citing international conventions on human rights, determined in October that the organization had not violated the law, and the organization became a legal association.

Turkmenistan

There was a strong societal dislike of homosexuality. Homosexuality between men is illegal and punishable by up to two years in prison; it was believed that homosexuality between women would also be considered illegal, although it is not specifically written in law.

Uganda

Homosexuals faced widespread discrimination and legal restrictions. It is against the law for homosexuals to engage in sexual acts, based on a legal provision that criminalizes carnal acts against the "order of nature" with a penalty of life imprisonment.

In January the Anti‑Homophobie Africaine, a local NGO whose aim is to protect and promote the rights of persons with a minority sexual orientation, applied for registration with the NGO Board; the registration had not been granted by year's end.

On July 6, parliament amended Article 31 of the constitution to prohibit homosexual marriage.

Persons with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination among local communities and employers. International and local NGOs, in cooperation with the government, sponsored public awareness campaigns that aimed to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS. Counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS was free and available at health centers and local NGOs across the country. Counselors encouraged patients to be tested with their partners and family so that they all received information about living with HIV/AIDS. Persons living with HIV/AIDS formed support groups to promote awareness in their local communities.

Ukraine

The media reported on March 22 that the anti-Semitic MAUP expelled a gay student from its law college because the student had circulated leaflets among fellow students calling for the protection of the rights of gays and lesbians. The gay student sued MAUP. On August 19, the Holosivskiy District Court in Kiev ruled in favor of the student and ordered MAUP to pay him compensation of $120 (UAH 600). The student subsequently transferred to Kiev State University.

There were no indications that two cases of possible mistreatment of homosexuals were being pursued by the authorities. One case involved a February 2004 complaint to the ombudsman's office by two gay men about harassment by police in Volyn Region. The other was the suspicious death in September 2004 of a gay man in Kryvyy Rih while in police custody.

From September 30 until October 3, Nash Mir, the country's leading NGO that advocates for gays and lesbians, hosted a conference in Kiev to publicize the results of a one‑year study, financed by the EU and the International Renaissance Foundation, on discrimination against homosexuals. The final results were based on more than 900 interviews and questionnaires involving homosexuals of different sexes, ages, places of residence, and social status. It concluded that homosexuals were generally treated with prejudice in Ukrainian society. It noted that homosexuals faced discrimination from law enforcement agencies and the country's health care workers, among others, and that the media frequently provided a "distorted representation" of persons with nontraditional sexual orientations.

Persons living with HIV/AIDS continued to face discrimination in the workplace, job loss without legal recourse, harassment by law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial authorities, and social isolation and stigmatization within their communities.

United Arab Emirates

Although both civil law and Shari'a criminalize homosexual activity, in general, reports of discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation were not widespread. However, on November 23, Abu Dhabi Police arrested 26 allegedly homosexual men--UAE nationals, Arabs, and Asians--who had gathered at an Abu Dhabi hotel for a party. Government officials reportedly said that the men were transferred to the ministry's Social Support Center and would "be given the necessary treatment, from male hormone injections to psychological therapies" after their trial. The Ministry of Interior later disavowed this statement. At year's end the case was not yet resolved.

Uzbekistan

There was social stigma against HIV/AIDS patients. However, there were NGOs that assisted and protected the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS. In October the government, in cooperation with UN agencies and NGOs, launched a national HIV/AIDS prevention program aimed at increasing awareness of the disease and curbing its spread. President Karimov's daughter, Lola Karimova, was a prominent spokesperson for the campaign.

Homosexual activity is a crime punishable by up to three years' imprisonment. Some homosexuals reportedly left the country seeking a more tolerant environment.

Vietnam

There was no evidence of official discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, but there was substantial widespread societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. There were multiple credible reports that persons with HIV/AIDS lost jobs or suffered from discrimination in the workplace or in finding housing. In a few cases children of persons with HIV/AIDS were barred from schools.

Zambia

The law prohibits "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature", but it does not specifically outlaw homosexuality. There was societal discrimination against homosexuals.

The government actively discouraged societal discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS; however, there was strong societal discrimination against such individuals, and much of the population believed that persons infected with HIV/AIDS should not be allowed to work.

Zimbabwe

Over a period of years, President Mugabe has publicly denounced homosexuals, blaming them for "Africa's ills." Although there is no statutory law proscribing the activities of homosexuals, common law prevents homosexual men, and to a lesser extent, lesbians, from fully expressing their sexual orientation and, in some cases, criminalizes the display of affection between men.

On August 5, unidentified men approached the Gays and Lesbians Association (GALZ) exhibit at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair and stated that GALZ was not allowed to be there. They then entered the book fair offices where they threatened staff. Subsequently, they returned to the GALZ stand and seized GALZ literature. GALZ members sought assistance from police officers and security guards patrolling the gardens, but they refused to intervene. The GALZ staff recognized that they would receive no assistance and withdrew from the fair. GALZ staff reported that they believed the government had sent the group. No subsequent action was taken against those who threatened the GALZ members.

The authorities took no action following the incident at the August 2004 Book fair when a mob chased members of GALZ from their exhibit.

The government has a national HIV/AIDS policy that prohibits discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, and the law aims to protect against discrimination of workers in the private sector and parastatals. Despite these provisions societal discrimination against persons affected by HIV/AIDS remained a problem. Although there was an active information campaign by international and local NGOs, the Ministry of Health, and the National AIDS Council to destigmatize HIV/AIDS, ostracism and condemnation of those affected by HIV/AIDS continued.

 

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