Report Condemns Treatment of Gays
Hundreds Persecuted Worldwide for Their Sexual Orientation, Amnesty Says
June 22, 2001
A Ugandan woman who was stripped, beaten and starved for three days in a
jail cell for being a lesbian is among hundreds of people persecuted worldwide
for their sexual orientation, according to a scathing Amnesty International
report released Friday.
"This report presents a stark overview of the treatment that countless
men and women suffer because of their sexual orientation," said Alex Neve,
a spokesman for report author Amnesty International.
The report, entitled Crimes of Hate, Conspiracy of Silence, documents the
treatment of gay people in more than 30 countries and provides a 12-point
program for the prevention of torture and mistreatment by police forces and
governments around the world.
"We all have a right to grow up to be the people who we are,"
said Hilary Holmes, national youth program co-ordinator for the international
human rights organization.
Central to the report are dozens of examples of human rights abuses at the
hands of state-sponsored officials in countries like Jamaica and Romania where
homosexuality remains illegal.
In Malaysia, homosexuality is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and
China only deleted homosexuality from a list of mental disorders in April
In the Bahamas, two 17-year-olds were arrested in August 1999 on suspicion
of having sex in a parked car. They were stripped and beaten with an iron bar.
The report encourages all countries to adopt laws that condemn torture and
protect and support gay human rights activists.
The report paints a stark contrast to the freedom experienced by Canadian
homosexuals, said Neve on the eve of a weekend of parades and festivities to
celebrate gay pride in Toronto.
Neve said Canadians must take initiatives that support global efforts to
halt discrimination against gay people.
Vashti Campbell, a lesbian from London, Ont., who traveled to Toronto for
pride week celebrations, applauded the groups efforts to combat worldwide
homophobia, but said more can be done to battle hate in Canada.
"I think there are cases of torture and abuse here at home too,"
As recently as June 18, Regina held its first-ever Heterosexual Family
Pride Day, focusing on anti-gay and anti-abortion messages.
Richard Elliott, co-chair of Amnestys lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgendered group, said education is a priority and the abuses must stop.
"As a community we are not going back into the closet," said
The report was also released in Montreal, Vancouver and other major cities
around the world with Amnesty offices.