The CSS Blog Network

Russian Applications For US Asylum Skyrocket In 2015

LGBT activists marching for gay rights in Moscow. Image: Bogomolov.PL/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 12 November, 2015.

The number of new U.S. asylum applications by Russians has reached its highest level in more than two decades, a surge that immigration lawyers link to the Kremlin’s tightening grip on politics, pervasive corruption, and discrimination and violence against sexual minorities.

Russian nationals filed 1,454 new asylum applications in the 2015 fiscal year ending September 30, up 50 percent from the previous year and more than double the number filed in 2012, when President Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin after a four-year stint as prime minister, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security data obtained by RFE/RL under the Freedom Of Information Act. » More

Ghana Moves to Arrest Homosexuals

Dangerous Signs of Affection. Photo: ebel/flickr

In a new burst of African homophobia, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo, a government minister in Ghana, has drawn much national support and international condemnation after calling on the country’s intelligence services to round up Ghana’s gay population. The move by the minister follows months of campaigning by the Christian Council of Ghana calling on Ghanaians not to vote for any politician who believes in the rights of homosexuals in the upcoming elections. The comments from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) politician come in the feverish run-up to the 2012 elections and have drawn wide support from political, religious and social leaders throughout the country, such as representatives of both the Christian as well as the Muslim clergy.

Currently, Ghana’s constitution does not extend human rights or legal protection based on sexual orientation. In fact, its criminal code contains a clause prohibiting “unnatural carnal knowledge”. This ambiguous phrase reflects a pervasive homophobia cultivated across the whole society. Even Ghana’s usually fairly vocal human rights activist community seems complacent. Amnesty International Ghana Director Laurence Amesu is refusing to take a position on the law, just like Richard Quason, the deputy commissioner of the Ghana Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

The lifestyles of gay, lesbian, bisexuals and transgender people are currently listed as criminal in 38 African countries. The call from Mr Aidoo thus marks only the latest in a series of expressions of officially condoned homophobia across the continent. » More

Gay Rights Are Human Rights, Too

LGBT rights campaign poster/Photo: IGLHRC, Picasa

Twenty years ago, on 17 May 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Yet homophobia remains on the upswing in many parts of the world.

On the occasion of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May, the ISN’s Special Reports week focuses on the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in different parts of the world.

The Special Report contains the following content:

An Analysis by Sara Kuepfer Thakkar on the discrimination and persecution of gays and lesbians in the world, with a strong focus on the reported surge of homophobia in Africa.

A Podcast interview with Jason MacFarlane of JFLAG, focusing on LGBT people’s fight for human rights in Jamaica.

Security Watch articles on gay rights issues, such as the debate in the US about lifting the ban on lesbians and gays serving openly in the US military.

Publications housed in our Digital Library, including studies on the discrimination of sexual minorities in the employment sector in Hungary and Slovakia.

Primary Resources, including the “Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.”

Links to relevant websites, such as Wikigender.

Our IR Directory featuring various organizations dealing with LGBT rights issues, such as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).