Sexuality Policy Watch

Sexual and reproductive rights global landscape in July 2014

In 2013, Sexuality Policy Watch began a new line of work aimed at critically examining how sexuality, gender and human rights  can be located in relation to novel geopolitical and economic formations, or the so called emerging powers, in particular ‘BRICS’ and IBSA. As part of this effort SPW has attended the Civil Society Dialogue organized in parallel to the VI Summit of the Presidents of BRICS Countries in Fortaleza (July 14th-17th, 2014). From the point of SPW analytical frame it is not at all trivial that Fortaleza BRICS Summit Declaration included in its paragraph 57 language on gender equality, women’s and youth rights, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights to all, but elicited the mention to sexual rights. We also call attention to the Declaration of Women’s and Feminist Movements (in Portuguese) and to the letter issued by Brazilian human rights organizations (in Portuguese).

Another topic of global repercussions in the month of July is undoubtedly the military action of Israel in the Gaza Strip, which stretches over three weeks ago and has caused the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians. The conflict has been widely reported by the press around the world. A crucial aspect of Israeli-Palestinian conflict relates to issues of gender and sexuality.

In the context of the current conflict, we highlight two texts looking these issues from lenses that challenge dominant stereotypes. Maya Mikdashi in an article published on the website Jadaliyya interrogates the constant emphasis on “women” and “children” as victims of war and asks why Palestinian men are never perceived as victims, but a priori as suspects. Al-Qaws site published a list of 8 questions and answers about the situation of queer people in Palestine and the pinkwashing strategies that have been used for some years by the state of Israel.

But perhaps the most important news of this last cycle was the decision on August, 1st of the the Constitutional Court of Uganda’s striking down the  anti-homosexuality law. The bill, enacted earlier this year, harshly punished not only the relationships between people of the same sex, as well as homosexual intentions and the “promotion” of homosexuality. In its decision the Court considered the law unconstitutional because of procedural flaws in the voting of the bill at Parliament. This is primarily a technical decision that does not put an end to the political struggle, as the government can still appeal to the decision, or even a new similar provisions may be re-tabled.  Nevertheless this is a victory to be widely commemorated.

We recall that the Ugandan law was one of the topics covered by SPW Newsletter No. 14, which also critically examines the decision of the Indian Supreme Court in December 2013, which recriminalized relations between persons of the same sex.

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