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HRW: Kyrgyzstan police targeting gay men for abuse

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday released a report [text, PDF] detailing abuses against gay and bisexual men at the hands of police in Kyrgyzstan [HRW profile]. The report, entitled, "They Told Us We Deserved This: Police Violence against Gay and Bisexual Men in Kyrgyzstan," found that gay and bisexual men have been subjected to abuses including physical, sexual and psychological violence, arbitrary detention and extortion under the threat of violence by police officers, despite the decriminalization of consensual sex between men in 1998. HRW stated in a press release [text] that they have been unable to find a single case where an offending officer was held accountable. In the press release, Anna Kirey, a researcher for HRW, called for an end to police abuse in order to ensure that gay and bisexual men are afforded adequate protection under the law.

LGBT individuals have gained increased rights globally in the last decade, but many still face discrimination and criminal punishment throughout the world. In late December human rights activists from various international organizations called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani [JURIST report] to end the country's persecution of LGBT Iranians in a letter citing various attacks and rights violations. In September the first UN ministerial meeting [JURIST report] on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals was held during the General Assembly's annual high-level debate. Also in September US Secretary of State John Kerry announced [JURIST report] that the US will begin processing same-sex visa applications the same way opposite-sex visa applications are processed. Speaking at the US embassy in London, Kerry stated, "As long as a marriage has been performed in the jurisdiction that recognizes it, then that marriage is valid under US immigration laws." In June Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian] signed into law[JURIST report] a bill banning the promotion of "homosexual propaganda" among minors. The law also imposes fines [AFP report] of up to 5,000 rubles (USD $166) and creates the power to suspend legal entities for 90 days for citizens who disseminate information suggesting that homosexuality is "socially equivalent" to heterosexuality.

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