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HRW: India must strengthen transgender rights bill

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] issued a letter [text, PDF] Tuesday to the Indian Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment [official website], urging it to strengthen provisions of the 2015 Rights of Transgender Persons Bill [text, PDF]. In the letter, dated last week, HRW South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly [official profile] argues that the new bill is a large step forward for transgender rights, but states that there are still areas of the bill that need improvement. Ganguly has asked that the Indian government make changes to the new bill which include publishing the bill in all Indian languages, including inter-sex persons to the bill's protections, and redefining the bill's term "violence" to exclude actions against "one's self." HRW believes that the recommendations will serve to make the new bill "more effective in promoting the rights of one of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities in the country." It is Ganguly's belief that her recommended changes will help continue the fight against discrimination and violence towards the Indian transgender community.

The lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community (LGBT) continues to face legal challenges throughout the world. In December voters in Slovenia rejected a law [JURIST report] that would allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. In November the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex couples can legally adopt children. The UN has become increasingly focused on the rights of LGBT individuals. In September 12 UN agencies released a joint statement [JURIST report] arguing that abuses toward the LGBT population are human rights abuses impacting society as a whole. In June the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported [JURIST report] that members of the LGBT community continue to face discrimination and human rights abuses.

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