Metro Weekly

State Department Releases Annual Human Rights Report

Today, after a one-day delay from the original planned release on April 7, the State Department released the 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The reports provide a trove of country-specific information that often includes details of any anti-LGBT discrimination prevalent in the given country.

From the introduction:

A third trend, and one that points in a negative direction, was the continuing escalation of violence, persecution, and official and societal discrimination of members of vulnerable groups, often racial, religious, or ethnic minorities or disempowered majorities. In many countries this pattern of discrimination extended to women; children; persons with disabilities; indigenous; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; and members of other vulnerable groups who lacked the political power to defend their own interests. Often members of these groups were denied economic opportunity or the ability to abide by their social or cultural traditions or practices or were restricted in their ability to speak freely, to assemble peacefully, or to form associations or organizations.

In the report on Malawi, for example, the report notes:

Societal violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation occurred. The Center for Development of the People (CEDEP) reported that several cases of violence resulting in serious injury were perpetrated against gay men during the year. These attacks were not reported to police.

A 2008 study by CEDEP found that approximately 34 percent of gay men in the country had been blackmailed or denied services such as housing or healthcare due to their sexual orientation. Additionally, 8 percent of those surveyed said they had been beaten by police or other security forces due to their sexual orientation.

Despite this and other documented human rights abuses, on April 1, according to a release, “The U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) today announced that it will sign a $350 million, five-year Compact with the Government of Malawi to invigorate the country’s power sector, spur private investment, and promote long-term, sustainable economic growth.”

Review the full report.

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