Annual Review 2011

2011


Asylum

In December, the High Court in Oslo ruled that a gay Iraqi asylum seeker should be returned to Iraq. The man, who is a Kurd, was told to “go home and be discrete”.The Court had no doubts he was gay, they said that if his sexual orientation got known in his home country he was in a great risk of being persecuted. However, the Court referred to the socio-cultural norms in Iraq and said that one had to expect that the asylum seeker adapted to these norms when returned to Iraq. His lawyer pointed out that the decision meant that his client would have to hide his sexual orientation if returned, and the man told Norwegian television that he would be killed if returned. The ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court, which will be heard in 2012.

Bias motivated violence

The statistics on hate crimes against LGBT people has been low and stable over the last 4 to 5 years. Only between 30 and 40 cases were reported annually. Both the Norwegian LGBT organisation (LLH) and the police believe that many incidents remain unreported. As a response, LLH launched a campaign on the reporting of hate crimes.

Equality and non-discrimination

In November, the government founded the LGBT Resource Centre which is announced to be “a driving force in the eff ort to improve living conditions and quality of life for LGBT persons.” In 2012, the Centre will conduct a research to collect data on the living conditions for LGBT people. Two separate national studies will also be launched, one study for LGB people, and a qualitative research among trans people. The Centre will also collect data on intersectional discrimination of LGBT people with disabilities.

Health

  • LLH and Skeiv Ungdom campaigned for the removal of Section 155 of the Criminal Code. This Section applies to those exposing others to the risk of HIV infection regardless of transmission. The Section applies to a set of communicable diseases that are hazardous to public health, but it is practically employed only with regards with HIV infection.
  • LLH and the Stensveen Resource Centre for trans people responded to an evaluation of the State Hospital on their provisions of care for trans people with the goal of improving existing healthcare services. Currently, up to 80% of trans related health requests are refused by the State Hospital. The government has also faced criticism in this regards.

Human rights defenders

In November, the Rafto Prize was awarded to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG, received the award on behalf of the organisation, which was given the prize for its work to make fundamental human rights apply to everyone, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Police and law enforcement

LLH worked closely with the Oslo Police and developed a training programme on LGBT issues and hate crimes.

Sexual and reproductive health

A report about the experience of several lesbian couples who experienced a refusal of a reference letter for assisted medical insemination within the National Healthcare System was presented to the Ministry of Health and Care. Subsequently, the Ministry issued an instruction stating that doctors cannot discriminate against lesbian couples.

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