LGBT and HIV-Positive Somali Refugees Fear Return Home
Many gay, lesbian, and HIV-positive Somali refugees now fear persecution, jail, and even death sentences upon their return home after fleeing to Kenya to avoid harsh punishmentsharsh punishments under Sharia law.
Next month Kenya will be host to international leaders and groups like the International Organization for Immigration as they discuss the impending repatriation of the over one million Somali refugees still living on Kenyan soil. Meanwhile, refugees like Said Elmi maintain that a return to Somali would only result in deadly persecution for LGBT refugees. After having experienced this harsh treatment firsthand, he insisted that "all gays, lesbians, HIV/AIDS positive people and other minorities will be killed. It will be a massacre."
This reality for marginalized Somali refugees has seemingly been ignored by leaders like UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UNHCR officials, who show no sign of slowing plans for orderly return of the refugees. While the UN urges a return to the homeland in order to alleviate the overcrowded Kenyan refugee camps, threatened Somali refugees see their homeland as nothing more than "a death chamber for gays and lesbians" while rebel war lords still run the state.
Media Resources: Aljazeera 7/7/13, Standard Digital 6/17/13, BBC News 6/20/13
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .