LGBT Rights are Human Rights

Having spent years in the US working on campaigns for equality, it is fascinating to the see widespread changes in my own country and thinking about what can be replicated abroad. A new documentary about Turkey focuses on the idea that acceptance begins at home, and by breaking down the stereotypes in our own families about what it means to be gay, change is possible. It’s good to see this agenda being embraced now in development funding and approaches.

Women Under Siege in Syria

Crowdsourcing is being used for incredibly creative and unique applications in our modern world. Sadly though, the fact that rape and other forms of sexualized violence are still used as tools in genocide and conflict, warranting a map to track incidences in Syria for example, is a sad state of affairs. The Women Under Siege campaign is working to create legal, diplomatic, and public interventions to ensure the United Nations, international tribunals, and other agencies with power to understand the gender-based threats as a tool of genocide and design protocols to intervene and halt gender-based genocide. A very cool project, and amazing use of crowdsourcing.

Profiles in Courage from Belarus

Check out this new video. There are over a dozen political prisoners in Belarus right now serving various forms of imprisonment, from house arrest to actual serious jail time, like Ales Bialiatski. The majority of prisoners are either leaders of political forces or activists who were arrested in 2010 after the Presidential election. Ales is head of the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna, and has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison on tax evasion charges. A sad reality of life with the last Dictator of Europe in control. The video is cool…it goes without saying I have great admiration for Mr. Bialiatski and his colleagues and their brave struggle to make their country a better place.
Freedom House’s page on Belarus captures the situation well.