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Gender Recognition Would Help Address Rights Violations

“I have never had official employment,” Aisha (not her real name), a Malaysian trans woman who does sex work, told Human Rights Watch and Justice for Sisters in 2019. “I tried. I applied for a job selling perfume, but the employer said they would only…
Transgender people in Malaysia face discrimination and abuses by government officials and agents, including public sector medical staff, teachers and local government officials. © 2014 Javad Tizmaghz Photography by Human Rights Watch
News

Discriminatory Federal, State Laws and Policies Remain in Place

Malaysia’s Federal Court on February 25 ruled that a state law banning consensual same-sex conduct was unconstitutional. While the ruling leaves intact a federal statute criminalizing same-sex relations, it does bring relief to those who have faced…
LGBT Rainbow Flag
News

Lawmakers Should Repeal, Not Reinforce, Discriminatory Laws

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should renounce a cabinet minister’s proposal to increase criminal penalties against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said today. The attempt to strengthen criminal…
News

Arrests for Peaceful Speech; Death Sentences After Unfair Trials

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities in 2020 escalated repression against online and social media activity and prosecuted critics for peaceful expression, and courts upheld death sentences against opposition activists after unfair trials, Human Rights…
Bahraini prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab wears a face mask after he was released, at his house in Budaiya in Manama, Bahrain June 9, 2020.
News

US Barriers to Asylum Block Path to Safety

(Washington, DC) – The governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have failed to effectively address violence and entrenched discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, leading many to seek asylum in the…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
News

Halt Executions

(Beirut) – Bahrain’s authorities should overturn the death sentences following unfair trials against two men who say they were tortured, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said today. The Court of…
Mohamed Ramadan (left) and Hussein Ali Moosa (right).
News

Backtracking on Free Expression, Accountability, LGBT Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s promised human rights reforms stalled in 2019 as the government either backed away from or delayed action on its campaign commitments, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. “Malaysia’s reform…
Protesters hold placards reading " Save Malaysia, Arrest the Thief " during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
News

Gender-Specific Standards Should Be Relaxed Throughout Country

Mexico City’s Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced on June 3 that children in Mexico City would be allowed to choose the uniform they wear to school. The policy applies to pre-schools, elementary schools, and secondary schools. …
Participants march during a Gay Pride Parade in Mexico City, June 27, 2015.
News

Repeal Draconian Sedition Act

(New York) – The Malaysian authorities should halt the investigation targeting organizers of the Women’s March in Kuala Lumpur on March 9, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The march’s organizers are being investigated for possible violations of…
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, left, passes the opening speech to King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah during the opening of the 14th parliament session at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, March 11, 2019.
News

Foreign Ministry Shouldn’t Hinder Efforts to Marry

A Mexican court ruled on October 19 that the federal government must grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple living in the United States. The authorities should embrace the decision, which is consistent with Mexico’s obligations…
International LGBT Pride Day in Historic Center, Mexico City in June 2012.
News
A Mexican Supreme Court ruling  on October 17 in a Veracruz case may have broader implications for transgender people who want to change their name and gender on official documents. The ruling came in response to a petition…
International LGBT Pride Day in Historic Center, Mexico City in June 2012.
News

Ban Caning, Decriminalize Homosexual Acts

A Malaysian sharia court today postponed the scheduled caning of two women, charged with engaging in lesbian sex acts, until September 3, 2018 due to “technical issues.” The Terengganu Sharia court had convicted the women to six strokes…
Activists hold a National Wear V-neck Day gathering in response to seminars led by the Malaysian government on “spotting gay symptoms,” in Kuala Lumpur, September 30, 2012.
News

Criminalizing LGBT Relations Fosters Intolerance, Discrimination

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should drop the case against two women for same-sex relations before their scheduled caning on August 28, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. A court convicted the two on August 12 of violating a state…
News
Malaysia’s new government has put out a series of mixed messages on where it stands with regard to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. On the one hand, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs…
News

Ban Marriage for Anyone under 18

When the news broke last week that a 41-year-old man from Kelantan had married an 11-year-old girl, alarm bells went off in Malaysia’s newly elected government as well as among nongovernmental groups. The Kelantan state police started …
Jina, a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation.
News

Videos, Report Highlight Issues of Identity, Activism

(Beirut, April 16, 2018) – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists from Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa are defying state-sponsored repression and social stigma, Human Rights Watch and the…
No Longer Alone
News
In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Rights Activists, Religious Freedom Under Attack

(New York) – The Malaysian government cracked down on activists and opposition politicians critical of the government in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. With corruption allegations still casting a long…
201801wr_malaysia_human_rights People attend an anti-kleptocracy rally in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 14, 2017.