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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…
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It was a rare positive outcome for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Malaysia. Earlier this month, the Health Ministry, in response to strident criticism from activists and the general public, reframed…
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.
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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Ira Sophia planned a fun evening for Malaysia’s transgender community. The private, closed-door event at the five-star Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on April 3 featured a sit-down dinner for 200 people and was intended to raise money for…
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2015 Recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
Nisha Ayub
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Once again, Malaysia's ruling party turns to outdated sodomy laws to discredit the opposition.

On March 7, Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy. This is just the latest iteration in a long and unfortunate history of using sodomy laws against political rivals. In 1307, King Philip IV of France…
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2013 brought many grim setbacks, yet there were still some important signs of progress

With the slaughter of civilians in Syria still horribly unrestrained, it is easy to be discouraged about human rights. There is, of course, every reason for outrage about Syria, and about the international community's narrow focus on peace talks, unlikely…
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When talking about Iranian asylum seekers, activists should be careful not to play the Home Office's game Anyone who has spent, as I have, long hours over two years listening to Iranian tales of torture would know just how the controversy over Mehdi…