The case related to the custody process brought before the Chilean court by the father of three girls against their mother, Karen Atala Riffo. The Chilean Court found that Ms Atala’s sexual orientation and her co-habitation with her same-sex partner would cause harm to the three girls, and granted custody to the father. At the Inter-American Court she argued that in the course of the judicial process she had suffered discriminatory treatment and arbitrary interference in her private and family life. The Court ruled that ‘the Chilean state had violated Karen Atala Riffo’s right to live free from discrimination’. The Court urged Chile to make reparations and to adopt legislation, policies and programmes to prohibit and eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation.
This case concerned prohibitions on LGBT pride marches. The Russian government contended that the ban had the legitimate aim of maintaining public order and protecting public morals. The European Court of Human Rights rejected this argument and held that the ban violated the applicant’s right to freedom of assembly and association under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court also rejected the government’s contention that allowances should be made for the strong cultural opposition towards homosexuality in Russia.
The case concerned two homosexual men who sought asylum in the UK on the basis that they would face persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation if returned to their home countries. In their countries of origin (Iran and Cameroon), engaging in homosexual acts is punishable by death. The question for the court was whether the men could be expected to conceal their sexual orientation in order to avoid the risk of persecution. The Supreme Court held that no one should be expected to conceal their sexual orientation in order to avoid persecution.
In this statement the Bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa called upon the South African Government to seek the release of Stephen Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who were sentenced in Malawi to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour, after they shared in a traditional engagement ceremony. The Bishops stated that despite the breadth of theological views amongst them on matters of human sexuality, they were united in opposing the criminalisation of LGBT people.
The Supreme Court of Philippines found that the Commission of Elections (“COMELEC”) had made an impermissible distinction on the basis of sexual orientation when it refused to register the organisation Ang Ladlad as a political party. The Supreme Court did not recognise homosexuals as a class requiring special protection. Instead it found that the classification imposed by COMELEC was irrational, in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
This is the response of the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association to a private members bill introduced in the Ugandan Parliament in 2009. The Bill, if enacted, would have established life imprisonment for anyone convicted of the offence of ‘homosexuality’, and imposed the death penalty on anyone convicted of the offence of ‘aggravated homosexuality’. The opinion considers the compatibility of the Bill with international human rights law. The analysis also considers the broader issue of any form of criminalisation of consensual private homosexual acts and is therefore of relevance to a large number of Commonwealth jurisdictions.