Is it time to cut aid & trade from countries that violate Human Rights? Published July 27th 2013 By Xander Gibb
For those of us lucky enough to live in countries where freedom of speech & freedom of sexuality is the norm, we seldom give thought to our brothers & sisters in other countries who are suffering right at this very moment. You are not alone in your lack of concern as most civilized countries don’t care that much either & continue to associate with countries with a proven history of Human Rights Violations.
In Russia gay people are being treated as criminals for being gay or presumed to be gay. Putin has really cracked down on gay people & it is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. We cannot sit idly by & allow these kind of violations around issues we just take for granted. Russian Ultra Nationalists are using this New Era of gay hate as a license to torture individuals while capturing it on video. I am like most of you am wondering what happened to a free Russia. Little wonder Putin sides with Bashir Al Assad who commits genocide & labels anyone who opposing him as a rebel.
The International Olympic Committee has also expressed concerns & the games set to be held in Russia in 2014, are now in jeopardy. This would have severe financial implications to the country & I am glad the committee has seen fit to raise concerns around the new laws. The new laws include banning gays holding hands, wearing or using rainbows, or being pro-gay & they clarify the definition as “propaganda” “any statement, oral or otherwise, that is pro-gay.”
Even admitting you are gay in public has become a crime, also equating gay relationships with straight relationships. This does not only apply to Russians but also to tourists too which makes Russia another place not to visit if you are gay, look gay, sound gay or can even say the word gay. Talk about “Vlad The Gay-Hater”
This is some disturbing legislation that we need to respond to immediately or risk more violations & lives being lost to discriminatory practices against homosexuals. There are already calls to boycott buying Russian products as a protest to the violations & Celebrities including Harvey Fierstein have thankfully been particularly outspoken. If we sit by & say nothing what does that say about us? Even signing a petition is a furtherance of equality.
The group Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist pop band were arrested for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, & each was sentenced to two years imprisonment. Two members of the group escaped fearing prosecution & fled the country. On October 10 2012, following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation, her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were not quashed. In late October 2012, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were separated and sent to prison.
Pussy Riot was formed in order to protest against Russia’s discriminatory policies against women & was branded as political & dissident. Surely any form on non violent protest should be acceptable? John Lennon wrote Give Peace A Chance” but was not thrown into jail for exercising his freedom of speech in song. Russia has fallen back so far on Human Rights in general it is like the Dark Ages.
Their trial was heavily criticized especially in the west & their case was adopted by Amnesty International, who dubbed them quite rightly as “Prisoners of Conscience”. Putin audaciously stated they had “undermined the moral foundations of the nation” & had gotten what they asked for. “Undermined the moral foundations of the nation” “Tearing at the fabric of society” ring any bells? Fuck you Putin, who died & made you, judge of all morality in Russia? Prime Minister Medvedev stated he felt the women should not have been imprisoned but was a matter for the courts.
In Yemen they are executing homosexuals & even those perceived as being homosexuals, with the full knowledge of the government there as they are a conservative Muslim country. Whilst I have every respect for religion, I cannot even begin to express my disgust at any religious group that condones the killing of people for their actual or alleged sexual orientation. Although homosexuality it is not legally punishable but is forbidden by Society.
Gay Rights Activist Eric Ohena Lembembe was found tortured & killed in his home in Cameroon. It is illegal to be gay in Cameroon & is punishable by up to 5 yrs in prison. Since 2005 this courageous young man spoke out about the discriminatory prosecutions & was allegedly killed for this. Although investigations are being held it is doubtful the authorities will want to find or prosecute the heinous killer s of this young man. The Police do little more than take statements in these cases & it is time to act & stand up for those with no civil rights. RIP Eric.
More recently Jennifer Lopez performed for the Dictatorship of Turkmenistan & claimed she knew nothing of the human rights violations, This is an easy get out for this Latino Songstress, stating her performance was not a political statement but surely our actions are always a political statement & she cashed the damn cheque. Has J-Lo been living under a rock?
It called to mind an earlier faux-pas in which actress Hilary Swank was paid to attend attended an event for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in October 2011. To her credit she ended up donating the fees earned to charity, after the matter came to light. No announcement has been made of J-Lo coughing up the fees earned from such controversial events. Money is such a big key to all of this & the purse is an excellent way to effect change.
We need to immediately cease all aid & trade with countries who have been proven violate Human Rights of any kind. If we continue to blindly ignore these violations without any kind of consequences we are in danger of becoming culpable in these atrocities. I know that some people think it is unfair to punish the many for the sins of the few, but money is a big guiding force to some of these countries & if we have to use aid & trade as leverage, it’s all good in my book. We cannot close our eyes any longer.
What will you do?
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Xander Gibb has written for many publications and writes with an unapologetic response to the world around.