Category Archives: News Around the World

Justice: 3rd suspect in Brandon White beating in custody

Dareal Damare Williams skipped town when he heard he was wanted for that brutal beating of a gay man that was captured on video. But the long arms of the law found the 17-year-old thug hiding out in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he had relatives.

According to the Atlanta Journal, Williams turned himself in to Erie, Pa., authorities around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, without incident. Federal agents had identified him with the help of tips from the public. The feds tracked Williams to Pennsylvania where they issued an all-points alert Wednesday.

Williams is the last of three suspects to be arrested for the Feb. 4 assault of 20-year-old Brandon White outside a grocery in southwest Atlanta. White drew the men’s wrath for wearing skinny jeans, a popular fashion trend among young males, gay and straight.

Williams is being held on $250,000 bond at the Erie County Prison while he awaits extradition back to Atlanta.

According to the AJC, Mayor Kasim Reed raised an Atlanta Crime Stoppers reward several times, until the final sum reached $25,000.

Tips called in to police led to the arrests of Christopher Cain, 19, and Dorian Moragne, also 19, who turned himself in to police on Feb. 17.

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In Kenya: House Calls for Mandatory an HIV Testing

It’s easy to avoid going to a hospital or clinic for an HIV test but what would you do if those carrying out the tests came to your house? The Kenyan government recently launched a door-to-door testing campaign and here’s how people in the country are reacting to the programme.

In the village of Asega in the Rift Valley, life is slow and newcomers are rare, so when health workers turned up recently there was a lot of curiosity. They came to test residents for HIV as part of a government initiative.

Most people in Asega are farmers and spend long hours cultivating land. The nearest health facility is a district hospital which is about 30 minutes drive away and many people don’t have the time to go there.

Social worker Faith Nekesa tests about 20 people every day.  When she worked in a hospital only about three people would come in for tests daily.

“These areas are far from hospitals … so that’s why we decided to bring our services here because of the distance and their need,” she told Reuters Africa Journal.

According to the government about 5.1 percent of the country’s 35 million people are infected with HIV. Kenya’s HIV AIDS prevalence rate has dropped by half over the last decade, mainly because of government and donor funded awareness programmes.

However many people still don’t know their status and some are sceptical about mobile testing.

“We are aware that people must be tested but this doesn’t mean that I can be tested on the street; this cannot be, this is like risking my own life,” said one man. “I can’t be tested. This will bring stress and trauma in my life, this cannot be.”

The Kenyan government launched a door-to-door campaign at the end of November this year that hopes to test a million people over a three-week period. Will it win over the doubters?

Source: http://blogs.reuters.com/africanews/2009/12/03/house-calls-for-an-hiv-test/

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Ecuador: Tortured for Being Gay? But, Not Anymore…

The beginning of the end is finally here. That is, the beginning of the end of ex-gay torture clinics in Ecuador. While homosexuality is technically legal in Ecuador, the reality is that a dangerous underground culture of homophobia still exists throughout the country. Until recently, LGBT women and men in Ecuador were being held against their will at hundreds of so-called “clinics” that used torture and physical abuse to “cure” them of being gay. As more and more victims escaped and started speaking out, they revealed a network of nearly 200 illegal clinics posing as drug rehabilitation centers, promising to turn patients straight, and using sexual abuse, starvation, humiliation, and torture to achieve their goals.

This is where Fundación Causana’s work began. The LGBT activist group has been working for the last 10 years to deconstruct homophobia in Ecuador. Among their biggest challenges has been getting the country’s Ministry of Health to stop turning a blind eye and address the issue of gay torture clinics that are prevalent within the country.

One of the first voices to speak out was that of 24-year-old Paola Ziritti. Paola’s parents knew they were sending her to a forced-confinement clinic, but they had no idea just how awful it would be. Once Paola’s mother realized what she’d done, she tried to get her daughter back, but the clinic said no. The process to free Paola took a year. “I spent two years in one such facility and for three months was shackled in handcuffs while guards threw water and urine on me,” said Paola, who describes numerous accounts of physical and sexual abuse during her “rehabilitation.” “Why is the clinic where I suffered still open?” she asks.

Now, Paola’s nightmare, and those of hundreds of young men and women who are still trapped in clinics in Ecuador, is finally about to end. This past November Fundación Causana started an online campaign on Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. Within weeks, the campaign collected over 100,000 signatures from supporters across the globe asking the former Minister of Health, Dr. David Chiriboga Allnut, to take action and immediately investigate the clinics.

 

It took an international outcry to elevate the voices of Fundación Causana, but the government of Ecuador is finally listening. Soon, hundreds of men and women trapped inside ex-gay clinics will be able to return home.

Emilia Gutierrez

Human Rights Organizing Manager, Change.org

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