In a bold move, the British government announced this week its new policy of tying foreign aid to LGBT human rights situations in countries it supports. The announcement â€“ perhaps the strongest statement in support of LGBT rights made by a major donor government to date â€“ has been met by LGBT activists in developing countries with a mix of jubilation and trepidation.
â€œBlue Diamond Society welcomes this news and urges other donors to follow this example,â€ said Sunil Babu Pant, a member of Nepalâ€™s Parliament and a leading LGBT activist, in reaction to the news.
In Kenya, gay activist and politician David Kuria supported the move and compared it with other ties between aid and rights in Kenyaâ€™s history. He told LGBT Asylum News, “[Pressure from donors] is what made the [Kenyan President Daniel arap] Moi autocracy give in to internal democratic struggles and human rights activists in Kenya during the late 1980s and 1990s.â€
But the expressions of support and excitement were quickly matched with concern.
LGBT Asylum News reported that Joseph Sewedo Akoro, Executive Director of The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) in Nigeria expressed concern, “what if this strategy of aid cut exacerbates human rights violation on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity?”
“Many countries in the global south are becoming sick of neo-colonialism and the global north’s imperialism. Therefore, they are planning strategies to become autonomous of foreign aid and challenge the hegemony of the Global north. Should they be succeed in this endeavour, this aid cut strategy will be counter productive.”
Jamaican LGBT activist Maurice Tomlinson believes in the power of donor countries to promote rights, but suggests they â€œemploy more sophisticated approaches to addressing homophobic governments, instead of simply resorting to cutting aid.â€
Tomlinson told Paul Canning that â€œtargeted approaches will yield better results than a high handed neo-colonial â€¦ posture of cutting aid which will only serve to alienate entire national populations, along with useful allies.”
The British government made moves this year suggestive of its position on LGBT rights and aid, but no policy had been discussed until this week. For example, Malawi has received Â£200 million (about $316 million) from Britain over the past three years, suffered a Â£19 million (about $30 million) cut in their aid from after two men were prosecuted for getting married to each other.
The cuts caused government backlash against Malawian civil society organizations known for supporting LGBT rights.
But in spite of the repercussions, Prime Minister David Cameronâ€™s proud and notorious comments about the Malawi aid cuts this summer presaged this policy shift. While hosting his second Downing Street LGBT reception in June, the PM said the government would continue to pressure governments, specifically those in Africa, on gay rights. â€œIâ€™m very proud of the fact we [put] huge pressure on the leader of Malawi about an issue in that country,â€ he said in a speech given to the small crowd without notes, â€œbut Iâ€™m convinced we can do more.â€
Ghana has also recently come into the LGBT rights spotlight and, as Paul Canning reports, some sources say that West African countryâ€™s aid from the UK is in jeopardy due to recent increases in anti-gay moves by the government. But with this official UK policy freshly minted, the implementation is yet to be seen. In contrast to the threats to make cuts, other recent public documents claim that the UK government will increase its development assistance to Ghana in coming years.
While tying aid directly to observations of LGBT rights situations might be a novel strategy, donor country involvement in local LGBT movements is nothing new.
The European Union has taken a similarly vocal stance against countries with poor LGBT rights records. As reported by EU Observer, Loius Michel, former EU Development Commissioner expressed strongly that the EU, â€œwill never accept that governments or politicians may use, or even exploit, any ‘cultural’ argument in an attempt to justify the hunt and demonisation of homosexuality.”
Material support for LGBT civil society groups has ranged from the casual to the official. For example, the first plastic chairs for Nepalâ€™s Blue Diamond Societyâ€™s initial secret meetings were donated by American Peace Corps volunteers. Soon after, BDS had its first official grant â€“ from USAID.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted at the United Statesâ€™ current position on its influence on LGBT rights around the world in a June 27, 2011 â€œprideâ€ speech.Â She said she was proud of â€œthe day-to-day work of our embassies and AID missions around the world to increase engagement around the issues affecting LGBT rights, especially in those places where people are at risk of violence, discrimination, or criminalization.â€
As debate foments around this current announcement by the British government, discussions on the proper methods for exerting moral authority in developing countries will arise. There is no question that foreign influence has buttressed local LGBT rights movements around the world. However there is also little doubt that colonial influence established many of the discriminatory laws that LGBT activists are challenging today.
Whether this move by the UK will be the powerful tool that activists in the global south have been waiting for, or too blunt an instrument for such delicate work remains to be seen.
Kyle Knight is a Fulbright Scholar in Nepal where his research focuses on the LGBTI rights movement. He previously worked at Human Rights Watch, where he focused on childrenâ€™s rights issue. For three years, he worked as a suicide prevention counselor for LGBTQ youth at the Trevor Project in New York City. He currently sits on the Trevor Projectâ€™s Advocacy and Public Policy Committee, is the president of the Duke University LGBT Network, and a is lecturer in Gender Studies at Tribhuvan University, Nepalâ€™s state-run university in Kathmandu. You can follow him on Twitter @knightktm.
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‘These Are Our National Secrets’: Democrat Slams GOP for Ignoring Trump Classified Documents Found ‘In the S——’
U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) blasted House Republicans for ignoring the hundreds of classified documents photographed on stage and “in the s——” at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and residence, while going after President Joe Biden who she said not one witness at Thursday’s impeachment “inquiry” had identified what crime he allegedly committed.
“As I prepared,” Rep. Crockett told members of the House Oversight Committee Thursday, “I said, ‘What is the crime?’ Because when you’re talking about impeachment, you’re talking about high crimes and misdemeanors, and I can’t seem to find the crime and honestly, no one has testified of what crime they believe the President of the United States has committed.”
“But when we started talking about things that look like evidence, they want to act like they blind, they don’t know what this is,” Crockett said, waving photographs of boxes allegedly containing classified and top secret documents on stage and in a restroom at Mar-a-Lago.
“These are our national secrets, looks like in the s—— to me,” she said, as NBC News described her remarks. “This looks like more evidence of our national secrets, say on the stage at Mar-a-Lago. When we’re talking about somebody that’s committed high crimes it’s at least indictments, let’s say 32 counts related to unauthorized retention of national security secrets, seven counts related to obstructing the investigation. Three false statements, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, falsifying business records, conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts related to efforts to obstruct the vote certification proceedings, one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights, 23 counts related to forgery or false documents statements, eight counts related to soliciting, and I could go on because he’s got 91 counts pending right now.”
“But I will tell you what the President [Biden] has been guilty of. He has unfortunately been guilty of loving his child unconditionally, and that is the only evidence that they have brought forward and honestly, I hope and pray that my parents love me half as much as he loves his child. Until they find some evidence we need to get back to the people’s work, which means keeping this government open so that people don’t go hungry in the streets of the United States, and I will yield.”
Congresswoman Crockett’s remarks quickly went viral, with just this video getting 4.6 million views in just four hours.
Watch below or at this link.
Omg wow this pic.twitter.com/fnYcAXzcNf
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 28, 2023
‘He Knows I’m Right’: Democrat Mocks ‘Scared’ McCarthy and Blows Off Chairman Comer in ‘Very Unserious’ Hearing
During House Republicans’ impeachment “inquiry” into President Joe Biden, U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) detailed Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s transition from refusing to allow a vote for an impeachment inquiry to ordering his top Chairmen to initiate an impeachment “inquiry” in the span of just twelve days.
Congressman Frost, the youngest member of the House, called the Speaker “scared,” before turning his attention to the GOP’s witnesses who he said “are not giving us any basis or giving us any evidence or anything,” angering Republican Oversight Chairman Jim Comer, who interjected, “That’s not true.”
Rep. Frost refused to allow the Chairman to interrupt him, and shot back, “Reclaiming my time.”
“These these witnesses are not giving any answers. They’re just asking more questions,” Rep. Frost continued.
While challenging the credibility of the GOP’s witnesses, Frost said there was “one witness who has a lot of questions .. one witness who knows something about accounting but has no real involvement,” and then accused the third witness, the well-known attorney and commentator Jonathan Turley, of “stopping here on his way to his next Fox News hit.”
Gen Z Congressman Maxwell Frost brilliantly sums up the hypocrisy, the fraudulence, and the illegitimacy of every single GOP witness that spoke today. And check out the startled reaction of that old angry Republican woman at the end. More of this!
— Dash Dobrofsky (@DashDobrofsky) September 28, 2023
Frost noted that had McCarthy put an impeachment inquiry on the floor for a vote, it “would lose on the House floor and be another embarrassment in the long list of embarrassments in this Congress for the Speaker of the House.”
He added that far-right Republicans threatened “to shut down the government, something that will happen in just two days.” He also noted, “this is the one that really got to [McCarthy], they said you, you’re about to lose your job and they said we will remove you as Speaker of the house.”
“And that scared him so much that Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, the United States House of Representatives, third in line to the presidency, completely caved due to the threats of people within his own caucus.”
Pointing to Chairman Comer, Frost on social media said, “He had to interrupt me because he knows I’m right. They say that this isn’t an impeachment, it’s an impeachment ‘inquiry’ to get answers. Then they call up witnesses that are just asking more questions and not providing any answers or evidence. This hearing is very unserious.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
‘All Those Biden Towers’ Where ‘Influence Was Used’: Democrat Turns Tables and Mocks Republicans in Sarcastic Q&A
U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) turned the tables on Republicans during the House Oversight Committee’s first impeachment “inquiry” into President Joe Biden by sarcastically referring to “all those Biden towers all over the world where foreign partnerships were formed and influence was used here in the US,” forcing the witness to correct him and point out he actually meant ex-President Donald Trump.
The hearing, chaired by Rep. Jim Comer (R-KY) was widely seen as another failed effort by House Republicans against President Biden. It took a turn when Republicans’ own witness, law professor and Fox News media contributor Jonathan Turley told them he saw no evidence that warrants an impeachment of the President.
Meanwhile, Congressman Connelly’s scathing remarks quickly spread across social media, garnering hundreds of thousands of views views in just hours.
“Um, well let’s see,” Connolly began, slowly, “I’m looking at, um, I heard again, um, I think it was professor Hurley talk about – – because he’s not prejudging of course, but he’s just suggesting that maybe we want to look into criminal activity like obstruction, fraud, and abuse of power.”
“So let’s take fraud. So shouldn’t we be concerned that a New York judge just found President Biden’s organization committing fraud every year for the last 10 or 15 years,” Connolly continued, “and that, under the Martin law, that Biden organization is now subject to dismemberment and dismantlement because of the fraudulent activity?”
“That should be of concern to Mr. Trump,” the witness, Professor Michael Gerhardt, replied.
“Mr. Trump again!” Connolly sarcastically exclaimed, feigning surprise. “And in this case, we’re not speculating, a judge actually made that ruling?”
“Yes sir,” Gerhardt replied.
”Should we be concerned about the personal – I mean, while we’re at it, while we’re loading on – shouldn’t we be concerned about the personal behavior of the President, for example, President Trump or President Biden, being found guilty of sexual assault and defamation associated with that activity, again in a civil court?”
“We should be concerned as it related to Mr. Trump,” Gerhardt again replied.
“With Mr. Trump again?” Connolly again said mockingly.
“I just think that one of the reasons we’re here is because somebody has been indicted in four different locales, on four different sets of concerns, with I think 81, 91 actual counts, and has been found guilty in two civil proceedings, one involving sexual behavior and one on actual corporate fraudulent activity. And we don’t want to talk about any of that. We want to speculate about discredited testimony from discredited witnesses,” Connolly added.
Brilliant stuff here from Connolly pic.twitter.com/F3rZlBmUe8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 28, 2023
“Distract, deflect, dissemble,” Connolly added. “I think this hearing’s all about ‘look over here, not over there.’”
“I’ve heard concerns about ‘branding,'” Connolly continued. “So, shouldn’t we be concerned about all those Biden towers all over the world where foreign partnerships were formed and influence was used here in the United States? I’ve seen these towers in Indonesia, in the Philippines, in Turkey. I even saw one in Chicago. Shouldn’t that be a source of concern of this committee in terms of influence, both foreign and domestic, when Biden became president?”
“If there were such things as ‘Biden building,'” Gerhardt said.
“Well, was there anyone who did have them?” Connolly asked. “Well, could you tell us? Just give me the name.”
“I think we’re talking about Mr. Trump,” Gerhardt replied.
“So, when President Biden appointed his son to manage U.S. foreign policy, both in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East peace, by the way, a son who couldn’t qualify for getting a security clearance, but President Biden apparently granted it to Hunter anyhow – and then, after leaving the White House, getting a $2 billion deal … shouldn’t that be of concern to us that maybe a sweetheart deal occurred with the blessing of the president, with foreign money, and shouldn’t we look into Hunter Biden for that, given the fact that the handled Middle East peace in the White House?”
“It should have been a concern with President Trump and his son-in-law,” Gerhardt said.
“Oh Trump. I got that wrong again,” snarked Congressman Connolly.
Connolly: “Shouldn’t we concerned about all those Biden towers all over the world where foreign partnerships were formed and influence was used here in the US? I’ve seen these towers in Indonesia, in the Philippines, in Turkey. I’ve even seen one in Chicago.” pic.twitter.com/U10K2K5JSQ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 28, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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