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World news in brief

21 May 2021


A child with his face painted with the colours of the Colombian national stands among a crowd of 12,000 protesters against police brutality at Monumento a los Heroes in northern Bogota, Colombia, last week

A child with his face painted with the colours of the Colombian national stands among a crowd of 12,000 protesters against police brutality at Monumen...

Bishops seek end to violence in Colombia

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, has called for an end to the unrest in Colombia, where more than 40 people have died and dozens more have been injured in clashes between security forces and those protesting against a proposal for increasing tax revenue. The Church stood “in solidarity with those who are protesting peacefully and who work and labour faithfully for justice and humane solutions to our problems”, Bishop Curry said. The Bishop of Colombia, the Rt Revd Francisco José Duque Gómez, demanded that political leaders take “the necessary actions” to re-establish harmony. “We urge you . . . to respect life, integrity, and the right to protest, guaranteeing the safety and protection of each and every one who expresses their just claims.” RC bishops, who led a day of prayer and fasting for the victims, said: “We resolutely reject, regardless of their origin, human-rights violations, acts of vandalism, blockades to mobility and the food supply, the disappearance of persons, attacks against the physical integrity of any person, and the destruction of public and private property.”


LGBT religious discrimination a ‘human-rights violation’

STATES, faith-based institutions, and religious leaders should “consider the negative impact of exclusionary or stigmatizing narratives on violence and discrimination” against LGBT people, a group of United Nations and human-rights experts said in a statement on Tuesday, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. “LGBT and gender diverse persons are and have always been part of all faith traditions around the world and, as all human beings, must be recognized as worthy of love and belonging.” Freedom, including freedom of religion, was a universal human right. “Religious authorities have a responsibility to ensure that religion and tradition are not utilized to promote discrimination of persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.” Discrimination against, or the criminalisation of, LGBT people was tantamount to hate speech. “Under no circumstances should [religious] authorities incite violence or hatred.”


More calls taken by Tanzanian girls’ helpline

A FREE helpline in Tanzania, which responds to about 3500 calls a day from women and children at risk of violence or child marriage, reported an increase in calls when schools were closed during the pandemic. The helpline is supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), whose executive director, Dr Natalia Kanem, said that the fund was also working with the authorities to provide victims with medical care, psychosocial support, and legal assistance. Men and boys were also being educated to eradicate “harmful stereotypes of masculinity” and empower women and girls. “Every girl and boy should be valued and should be taught that the expression of their right and empowerment should not be centred on overpowering others.”

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