LGBT Equality Under Threat in US: Daily Brief

Plus: Draft laws in Hungary seek to block support for migrants; What Sweden should have said to China; Philippine's Duterte discourages the use of condoms; Gambia suspends death penalty; Canada deports North Korean asylum seekers; and fear of DR Congo sliding back to conflict.


  1. In the US, state laws that would allow businesses, adoption agencies, and even healthcare providers to discriminate against LGBT people are being passed and debated. A new HRW report examines how these new “religious exemption” laws function as a license to discriminate, rather than a good faith attempt to protect religious liberty.
  2. ''Resistance to LGBT equality is the primary motivation for these laws,'' says Ryan Thoreson, author of the report, speaking about the real impact of the “religious exemption” laws.
  3. The Hungarian government has submitted three bills to parliament that would penalize and restrict groups working on asylum and migration issues. The laws, called "Stop Soros," would cast helping a person fleeing persecution to obtain asylum in Hungary as a threat to national security. The step comes amid growing hostility from the government toward refugees and migrants, and its campaign against NGOs.
  4. More than 250 organisations have signed a letter expressing their concern about the new laws being debated in Hungary.
  5. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom failed to speak about China's repeated arbitrary detention of Swedish citizen Gui Minhai in her annual foreign policy address. She immediately faced a storm of criticism for not calling for Gui’s release. Here's what Sweden should have said.
  6. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte demonstrated reckless disregard for the health of Filipinos by suggesting they avoid using condoms because they “aren’t pleasurable.” This is an irresponsible action, taking into account that Philippines is experiencing the fastest growing epidemic of HIV in the Asia-Pacific region.
  7. Gambian President Adama Barrow has announced a moratorium on the death penalty, a first step towards its abolition. The advance is part of the country's efforts to rebuild its international image after its authoritarian ruler Yahya Jammeh was voted out of office last year.
  8. Since 2013, Canada has deported almost 2,000 North Korean asylum seekers who reached the country through South Korea. The Canadian government accuses them of having lied in their application forms. Another 150 North Koreans are under imminent threat of deportation.
  9. And DR Congo might be sliding back to conflict. A bigger engagement by the international community, reversing cuts to the UN peacekeepers' budget, and pressing President Joseph Kabila to hold real elections by the end of the year might prevent rising tensions.