Saturday, 28 January 2012

Di-ve: Updated: The AMY Initiative calls for hate crime legislation reforms
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22 January 2012 -- 11:50CEST

A Facebook group titled The AMY Initiative has been set up to condemn the homophobic attack on a 16-year-old lesbian couple and call for stricter legislation regarding hate crimes.

"This group is regarding the lack of hate crime laws with respect to sexual orientation. Malta's hate crime laws do NOT cover this," the group's description says.

"AMY is a pseudonym used in the article, but AMY could be anyone -your sister, your cousin,your brother,your uncle. HOMOPHOBIA is real in Malta. There is NO EXCUSE for it, don't let it go ignored."

The incident in question, which happened over a week ago, was reported this morning by the Sunday Times.

Two teenage girls had been sitting on a bench in Ħamrun when two young men attacked one of them and dragged her by the hair because of her sexual orientation.

The girl ended up at a health centre with a fractured nose, a graze on her face and several bruises.

Her girlfriend, who was also attacked, got away with a bruise to the head and scratches on her wrists which she sustained when pushed to the ground.

The Drachma Parents' Group extended its solidarity with the victims and their families and draws on Maltese society and the Christian Community to take stronger action against homophobic remarks and to stand up in defence of victims suffering harassment and violence, on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Civil authorities and the Police Corps are urged to stop this violence by ensuring justice and compensation to the victims is duly given. The Curia is also urged to issue a strong statement in the face of such unchristian and aggressive behaviour and show that it is on the side of homosexuals, 'who must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity'.

Gabi Calleja from the Malta Gay Rights Movement and Neil Falzon from human rights movement Aditus condemned the act saying it was very unfortunate that in today's society sexual orientation could lead to hate crime.

We Are, a LGBTQQI student organisation based at the University of Malta, has also joined in with a vocal condemnation of the attack.

Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Michael Briguglio said he endorsed the calls by NGOs and civil society for more action against such homophobic hate crimes.

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