BRAZIL: The Brazilian Government has granted equal pension benefits to same-sex couples. Brazil’s Ministry of Social Security released a statement on December 10 saying that the same-sex parter of a retiree who dies will be allowed to claim the pension that was paid to them when they were alive. The policy covers all Brazilian workers who pay a monthly social security levy. Same-sex couples were already recognised as being in de facto relationships under Brazilian law and have adoption and inheritance rights. Brazil was among the first countries in the world to decriminalise homosexuality, doing so in 1830.

A gang of thieves who drugged and robbed over 50 gay tourists they met at Roman gay bars have been arrested by Italian police. Police arrested two Romanian men and an Egyptian following the death of a drugged American, Kelly Cullen, in a park next to the Colosseum. The three men mostly targeted Americans but British, Swiss, German and Spanish drinkers also fell prey to the gang. Undercover police confiscated a bottle of wine from the men on November 16 which tested positive for the drug used in the robberies. Two nights later police pounced on the men as they escorted a drunk Swiss man in the direction of the park in which Cullen had been found dead.

CUBA: A representative of Cuba’s National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX) has told this year’s ILGA Conference that his country regrets being the only Latin American nation to vote in favour of an amendment removing sexual minorities from a UN resolution condemning extrajudicial killings. CENESEX’s Alberto Roque told the conference that Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla met with activists to tell them it did not mean a change in the government’s position on gay rights and that Cuba had supported the amendment merely to remain solidarity with African nations. Cuba’s Permanent Mission to the UN has since released a statement rejecting extrajudicial killing on the grounds of sexuality. CENESEX is headed by Mariela Castro, daughter of the Cuban President Raul Castro, and lawmakers are expected to debate same-sex domestic partnerships in July next year.

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