blogger’s note: in this countdown to the ‘official’ (biggest) pan-afrikan holiday, we’re going to not only (re)vision where we’re coming from, giving thanx for the legacies en sacrifices of our ancestors, our people, en the future we’re preparing for,

but also, interrogate where we’re at NOW, like with-in (myself) en OUT, communally with all the gaps and dis-unity, (en ALL  the intersections, betwixt en between)

(like) dis’ hadithi ya the prosecution and imprisonment of steven monjeza na tiwonge chimbalanga is (pure) madness,

a ‘living’ example of the convoluted ways that we have internalised ‘foreign’ ideologies en  turned to attacking en criminalizing bredrin en sistren for misguided en oppressive reasons,

like it’s all a part of the master plan?

forgive them father, they know not what they do kinda song?

nigga(s) please, let’s jus’ stop hating (ourselves en) on each other!

if it were all that simple to reclaim love for ourselves with the preach en human rights speech no?

with papa malcolm’s anniversary jus’ one day gone, and ALD just 4 days away, (more than a few) big symbols of  all the labour that has gone into the freedom we DO  have,all the more reason to give thanx for en share stories of peace, and (of) the people willing to fight for it, by any means necessary!  afrika huru! ase o….

21 May 2010

UN human rights chief says sentence on Malawi gay couple is discriminatory and sets dangerous precedent

GENEVA – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Friday that the prosecution and sentencing of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for a Malawian gay couple, imposed by a court in Malawi on Thursday, is “blatantly discriminatory” and sets an alarming precedent in the region for the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as groups that support them.

“I am shocked and dismayed by the sentence and reports of the treatment of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga while in detention,” Pillay said. “The law which enabled the conviction dates back to the colonial era and has lain dormant for a number of years – rightly so, because it is discriminatory and has the effect of criminalizing and stigmatizing people based on perceptions of their identity. If this was replicated worldwide, we would be talking about the widespread criminalization of millions of people in consensual relationships and the rampant violation of privacy.”  

 “Laws that criminalize people on the basis of their sexual orientation are by their nature discriminatory, and as such are in apparent violation of a number of key international treaties and instruments, including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights*,” Pillay said “Unfortunately they still exist in quite a number of countries across the world. The trend should be towards getting rid of them, as is the case with other forms of discrimination. Instead, some countries, including Malawi, seem to be heading in the opposite direction.”

 The High Commissioner called for the conviction to be repealed and for the penal codes criminalizing homosexuality to be reformed.

 She said she was also concerned that this case appears to have stimulated a marked deterioration in official and public attitudes in Malawi, not just towards individuals perceived as being homosexual but also towards organizations that speak out about sexual orientation and related issues, including ones doing vital work to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS.  

 

“I fear the reverberations of this decision, along with the recent attempt to bring in a new draconian bill aimed at homosexuals in Uganda, could have severe repercussions throughout the African continent,” Pillay said. “It will inevitably drive same-sex couples underground, and if this trend continues and spreads, not only will it mark a major setback to civil liberties, it could have a disastrous effect on the fight against HIV/AIDS. So, in addition to the serious moral and legal ramifications of this decision, it raises intensely practical problems as well.”    

The High Commissioner dismissed the argument that non-discrimination against people on the grounds of sexual orientation is a cultural issue. “It is a question of fundamental rights,” she said, “not one of geography, history or disparate cultures. The protection of individuals against discrimination is pervasive in international human rights law. Why should it be suspended for this one group of human beings?”

(*) Article 2:Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status. Article 19:All peoples shall be equal; they shall enjoy the same respect and shall have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.

Learn more about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

Click here to visit OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org

OHCHR Country Page – Malawi: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/MWIndex.aspx

For more information or interviews contact: Rupert Colville at + 41 22 917 9767

URGENT CALL TO ACTION: 

 STOP THECALL MINISTRIES FROM FUELING HOMOPHOBIA IN UGANDA THROUGH THEIR MAY 2, 2010, CRUSADE 

 Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) condemns Lou Engle’s upcoming crusade scheduled for May 2, 2010.  The crusade could cause incalculable damage, as it is designed to label homosexuality as a “vice” in Uganda and to incite people to “fight” against this “vice” in society.  In the context of an already inflamed extremist religious movement against homosexuality in Uganda sparked off by American evangelicals, the inflammatory preaching of Lou Engle and his associates is likely to incite further violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda.

 Sexual Minorities Uganda calls on all human rights defenders, organizations, religious communities and leaders, governments, and civil society, globally to take action to ensure that Lou Engle and his associates do not set foot in Uganda and that the Call Uganda does not proceed with this inflammatory and hate-inducing plan.  While Sexual Minorities Uganda supports freedom of worship, we recognize the need for restriction on any speech that incites hatred and violence against a minority group.  If a prayer event is to be held in Uganda, it should be done in a manner which encourages Christ-like love and acceptance and does not incite hatred and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

 Background

 Lou Engle’s extremist and violence-laden preaching is often laced with references to gay people as being possessed by demons.  During a rally for Proposition 8 in California, he called for Christian martyrs.  His inflammatory speech and focus on martyrdom can easily incite people in Uganda to disregard people’s human rights and go to extreme measures to eliminate whatever they characterize as “evil” or a “vice”.  For example, Lou Engle preaches, “The most ‘dangerous terrorist’ is not Islam but God. One of God’s names is the avenger of blood. Have you worshiped that God yet?”

 The crusade is organized by TheCall Uganda and ten Ugandan Pentecostal pastors. According to http://www.thecalluganda.com, the crusade is ‘intended to awaken and revive the young and the old, men and women, church and family, government and the public to fight vices eating away our society’. TheCall intends to address homosexuality in Uganda as a what they label a “vice”.  The crusade is preceded by a 21 day fast. 

 Lou Engle is a core founder of TheCALL in the U.S. but has expanded chapters to different countries.  Last year, TheCALL sent an American Evangelical, JoAnna Watson of Touching Hearts International, to be based in Uganda full-time to orchestrate this crusade to fight vices like homosexuality.

 This crusade could have the same kind of impact that the March 2009 anti-gay conference had in Uganda. Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer reinforced the desire of some religious leaders to persuade the government to create laws which would eliminate homosexuality from the nation. Eventually, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in the Parliament of Uganda by MP’s David Bahati and Benson Obua.

 Lou Engle’s crusade will be the second major American evangelist event with an anti-homosexuality agenda after the trio to set foot in Uganda and will definitely incite our people into more hatred of homosexuals that may lead to further violence. This is very evident with the nature of preaching that he does in the US. He claims that homosexuals have demons and has mobilized Americans on several occasions for anti –gay rallies. Since the Bill was tabled, the rate of violence and homophobia has increased drastically in Uganda. Lou Engle’s inflammatory preaching is likely to exacerbate an already worrying situation.

Actions:

  • Call and/or write Letters of Protest to TheCall Ministries and ask them stop exporting homophobia to Uganda. The event they are organizing is dangerous to LGBTI people in Uganda.

      Contact:

JoAnna Watson, Coordinator of The Call Uganda

Email: Joannawatsonthint@yahoo.com

Phone: +256 779 864 985

Lou Engle

Email: response@thecall.com

Phone: +1 816 285 9351

 Hold demonstrations and/or marches in Kansas City where Lou Engle’s church is located and protest against TheCALL Uganda

ASK LOU ENGLE AND THECALL MINISTRY TO:

    1. STOP THECALL UGANDA CRUSADE IN THE FORM THAT IT IS PLANNED
    2. PROMOTE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS RATHER THAN INCITING VIOLENCE
    3. STOP EXPORTING HOMOPHOBIA TO AFRICA

 

For further information, contact;

Valentine Kalende

Email: kalendenator@gmail.com

Tel: +256752324249

 

Frank Mugisha

Email:frankmugisha@gmail.com

Tel:+256772616062

Media Statement

1 March 2010

Uganda: last chance to shelve Anti-Homosexuality Bill should not be missed, warn UN human rights experts

GENEVA – With its third and final reading imminent before the Ugandan Parliament, two UN Special Rapporteurs* voiced their deep concerns about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which, if adopted, would have an extremely damaging impact on the important and legitimate work of human rights defenders in the country, and would curtail fundamental freedoms.

“The Bill would not only violate the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandan people,” stressed Margaret Sekaggya and Frank La Rue, “but would also criminalize the legitimate activities of men and women, as well as national and international organizations, who strive for the respect for equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

 According to the Bill, in addition to a fine, the offender would face imprisonment of at least five years, and in the case of a non-governmental organization, the cancelling of its certificate of registration and criminal liability for its director.

 “The Bill would further unjustifiably obstruct the exercise of the right to freedoms of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly, and association, by prohibiting the publication and dissemination of materials on homosexuality, as well as funding and sponsoring related activities,” the Special Rapporteurs said.

The experts welcomed “the recent attempts made by President Museveni and other members of the Government to prevent the Bill from becoming law, and call on them to redouble their efforts at this crucial time.”

“We urge Parliamentarians to refrain from adopting this draconian Bill,” said the independent experts echoing previous statements made by the UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, and the UN Special Rapporteur on health, Anand Grover.

“Adopting the Bill would be in clear breach of international human rights norms and standards contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” warned Ms. Sekaggya and Mr. La Rue.

“The passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” they noted, “would also gravely tarnish the image of Uganda on the regional and international scenes.”

(*) Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

ENDS

For more information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, please visit:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/index.htm
 
For more information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, please visit:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/opinion/index.htm

For more information or interviews, please contact: Mr Guillaume Pfeifflé (Tel: +41 22 917 9384 / email: gpfeiffle@ohchr.org). 

To see the Media Statement as published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, visit:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Media.aspx?IsMediaPage=true

b is for baganda (oral) stories

 

TGIF!

These are powerful times….every blue moon eclipse, and for me, every Saturn return, there is radical change & transformation. I been saying it for over a full moon now, change is here.

Yesterday, a 7.3 eclipse got triggered in Haiti,  there could be hundreds of thousands dead, with 3 million ish affected, and, Museveni went on record, (o be broadcast for public purposes) his intent, not to back “Bahati’s Bill”. With every loss, there is a gift/giving……..the solution lies in how we respond to the crisis……by giving (more) back ofcourse

Like, I have to re/consider my own crisis…depending on where one looks at it from, I could either be a “sad excuse” or a “magnificent creature”….I could be many things….I have given and received many gifts in the past 2 years……and I consider it a testament to resistance that I have survived the past 2 years…..all with the help of the community.  

I am, literally, here because of the community (read: Marta Jimenez loaned me money for a ticket to come back to Canada) & the community (read: the growing families/cliques/movement/networks of kuchus in Kenya,  Uganda & Canada)

I could be a revolushunary warrior.  A priestess of Osun.  I could be a failed writer (I confess that my guiltiest pleasure is READING  books and I’m really more of a talker, than a writer, ask anyone who knows me, I talk alot, and jus a few subjects). I could be jus an activist. A “human rights defender”. I could be like the boi who grew up into a woman. “other” than.

I could be one of those students who “neva” graduates….(for real, since I been back, I took only two half courses at UofT….lesbian studies & the philosophy of sexuality….I still have a year and a half to go….but the truth is I changed my mind long time ago about this “western” education system…but, yes, I’ll be back.

For youth’s sake, I’ll acknowledge the imperative to get THAT  piece of paper, to open the doors that will bring you MORE  money, but for youth’s sake too, I’ll acknowledge the better, more productive alternatives, that we even as we may not know all the answers, we have still first got to know ourselves and the true true ways of our ancestors, it’s simple really)

I feel like I underwent a radical transformation when I went back home, I am not who I used to be, more grown up, less cocky, less angry, still working on my impulsiveness and (im)patience, as energetic as ever about the issues I’m passionate about…….I am also struggling, have been for many years, to maintain a level of balance, sanity and well being, living in what I see more as “shit-stems”…..environments filled with delusions, wilful ignorance, hypocrisy, “individualistic” & corrupted  behaviour…….

It is in these spaces too that I came into myself, that I found more  space for resistance…that I was punished less & found more people to commune with……now, apparently, Brooklyn is supposed to be the last bastion for that thriving, visible, powerful queer black community…..that’s what my girl tells me, and even that piece of the story is a dramatic change…who knew? This time last year, that this is where I’d be….I’d decided then that I would stay in Kenya….that I would postpone another year to work at the centre and for the queer communities in Nairobi & Coast province.

These past few days have witnessed my own earthquakes & “fiya flowers” born of upheaval.  It was HER  birthday on Friday, and on that night, I took out  the ring from my lock and put it in my shrine, so, she took it back…..for me, it all really started from there….we got “divorced”, but I still tried to at the very least jus’ celebrate the day she was born,  and the next day was the aftermath, I was grieving (and on my only true true ex’s birthday, she was consoling ME on my loss…and hours after, my “new “ partner came over with a bottle of wine & a (not-so) new script. 31 stories).

The day after that, was another ex’s birthday, the first trans man to offer marriage…..a warrior.king, and I told him so, but I wasn’t in love with hir. Hir we wasn’t  “the one”. But hir was definitely one the ones I’d been looking for, to grow & work with, to live in that revolushunary village with.

 A(nother) queer soul in the midst of crisis, and going through healing & self recovery.  Another  one of those activists on the front line of the LGBTTIQQ movement in East Afrika.

The bigger point of this recounting is to start with me, over/standing my crisis, and us collectivising our troubles, so to speak, because in the face of the earthquake that jus’ happened yesterday, in the face of backlash against queer/trans rights in Afrika, in the wake of (de)colonization & the ongoing recession ( as much as the bank of Canada, the prime minister and other global leaders want to propagandise the beginning of a new era, this shit we’re facing is OLD,  and has been mis/placed for centuries in the pursuit of imperialist perfection), it is imperative for us to work harder at addressing the gaps and inequalities inherent in the “way things are”

So, a friend asked me recently, “where you at, when are you coming back?” and I told her that I was where I was meant to be….and right here, now, with “my girl” cooking breakfast in the basement, and with my 5 MSword windows up…..trying to concentrate on programs (already over due) for the near future…..

I recognise & acknowledge that my crisis is really not unique at all, that there are many more options for me to get the money I need to pay back my outstanding loans, starting with Marta Jimenez, that I could even work outside of a capitalist money system.

I acknowledge too that for all my/our ideals and visions. Today is all we got. The future belongs to our children. And the past will remain with the ancestors.  And I gots to “get over” myself and give more for “my jiranis (neighbours)”

Yesterday. There was an earthquake in Haiti. especially devastating because of it’s sustained exposure to natural disasters & western imperialism.  earth mama took matters into hir own hands and dismantled the houses for us…now it’s our turn to grieve our collective loss, and turn to rebuilding more sustainable societies.

It’s also VERY official that Museveni won’t back the “anti – homosexuality” bill. Because the prime minister of Canada called him to talk about the gays. And Gordon Brown called to talk him about “the gays”. And the American ambassador wanted to talk to him about “the gays”….and 300,000 gays in New York assembled to protest this bill. Clearly, WE, have the power to change things. Now it’s our turn to provide more safe spaces and services to kuchus in East Afrika…..

It might seem like a stretch (a queer projection) to some, but the striking similarity of the situation in Haiti & Uganda, calls for one thing that many of us are working on…to transform pain (of loss) into more love & utilise the power of crises (“natural” disasters)

Now if only we could change nuff minds to give and receive the support we need to manage our crises and live peaceful, sane & fulfilling lives. The journey we’re on calls for us to support each other in our struggles. We have to continue to collectivise our troubles and work on Pan-afrikan solutions.

So today, I extend my energy and prayers to Haiti, to Kenya & to Uganda.  We are in a position to re/build our homes and communities with visions of love that sustain us…….afrika huru!

…” I must either grow or end my life” thought the spark at long, long last……

(excerpt from the sacred story of the tree of life….in “indaba my children”)

Straight from day 5 to 13, I wonder how many public events there have been organised in solidarity with the  16 days of activism?

I haven’t attended/organised any. My life has been course readings and writing essays and proposals, looking for a full time ‘paying’ job, and attending to healing and self recovery, a new/ish long/distance lover……

the bigger point is that i’m coming out of a crisis situation, and not even halfway through the chaos of transition.

The spirit of this series of posts though was/is to mark the realities of career/grassroots/radical activism, in the every day.

For a full/er experience of this post, I recommmend reading this piece to fire on the mountain/new beginning by asa/tracy chapman….

 

Today is about arm chair activism & ta(l)king back space, and, this piece is a reflection is from a “so/gi” listserv, aka. cracker playground and token afrikan space. 

It’s about one organisation in particular, amnesty international. it’s about two regions. europe & afrika.

the lesson to mull over. just what exactly is the problem? and who is the enemy?

the answer belies ones ideologies.

bahati’s bill is still up in the air, some of my sistas won’t even dream of getting SRS, and most afrikan queers & trannies live in fear & self doubt, on the continent. the reality is also that there are many afrikan queers& trannies who live drastically different lives and are relatively more comfortable than others. I find that the situation in Kenya, Uganda or many other countries in Afrika, aren’t as pressing to many folks here in North Amerikkka, yet I have access to diverse resources, albeit through fragmented spaces, that I en/vision as everything we need and then some, to achieve some of the rights that we’re looking for.

this shit (read: homo/les/bi/trans phobia is new.  it wasn’t always so, but it is what it is).

the state of tings calls for one to tread carefully, but Idon’t care how much one espouses their particular religious beliefs or brand of politics,

we can’t ignore this problem, and need to work on resisting all forms of oppression.

Amnesty should really know better than their latest position on LGBTTIQQ  issues, but then again, do they really care about Afrika/ns?

Volunteers of the dutch LGBT-network of Amnesty International today received a message saying that Amnesty will no longer actively support the LGBT cause.

The coordinator of the Northwest regional network  the only active lgbt network within Amnesty Netherlands – wrote that Amnesty will not start any actions/campaigns of its own on LGBT Issues until 2016. They will however join international campaigns.

 In a reaction on a (dutch language) weblog (http://aliceverhij.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/) Amnesty’s national director says that Amnesty still supports the cause and continues to see sexual orientation as a human right. They will join other organizations’ actions when requested so. There are luckily other organizations that have attention for the LGBT cause. Such as the is the COC (mainstream LGB organization) and TNN (Transgender Network Netherlands).

 A request however for support from Amnesty for this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance in the Netherlands already came with the answer “Sorry we have no people so our support is only for the record”. So I strongly doubt what they will do if requested. Probably only in Gay Pride week (not the Amsterdam Canal Pride, there will be no Amnesty boat).

 Latest years Amnesty Netherlands had  4 to 8 hpw available for LGBT affairs, which always was too little. A volunteer on LGBT was taken off her cause last year because it had no (regional) importance for the coordinator.

 —

It ain’t over till the fat drag queen sings and she’s not singing  until we win

 

the reality is that drag queens HAVE  been singing, I’ve heard many of them in Tdot, though the ones I’ve met in Nairobi all have many more horror stories to tell you about being “in the life”.

yet the issue is still not as simple as one organisation, or the refusal to acknowledge….if it were then this ‘other’ piece of news, on december 3rd, would have pleased me extensively….

 

Sweden to cut aid to Uganda over anti-gay law

Rodney Muhumuza

Kampala

Sweden has joined the growing list of countries heaping pressure on Uganda to discard a proposed law that would severely punish homosexuality.

According to comments attributed to Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden’s development assistance minister, the Swedish government says it would cut aid to Uganda over an anti-gay law they find “appalling”.

“My number two at the ministry, who has direct contact with the Ugandan government, has brought it up,” Ms Carlsson recently told Swedish Radio News. “We’ve talked about it in Uganda, and I’ve also tried to speak to the kind of organisations in Uganda that are the target of the legislation.”  Uganda receives about $50 million in development aid from Sweden annually.

Swedish Radio News reported online, in a November 30 article, that the Scandinavian country would consider discontinuing development aid to Uganda if the law was introduced.
 
“I’m doubly disappointed, partly because Uganda is a country with which we have had long-term relations and where I thought and hoped we had started to share common values and understanding,” the minister is quoted as saying.

“The law is wretched, but it’s also offensive to see how Ugandans choose to look at how we see things, and the kind of reception we get when we bring up these issues.”

Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, who brought the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009), has denied accusations that he is in a hate campaign, insisting he is defending the heterosexual family. Mr Bahati has the tacit support of President Museveni, who has made strong anti-gay statements in recent times. If passed in its current form, the law would create a felony called “aggravated homosexuality”.

Death penalty


Offenders would face death for having sex with a minor or a disabled person, or for infecting their partners with HIV. It would also punish attempted homosexuality as well as the failure of a third party to report homosexual relationships.

Critics of the proposed law say it is not needed, as the Penal Code Act already punishes homosexuality, and that it is based on unproven claims that European gays are clandestinely recruiting in Uganda.

In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative government called the proposed law “vile and hateful”, while Britain’s Gordon Brown raised the issue with President Museveni during the recent Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago.  Ms Carlsson said the law would make it “much more difficult” for Sweden to continue helping Uganda.

(if) this is true…..

 

straight from the….

OFFICE OF THE CHAMPIONS SECRETARIAT
Festus G. Mogae
Chairperson
GABORONE BOTSWANA

October 30, 2009 

 His Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda
State House Nakasero
P.O. Box 24594
Kampala, Uganda

Your Excellency,
On behalf of the Champions for an HIV -Free Generation, I send you warmest greetings and best wishes.

We, the Champions for an HlV-Free Generation, are on a mission to exchange ideas and encourage stronger and more visionary leadership in response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Sub Saharan Africa. Our mandate is to promote key policy, legal, cultural and behavioral practices, as well as messages that help accelerate the social outcomes needed to achieve an HIV-free generation.

The first is a draft Bill, the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009,” recently introduced by a private member’s motion in the Parliament of  the Republic of  Uganda. Among the most disturbing  provisions of the bill are: Incarceration for any person convicted  of  ”homosexuality”; a sentencing of death for anyone with HIV convicted  of  ”aggravated homosexuality”; incarceration for “promotion of homosexuality”; criminal penalties that apply to citizens and permanent residents living outside of Uganda; and declaring null and void any “international  legal instrument whose provisions are contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act:”

The second Bill that has come to our attention is the draft “‘HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill,” currently under debate in the Uganda Law Reform Commission. Many positive aspects of the bill exist, including provisions against discrimination of people with HIV and AIDS in schools and at places of work. However, one provision of the Bill stipulates incarceration for offenses related to the “breach of safe practices of HIV prevention.”

Your Excellency, we respectfully express our concern at the provisions referenced in these two Bills and fear that passage of such legislation, which deviates from international best practice and recommendations, could lead to increased stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS and the groups most vulnerable to the epidemic.

The 2001 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS, adopted by all UN Member Stares, emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of those “at the greatest risk of, and most vulnerable to, new infection as indicated by such factors as … sexual practices.”

At the 2006 High Level Meeting on AIDS, the Member States reiterated their commitment underlying the need for “full and active participation of vulnerable groups and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against them … while respecting their privacy and confidentiality.”

Furthermore, assessments conducted by UNAIDS for the General Assembly have confirmed that stigma, discrimination and criminalization faced by men who have sex with men are major barriers to the movement for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

UNAIDS has recommended that governments respect, protect and fulfill the rights of men who have sex with men and address stigma and discrimination in society and in the workplace by amending laws prohibiting sexual acts between consenting adults in private, enforcing anti-discrimination, and promoting programmes for men who have sex with men who may be especially vulnerable to HIV infection.

[ blogger note: this is always the part where I get troubled by the direction of the focus on ‘queer’ issues…..in a HIV/AIDS /neo-colonial framework…it is always the men who have to be singled out for protection…the silences are perpetuated with every pathologisation of OUR  sexuality….because this bill 18, which is the point of this protest in word, affects an entire rainbow soup of identities…

essentially we are all at risk of infection and transgressions carry the heaviest consequences…and what could be more real than 2 dicks fucking each other? life is real…….it’s not just those MSM you have to worry about, the WSW are quite as dangerous too…there is power in/visibility.. 😉 …]

 

With respect to the “HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill”, UNAIDS and other international best practices recommend against HIV -specific criminal laws, laws directly mandating disclosure of HIV status, and other laws which are counterproductive to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support efforts, or which violate the human rights of people living with HIV. Inappropriate or overly­ broad application of criminal law to HIV transmission creates a real risk of increasing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, thus driving them further away from HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
Your Excellency, the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation believe that positive action by both government and individual leaders of stature, like yourself, can help create environments that promote HIV prevention efforts and behaviour change. We humbly ask that you take action to halt the harmful provisions in the draft Bills cited in this letter, and by doing so, preserve the rights of all Ugandans.

Yours Sincerely
 
Mr. Festus G. Mogae
Chairman of the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation and Former President of  the Republic of Botswana

Copied To:
(a) The Champions: Their Excellencies: Kenneth Kaunda, Joaquim  Chissano and Benjamin Mkapa; His Grace, Desmond Tutu; Dr. Speciosa Wandira; Justice Edwin Cameron; Prof. Miriam Were and Ms. Liya Kebede
(b) Chairman, Uganda Law Reform Commission