July 7, 2010

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS & PRESS STATEMENT – IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Beheaded Ugandan NOT an LGBT Activist


This statement is in reference to the disturbing news reports that the Ugandan man who was found beheaded identified as Pasikali Kashusbe was a gay-rights activist working as a volunteer with Integrity Uganda.

SMUG nullifies these reports and we are not aware of any LGBTI activist who has been beheaded. However, details of the mutilated body are yet to be revealed by the Ugandan Police.

Speaking to the Chair of Integrity Uganda, Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, “I have never worked with anyone who goes by the name Pasikali in my organization. I also did not make any comments as quoted in earlier statements made by Rev. Erich Kasirye, Rev. Erich Kasirye no longer has any legitimate connection to Integrity Uganda and the e-mail address integrityuganda@yahoo.com is no longer available as a link to the leadership of Integrity Uganda”.

SMUG stands in solidarity with Bishop Ssenyonjo, who has worked and supported SMUG and the entire Ugandan LGBTI community for a long period of time.

Integrity Uganda which is a member organization of Sexual Minorities Uganda is a faith-based LGBT organization which gives counseling and guidance to LGBT people.

SMUG disassociates the Ugandan LGBT community from these reports, until we have substantial information.

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/category/international

http://www.back2stonewall.com/2010/07/shocking-news-uganda-gay-activist.html

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/candacechellew-hodge/2930/hoax_underscores_urgency_for_lgbt_people_in_uganda/

Press contacts:

  1. Frank Mugisha Executive Director – Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG
    Telephone: +256 312 294 859

Mobile: +256 772 616 062

Email:fmugisha@sexualminoritiesuganda.org
Alter:frankmugisha@gmail.com

Website: www.sexualminoritiesuganda.org

P.O. Box 70208, Clock Tower
Kampala, Uganda. EA 

2.         Bishop Ssenyoonjo

Chairperson – Integrity Uganda

Tel: +256 772 448 958

[elsewhere on turtle island, jus’ last moon, another notice went out…..]

On June 7, 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined President Obama in declaring June 2010 LGBT Pride Month.  To celebrate LGBT Pride Month at the State Department, Secretary Clinton, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and PRM Assistant Secretary Eric Schwartz were invited by Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFFA) and the Office of Civil Rights to give remarks on LGBT Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy.

The following is a link to the event http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/06/143517.htm, and Assistant Secretary Schwartz’s remarks are below.

Protecting LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Assistant Secretary of State Eric P. Schwartz

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

As Prepared Remarks

LGBT Pride Month Celebration with

Secretary Clinton

Loy Auditorium, U.S. Department of State

Thank you Bob, for that kind introduction.  It is an honor to be here today with all of you to celebrate LGBT Pride Month, and to reflect on the challenges and opportunities ahead.  I’d like to thank Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) and the Office of Civil Rights for organizing this important event, and for inviting me to participate.

I know you all join me in recognizing Secretary Clinton for her inspiring words, and for her unparalleled leadership and principled advocacy on behalf of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender) individuals throughout the world, starting here at the Department of State.   And we could not have a better ally at USAID than Administrator Raj Shah.

Let me just echo what you’ve already heard this morning: protecting the rights of LGBT persons around the world is a priority for the Obama administration.  We will continue to stand against persecution and other violations of human rights against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, anywhere in the world.

For the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), this means identifying and addressing protection challenges for LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.  We know that in some countries, people are threatened, tortured and even killed for their sexual orientation or gender identity, or for not conforming to social and cultural norms about how men and women should behave, dress, or speak.  LGBT individuals who have fled their own countries may continue to face serious threats in countries of asylum, where they may be isolated and reluctant to seek help.

This is a problem that demands a response.  Our Bureau will continue to engage with both non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organization partners to strengthen our collaboration on behalf of vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.

We have raised this issue with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at both senior and working levels and will continue to do so.  UNHCR’s 2008 Guidance Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is an important foundation for enhancing protection for those facing persecution or threats based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  UNHCR must ensure that the Guidance Note is thoroughly understood and implemented by UNHCR personnel worldwide.

This Administration has a strong interest in UNHCR leadership taking effective actions to improve protection for LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.  And with our encouragement and support, UNHCR is planning a number of new internal initiatives linked to refugee status determination and resettlement procedures that will focus on identifying protection concerns related to sexual orientation or gender identity.  UNHCR will continue training of their staff on these issues, and work with NGOs to clarify the roles and responsibilities for everyone involved through all stages of a refugee situation.

UNHCR is also drafting a revised version of its resettlement handbook that will address these issues.  We will remain engaged with UNHCR on these and related efforts, including an upcoming UNHCR-hosted workshop on LGBT refugees.

We have also worked to improve the speed with which we process all  highly vulnerable refugee resettlement cases, and the Department will continue to coordinate with our U.S. government, international organization, and NGO partners to ensure these cases are processed as quickly as possible, and that vulnerable individuals, including LGBT persons, are afforded necessary protections.

Earlier this month, PRM hosted a meeting with NGO representatives to exchange information and ideas for enhancing protection for vulnerable LGBT refugees.  We will establish a working group to further develop recommendations from that meeting, including on issues related to expedited resettlement to the U.S. and protection challenges overseas.  The working group will include NGO representatives, PRM staff, and other U.S. government offices involved in refugee protection and assistance.  We look forward to continuing our positive collaboration with members of the NGO community, many of whom I see here today.

We will also continue our efforts to mainstream broader gender issues into our programming in humanitarian settings and in our institutional relationships with international organization and NGO partners.  This means assessing the impact of programs we fund on women and girls, and men and boys, and promoting inclusion.  It also means enhancing our work to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, including violence directed at individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

This violence is often rooted in destructive notions of how men and women should behave and interact, and we cannot make progress towards achieving gender equality without addressing these fundamental problems.

As Secretary Clinton noted this morning, this is a battle not yet won, but one well worth fighting.  Today, we acknowledge those who risk their lives to speak out, and those who advocate tirelessly at home and abroad, for basic principles of equality, justice, and tolerance.

I look forward to working on these challenges with my colleagues in the Administration, and with many of you here, in the coming months.

And I hope that by next June, we have even more to celebrate.

Thank you.

[blogger’s note: on the q[/t] werd tip, we’d like to know, how much money can we then expect, given this increasing solidarity with LGBTTIQQ & allies, to also be allocated towards LGBTTIQQ folks who’re living in ‘southern’ and ‘third’ world countries?

we know many bredrin en sistren who’d rather stay home/where they live, but still need much help in combating homo/les/bi/transphobia in their communities, in the laws and statutes of neo-colonial governments, and ofcourse we know many who have not only left, like us (/people participating in & producing the first season of this film&video project – shot in tdot, ‘originally’ from afrika – travelling all over native lands….

the truth about hadithi is….our quest on the q[/t] werd….a long (en)/ epic story expected to run quite a few seasons into tdot’s ‘world pride’, if the fiya this time at pride was hawt like that, imagine 2 years from now, and 2 years from then, we’ll have been all over the continent, all through turtle islands, to the end of the earth, to the end of the wotas, and even then, when this ‘film&video’ series ends, we’ll still wanna know, where the (big healing, love en soulfood…where the) money at?

hadithi? hadithi? Nipe mji, nikupe salaam.

hapo zamani ya kale, kulikuwa na…..kesho,

lakini hayo ni ya kesho (kutwa)…]

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

the ripple effect: matrix of globalisation

 

Granny Boots presents the PROTEST BAHATI! party –

@issue: launch of Sistas in Solidarity (SIS)

@ issue: 15th October, 2009

 

FOR immediate PRESS RELEASE:            

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)  Condemn the tabled anti-homosexuality bill

 

As a network of human rights activists, working in the areas of sexual rights as well as other human rights issues, we write to urge you to oppose a repressive bill which was tabled in Parliament of Uganda on 14th October 2009.

This bill is a blow to the steady progress of democracy in Uganda. It proposes criminalization of advocacy and support for the rights of homosexual Ugandans.  It also prohibits any public discussion or expression of gay and lesbian lives and any organizing around sexual orientation.  In doing so, it violates the basic rights to freedom of expression, conscience, association, and assembly, as well as internationally recognized protections against discrimination.   The proposed bill intention is to divide and discriminate against the Ugandan homosexual population, and exclude them from participation in public life, which goes against the inclusive spirit necessary for our economic as well as political development. Its spirit is profoundly undemocratic and un-African.

Over the recent months increased campaigns of violence have gone uncontrolled. The violence directed at Homosexual Ugandans has resulted in the unwarranted arrests of many people; there are eight ongoing cases in various courts all over Uganda of which four accused persons are unable to meet the harsh bail conditions set against them.  These acts of violence have now resulted in the deaths of several homosexual people, such as Brian Pande at Mbale Hospital as he awaited trial. This bill aggravates stigma and hatred; and renders all promised protections enshrined in the constitution for all Ugandan citizens void.

 Religious leaders and policy makers have also exhibited very hostile attitudes towards otherwise peace keeping homosexual Ugandans by publicizing slanderous and hateful messages in the media, creating serious security concerns for the lives of SMUG network members

Uganda has repeatedly pledged to defend these fundamental freedoms in the Constitution; it has also signed treaties binding it to respect international human rights law and standards, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.  As part of the community of nations forming sexual minorities we urge Ugandan parliamentarians and government to continue to respect these principles and reject this bill, which establishes a new and totally undemocratic level of policing private life. SMUG condemns both of these positions as undemocratic and unacceptable.  

These positions will further set a dangerous precedent and send a signal that any Ugandan’s privacy is unguaranteed -that all of our civil society could be put under attack.     If this bill is passed into law, it will clearly endanger the work of all human rights defenders and members of civil society in Uganda.

 This proposed legislation violates Uganda’s most basic obligations to the rights, and well-being, of its people. By signing international treaties and entering the international community, the Ugandan government has undertaken the obligation to promote and protect the human rights of its population, without discrimination on any grounds. As the Sexual Minorities in Uganda, we urge you to act on that obligation, and to further the growth of our democracy.  Kindly vote against this bill.

ISSUED BY

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG is a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s organizations based in Uganda.

 

For further details, contact:

Frank Mugisha

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG

Email:fmugisha@sexualminoritiesuganda.org

Tel: +256772616062

 

David Kato

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG

Email: advocacy@sexualminoritiesuganda.org

Tel: +256773104971

 

Valentine Kalende

Freedom and Roam Uganda – FARUG

Email: vkalende@farug.org

Tel: +256752324249

 

As Ugandan MP David Bahati spearheads a campaign around the adoption of the homophobic ‘Bahati’s bill’, Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Frank Mugisha call for an unwavering rejection of a piece of legislation entirely against the interests of wider Ugandan society.

With strong suspicions of Bahati’s financial backing by extreme-right Christian groups in the US, the bill seeks not only to establish draconian punishments for homosexual acts but also to actively encourage Ugandans to snoop on one another indefinitely for the supposed good of the nation.

If homophobes like Bahati were really worried about ‘protect[ing] the traditional family’, Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Mugisha argue, they’d concern themselves with tackling the conditions keeping so many Ugandans in poverty, rather than making scapegoats of homosexual people. The authors conclude that with an election approaching in 2011, the momentum behind the bill smacks of a none-too-subtle attempt to divert attention away from Uganda’s true issues.

Pambazuka – Bahati?s bill: A convenient distraction for Uganda’s government

Shared via AddThis

 

now sit down David Bahati, sit down parliament of Uganda,

(all homophobes line up here)

and just SHUT UP  en listen!

 

the most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love….

repost/ed from: NAIROBI, 16 October 2009 (PlusNews)

A draft bill before the Ugandan parliament that seeks to impose stricter sanctions on homosexuality would drive men who have sex with men further underground, making it even more difficult for them to access HIV services, according to AIDS activists.

According to Uganda’s New Vision newspaper, the draft bill, tabled by ruling party MP David Bahati, proposes a seven-year jail term for anyone who “attempts to commit the offence” or who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality”.

“If this bill is passed it will be a clear violation of human rights and will push men who have sex with men even further underground than they are,” Beatrice Were, a Ugandan HIV/AIDS activist, told IRIN/PlusNews.

“Our national strategic plan for HIV/AIDS aims to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care, but if people are criminalized and not allowed to exist, how can they access these services?” she added.

Homosexual acts, or “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, are already criminalized in Uganda, carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Under the draft bill, “promotion of homosexuality”, including publishing information or providing funds, premises for activities, or other resources, is also punishable by a seven-year sentence or a fine of US$50,000.

If passed, the bill would see the death penalty handed down for the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” – a sexual assault committed against a member of the same sex who is under 18 or disabled. Anyone found guilty of the offence of homosexuality would be forced to take an HIV test.

Morals don’t stop HIV; what stops HIV is the evidence from science

“Bahati’s proposed bill also supports stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive people, and would undermine years of efforts to tackle the epidemic,” Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe, a human rights activist, and Frank Mugisha, co-chair of the rights group, Sexual Minorities Uganda, said in a statement.

“Uganda has been considered a ‘best practice’ leader in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” the statement continued. “If [the bill is] passed, this leadership status would be put in serious question.”

The Uganda AIDS Commission classes men who have sex with men (MSMs) as “most at risk”, yet there are no HIV programmes targeting them and no action has been taken in response to a 2009 study by UNAIDS and the Uganda government recommending that “legal impediments to the inclusion of most-at-risk populations, including commercial sex workers, MSMs and IDUs [intravenous drug users], in the HIV/AIDS national response should be reviewed”.

“Morals do not stop HIV; what stops HIV is the evidence from science – we know that using condoms can prevent infection, using PEP [post-exposure prophylaxis] after exposure can stop infection, and ARVs [life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs] prevent mother-to-child transmission,” Were said. “People must feel comfortable enough to seek these services regardless of their sexual orientation.”