Archive for the ‘Transgender’ Category
Eight transgenders join UML Party
Sent by Sunil Pant
KATHMANDU: Political parties in Nepal seem to be getting friendly and welcoming with sexual minorities in recent days. A few months after Bhumika Shreshta, a transsexual, joined the Nepali Congress, the ruling CPN-UML welcomed eight sexual minorities in. UML Vice Chairman Ashok Rai welcomed them amid a function at party headquarters in Balkhu on Friday. Rai said they would be recognised as zonal committee members. Newly joined UML activists include Sandhya Lama, Badri Pun, Suman Chepang, Bishnu Chepang, Sumit Paudel, Raju Silwal and Sthapa Chaudhary. “We are quite happy with your entry into our party,” said Aasta Laxmi Shakya, a UML politburo member. “Your entry will be easier in mainstreaming your agenda as well.” UML leaders KP Sharma Oli, Binda Paney and Rai were also present at the function.
Terror Campaign Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Iraqis Continues Unchecked by Iraqi Government
IRAQI LGBT – November 2009 – The rise of fundamentalist groups in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. led invasion has proven deadly to LGBT Iraqis, who are now being forced to either hide or face the consequences.
Using the internet as a means to track down new victims, militia members are now employing computer analysts to monitor traffic on gay dating and networking websites in the region. They work with internet café owners to single out people who frequent these sites and set up fake profiles in the attempt to lure them out.
On the 28th of August, police raided the houses of Asad Galib and Faeq Ismail, both 24 years old, and took them into custody. They were held and questioned for about four hours, accused of viewing gay websites in an internet café on the 21st of July. Both men denied the accusations and explained that the websites had already been open when they had begun using the computers. They were later released and are now in contact with Iraqi LGBT, a London based organization working to support and protect LGBT individuals in Iraq.
Others who have been accused or are suspected of such activities have not been as lucky.
On the 2nd of September, the body of 21-year-old student Mizher Hussien was discovered in Al Najaf, a city south of Baghdad. His head and genitals had been severed, and he had the word “pervert” written in black across his chest. The details of his murder are unknown, and Iraqi police have refused to launch an investigation into the cause or motivation of the crime.
On the 18th of September in Al Shatra Amara, two bodies were found exhibiting signs of torture. They had both been decapitated and left with a paper stating, “This is the end of all pervert homosexuals”.
Iraqi LGBT has been working since 2003 to raise awareness of the abuses being committed against LGBT people in Iraq, as well as provide protection to those who have been targeted. The organization currently funds a number of safe houses in the region, with nearly 100 individuals in Iraq directly benefitting from their work. In addition, Iraqi LGBT has been involved in securing asylum for Iraqi refugees who have been forced to flee the country.
Unfortunately, Iraqi LGBT has not been able to help everyone. The organization estimates that over 720 LGBT men and women have been murdered by these extremist militias in the last six years. The Iraqi government has largely been absent in pursuing the roaming death squads who carry out these acts, likely due to the influence of extremist Shia religious parties that are calling for a moral cleansing of Iraq.
With extremist militias threatening all those known to support LGBT rights, including the 2006 raid of an Iraqi LGBT planning meeting in which five activists were arrested, there is little hope for Iraqis suffering under the new socio-political climate. Once the most liberal and secular of the Arab nations, nowadays a religious extremism has taken hold of the country to the detriment of its people.
Iraqi LGBT calls for immediate international action to prevent the further torture and execution of LGBT people in Iraq. More information and details on making donations to the safe houses effort can be found at the Iraqi LGBT blog:
Turkey: Transgender Activist Murdered
Government Should Prosecute Violence, Prohibit Discrimination
(New York, March 13, 2009) – The killing of Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender human rights activist, on March 10, 2009, shows a continuing climate of violence based on gender identity that authorities should urgently take steps to combat, Human Rights Watch said today. News reports and members of a Turkish human rights group said that an assailant stabbed and killed Ebru, 28, in her home in the center of Istanbul.
Members of Lambda Istanbul, which works for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual (LGBTT) people, told Human Rights Watch that in the last month Ebru had asked the Prosecutor’s Office for protection from the man who had beaten her on several occasions and threatened to kill her. Lambda Istanbul was told that a few weeks ago police detained the man but released him two hours later. The same man is under police custody as the murder suspect.
“The Turkish police have a duty to respond to all credible threats of violence, whoever the victim,” said Juliana Cano Nieto, researcher in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch. “Investigating violence against LGBT people, prosecuting suspects, and passing effective legislation to ensure equality are all critical to ensuring that these murderous abuses end.”
This is the second killing of a member of Lambda Istanbul in the past year. In July 2008, an unknown person shot and killed 26-year-old Ahmet Yildiz as he was leaving a café near the Bosporus. No one has been charged with this crime.
Members of Lambda Istanbul described Ebru as a leading figure in the organization, who worked to end police harassment and ill treatment of transgender people in Taksim, a central area in Istanbul. The LGBTT Platform for Human Rights, a coalition of several LGBTT organizations in Turkey, held a vigil on March 12, 2009 in front of Ebru’s home.
In 2007, Lambda Istanbul twice submitted a file of 146 cases they had documented to the Istanbul Provincial Human Rights Board, many dealing with reports of violence against transgender people, including cases of violence by the police. Several of these cases had been reported to the police. The then-deputy governor of Istanbul told Lambda Istanbul that the governor’s office had found no records of these allegations and complaints in the police districts involved.
“Until an anti-discrimination law is in place to protect the LGBT community and the police take seriously their duty to protect everyone, these murders will continue,” said Cano Nieto. “Turkey cannot continue to ignore its obligations when lives are at stake.”
The European Court of Human Rights has held that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life, requires police forces to take reasonable steps to protect a person when they receive credible information that there is a risk to that person’s life.
A May 2008 Human Rights Watch report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Turkey, “We Need a Law for Liberation,” documents the long and continuing history of violence and abuse based on sexual orientation and gender identity there. A subsequent December 2008 report specifically documents police violence in the country and features cases of harassment and abuses against transgender people in Istanbul.
In these reports, Human Rights Watch called on Turkey to pass legislation protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
For more of Human Rights Watch’s work on Turkey, please visit:
For more of Human Rights Watch’s work on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, please visit:
For more information, please contact:
In New York, Juliana Cano Nieto (English, Spanish): +1-646-407-0020 (mobile)
In Istanbul, Emma Sinclair-Webb (English, Turkish): +90-538-972- 4486 (mobile)
The Vatican refusal to sign the declaration before the UN that seeks to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide is true to form. In a recent ‘clarification’ the Vatican claims that while it has declined to sign-on, it condemns ‘unjust’ discrimination against homosexuals – without saying what exactly might constitute just discrimination.
By exempting itself from the list of states calling for decriminalization, the Vatican is in effect handing moral authority to those nations that are determined to keep homosexuals on the periphery of society, under fear of being persecuted for the ‘crime’ of gay orientation.
The two-faced position adopted by the Vatican is nothing new.
In a recent Guardian article, Peter Tatchell covers part of the Vatican’s abysmal track record on gay rights.
Unsurprisingly, the Vatican and the Organisation of Islamic States are leading the fight against the UN declaration. The opposition of the Pope is truly sickening, depraved and shameless.Of course, the Vatican has form. In 2004, it teamed up with Islamist dictatorships in the UN Commission on Human Rights to thwart a resolution sponsored by Brazil that opposed homophobic violence and discrimination. The Holy See is so viciously homophobic that it opposed the UN condemnation of the murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Recently a sit-in was staged near St Peter’s Square to protest the Vatican’s position on the declaration. Protesters sat under the banners of Arcigay and Arcilesbica – the two main gay and lesbian advocacy groups in Italy.
The main thrust of the Vatican position hinges on UN envoy Migliore’s convoluted contention that signing the document might “pillory” countries where homosexuality is illegal and force them to create “new categories (gay people) protected from discrimination.” And this is a bad thing?
Of course the main concern is that ‘normalizing’ homosexuality might lead to same-sex unions. But this makes little sense. The social sanctions and taboos against same-sex marriage in countries where homosexuality is outlawed makes the Vatican’s stated concerns about same-sex marriage little more than a red herring. It is an excuse to avoid stepping up to the plate on this issue… a posture consistent with the Vatican’s homophobic agenda.
Sent by Sunil Pant.
Kathmandu, Dec 11: Nepal’s ruling Maoist party, which till a year ago regarded homosexuality as a perversion threatening to corrupt society, will strike a blow for gay rights at the UN later this month, marking a sea-change in the organisation that took up arms to seize power.
Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who is defying the hardliners in his own party to push for a liberal multi-party democracy, has asked the Foreign Ministry and Nepal’s Ambassador to the UN to support a statement that will be tabled at the UN General Assembly this month recognising human rights violations on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Prachanda, a former revolutionary whose once banned party waged a 10-year war on the state to end the monarchy, renewed his commitment to gay rights on Wednesday to a delegation led by Nepal’s only publicly gay lawmaker Sunil Babu Pant.
The Prime Minister’s office also gave the delegation a copy of the order issued by it Monday, asking the appropriate Ministries to support the gay rights statement in the UN initiated by France and supported by a core group of eight more nations, including Japan, the Netherlands and Norway.
“Since then, 55 other countries have pledged to sign the document,” Pant said. “Nepal becomes the 56th.”
The statement, coming in a year that marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, urges for an end to human rights abuse perpetrated on people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The abuses include violence, criminal sanctions, torture and discrimination in accessing economic, social and cultural rights.
The Maoist decision to uphold gay rights comes just a year after its cadres were intimidating homosexuals in Kathmandu valley and asking house owners not to accept gay tenants.
Pant, who was nominated to Nepal’s newly elected constituent assembly by the Communist Party of Nepal-United, a partner in the ruling coalition and the first party to have fielded gays and transgenders during the April elections, says the Supreme Court was the first to secure gay rights.
Last year, the apex court recognised gays as “natural people” and ordered the government to end all discrimination against them. Last month, it also sanctioned gay marriages.
Recognising the growing network and clout of Nepal’s sexual minorities, this year three major political parties, including the Maoists, wooed the community by including gay welfare in their election manifestos.
“I wrote to Prachanda in November, urging him to show leadership at the UN on the issues of sexual and gender diversity,” said Pant, who in 2001 founded the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s first gay rights organisation that today is supported by British rock icon Sir Elton John.
“By supporting the France statement, Nepal shows government support for human rights that are set out in its own interim constitution,” he added.
Pant hailed the Maoist government’s efforts on behalf of the sexual minorities.
The budget tabled by Maoist Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has allocated Nepali Rs 2.5 million (USD 38,800) for a community building that can accommodate 50 homeless transgenders.
In a bigger project under the Poverty Alleviation Programme, about Rs 70 million has been earmarked to uplift the status of marginalised people like women, Dalits (former untouchables) and sexual minorities.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
Note: This page was taken from
The Remembering our Dead Web Project and The Transgender Day of Remembrance are owned by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, All Rights Reserved
Another transgender friend was murdered in Ankara
November 15, 2008
Press Release by KAOS GL (released on November 11, 2008)
As we were getting ready for the “November 20th, Remembrance Day for Transgender victims of hate murders” we were devastated by a news we received. On November 10, 2008, around 9:00 PM in Etlik, a district of Ankara, our friend Dilek was attacked with a pump action shotgun. She passed away at the Ankara Diskapi Education and Research Hospital at around 12:30 AM on November 11, 2008.
According to an eye-witness; while they were in the car with Dilek in the Etlik-Iskitler district, they were startled by a shot and the sound of a shattered window coming from the back of the car. A few minutes later, another fire was opened from the side of the car aiming Dilek’s head, who was sitting in the driver’s seat. When she was taken to a hospital where she was taken into intensive care. Eight shots were found in her head. This verifies that the assault might have been done with a shotgun. It was told that the assaulters ran away with a dark colored car and they were more than 2 people.
Dilek was one of the transsexuals who had filed complaints against the attackers in the Eryaman incidents. During the trial, she had also sat at the witness chair and testified against the assaulters. The suspects of the Eryaman incidents were released during the hearing on October 17, 2008.
Condolences to all of us.
Written by Baris Sulu, translated into English by Sedef Cakmak
The incident: On 20th October, Bengaluru police brutally attacked five sexual minority activists and arrested them on false charges when they tried enquiring about the illegal detention of five hijras (working class male-to-female transgenders). Police illegally detained and assaulted a large number of human rights defenders when they held a peaceful protest against the illegal police actions. Police also arrested 31 human rights defenders on false charges.
Coalition for Sexworkers and Sexual Minorities (a coming together of social movements and human rights groups in Bengaluru to resist police violence and to defend sexual minority human rights) requests you send emails or faxes to Indian authorities demanding action against guilty police for the crimes committed against human rights defenders. More information about the incident and the pretest actions is available at http://sangamablog.blogspot.com/
Please send a copy of your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A sample letter and email/fax details of the Indian authorities is given below.
Mr. B. S. Yeddyurappa, The Honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka
Dr. Manmohan Singh, The Honourable Prime Minister of India
Ms. Sonia Gandhi, The Respected Chairperson of United Progressive Alliance
Mr. S. Rajendra Babu, The Honourable Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission
Dr. Girija Vyas, The Honourable Chairperson of National Commission for Women
Ms. K. Sujatha Rao, The Respected Additional Secretary and Director General of National AIDS Control Organisation
Mr. Subray Rama Nayak, The Honorable Chairperson of Karnataka State Human Rights Commission
Dr. V. S. Acharya, The Honorable Minister for Home, Karnataka
Mr. S. Suresh Kumar, The Honorable Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights, Karnataka
Mr. P. M. Narendra Swamy, The Honorable Minister for Women and Child Development, Karnataka
Mr. B. Sriramulu, The Honorable Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Karnataka
Mr. Sree Kumar, The Respected Direct General & Inspector General of Police, Karnataka
The Respected Project Director of Karnataka States AIDS Prevention Society
Subject: Police harassment and suppression of rights of sexual minorities and human rights defenders in Bengaluru
We bring to your urgent notice the intense and targeted harassment of hijras (working class male-to-female transgenders) by the police of Bengaluru city over the past week. We are also shocked at the treatment meted out by the same police force on human rights activists who sought to enquire after the mistreatment of the hijras.
On 20th October morning, five hijras were caught by the police and taken to the Girinagar police station. In the station, the hijras were beaten up by the police, including the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), H. T. Ramesh. False charges under section 341 (wrongful restraint) and 384 (extortion) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) were brought upon them. They were produced before the magistrate at 7:30 pm and were sent into judicial custody. All through the hijras were handled by men police and no medical treatment was given to the injured hijras in police or judicial custody. They were released on bail on 22nd October, 2008.
Upon receiving a call from one of the arrested hijras, five crisis team members of Sangama rushed to the Girinagar police station. Sangama is a human rights organization that has been working among hijras and other sexual minorities on issues of their rights and health for the past ten years. Sangama’s crisis intervention is recognized as an effective practice by the Indian Government through its National AIDS Control Plan III, 2006-2011 to be emulated by organizations working with sexual minorities and sexworkers across India. The crisis team members tried to enquire of the police about the arrested hijras.
To the surprise of the members, they were roundly abused by the police, and subjected to physical and verbal assault. All had their organizational ID cards with them, but this did not prevent them from being illegally assaulted and detained by the police at the Banashankari police station, and later at the Girinagar police station. All of them were accused of offences punishable under Section 143 (unlawful assembly), 145 (joining unlawful assembly ordered to be dispersed), 147 (rioting) and 353 (obstructing government officials in performing their duty) of the IPC. They were produced before the magistrate at 8.45 PM and were sent into judicial custody. These 5 crisis team members were released on bail on 22nd October, 2008.
Around 150 human rights activists and lawyers from various organizations gathered outside the Banashankari police station by the evening of October 20. They tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the ACP and the Police Inspector to release the Sangama crisis team members. At around 7pm a peaceful protest started in front of the police station. The police then called in six of the protesters as delegates into the police station. The delegates were representatives of various women’s rights, dalit, trade union, sexworkers and sexual minority organizations. The policemen then proceeded to detain the six delegates for nearly four hours, without any drinking water or toilet facilities, and subjected them to physical, verbal and sexual assault. The policemen and officers also very categorically said that they knew what they were doing was illegal, but they were following orders from the top of the police hierarchy.
At around 7.45pm men police brutally attacked the peaceful protesters with sticks and subjected them to physical, verbal and sexual assault. Police crammed 31 of them into a small 12-seater police van, with no room to stand or breathe for 7 long hours. Police tried to avoid proper production of the accused before the magistrate to avoid protestors from complaining against assault, abuse and torture by police. They were produced only after serious protest and demonstration by lawyers at 1:30am. All of them were accused of offences punishable under Section 143, 145 and 353 read with 149 (common intention) of the IPC. These 31 activists were released on bail on 21st October, 2008.
We are shocked at the callous attitude of the Bengaluru police force, in not only physically assaulting the arrested hijras, but also the Sangama crisis team members, and the representatives of various sexual minorities, sexworkers, dalit, women, trade union and other human rights organizations, who went to enquire after them. We find that the reported assault on hijras and sex-workers in the city has been on the increase in the last few months. They are picked up by the police and detained or assaulted without any provocation. The statements of the police officers at Banashankari police station clearly points to an organized and systematic crackdown on these people. We need not point out to you that in the eyes of the law, all citizens have equal rights, irrespective of their religion, language, gender identity, sexual preference or employment. Therefore the targeted attack by the police on any particular community, whatever be the reason, is against the law that your Government is mandated to uphold.
We therefore demand:
1. Dismiss the guilty police including H. T. Ramesh (ACP) and M. Shivashankaramurthi (PI); and prosecute them for the crimes (assault, abuse, sexual assault and illegal detention) committed against human rights defenders
2. Stop brutal police violence (physical and sexual) against hijras and sexworkers on the streets of Bengaluru and punish the perpetrators of violence
3. We hope that your government will take immediate action to ensure that these demands are met, and that such human rights violations do not recur in the city.
Mr. B. S. Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka
Fax: +91-80-22253660/ 22281021/ 22253660
Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
Fax : + 91-11-23019545/ 23016857
Email : email@example.com
Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of United Progressive Alliance
Mr. S. Rajendra Babu, Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dr. Girija Vyas, Chairperson of National Commission for Women
Fax : +91-11-23236988
Ms. K. Sujatha Rao, Additional Secretary and Director General of National AIDS Control Organisation
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Mr. Subray Rama Nayak, Chairperson of State Human Rights Commission, Karnataka
Fax: +91-80-22392206/ 22392207
Dr. V.. S. Acharya, Minister for Home, Karnataka
Mr. S. Suresh Kumar, Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights, Karnataka
Mr. P. M. Narendra Swamy, Minister for Women and Child Development, Karnataka
Mr. B. Sriramulu, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Karnataka
Mr. Sree Kumar, Director General & Inspector General of Police, Karnataka
Project Director of Karnataka States AIDS Prevention Society
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
The Mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is to secure the full enjoyment of human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression and/or HIV status.
URGENT ACTION – Uganda
Please support this appeal on behalf of our arrested and harassed LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda.
This appeal is being coordinated by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Below is the latest information on the homophobic witch-hunt in Uganda, and a sample letter you can send to the Ugandan President and others (their email addresses are below).
International solidarity works, as we know from the global campaign against apartheid in South Africa.
Thanks for your support for our Ugandan LGBT friends.
Peter Tatchell, OutRage!, London
September 19, 2008
INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Uganda: Action Alert-Demand An End To Official Harassment of LGBT Activists
In what appears to be an all-out effort to silence the sexual rights movement in Uganda, police have again arrested high profile members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, this time two male-to-female transgender gay men – Georgina (aka) Oundo George and Brenda (aka Kiiza). According to Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), two men who identified themselves as police officers, but were not in the customary Ugandan Police uniform arrested both men at the home of Georgina on Wednesday September 10, 2008.
Georgina and Brenda were held at Nabweru Police Post for a full week without access to lawyers or to bail. They were never brought before a judge, even though Article 3.9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that, “anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge.”
Article 23 of the Ugandan Constitution requires that an arrested person must appear before a judge within 48 hours of arrest.
Brenda and Georgina report being beaten, kicked and hit with batons round the legs and ankles during their detention as interrogators demanded that they provide information about the names and addresses of other LGBT activists. Brenda and Georgina were finally released on September 17, 2008, but have been required to report regularly to the police station. They have been accused of “spreading homosexuality,” though no such crime exists under Ugandan law. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” is punishable by up to life imprisonment in Uganda.
Among the rights violated in this most recent incident are:
The right to liberty and security of person; freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
The right to freedom from torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
The right to freedom of expression
IGLHRC requests that its members send appeals to Ugandan authorities as quickly as possible:
Demanding an end to the harassment of Oundo George and Kiiza through the requirement that they report to the police on a regular basis. Calling on the Ugandan government to immediately end illegal arrests and detention of LGBT individuals and human rights defenders.
Asking for a repeal of Section 145 of the Penal Code Act of 1950, which ostensibly criminalizes homosexual acts.
Please feel free to cut and paste from our letter (below) and send faxes and e-mails to the following officials:
PO Box 7168
Fax: + 256 414 346 102
Salutation: Your Excellency
Inspector General of Police
Major Kale Kayihura
PO Box 7055
Fax: + 256 414 255 630
Salutation: Dear Major
Minister of Justice
Hon. Makubuya Kiddu
PO Box 7183
Fax: + 256 414 234 453
Salutation: Dear Minister
Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission
P.O .Box 4929, Kampala,
Fax: +256 414 255 261
Salutation: Dear Chairperson
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Uganda accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND COPIES OF ALL APPEALS TO IGLHRC SO THAT WE CAN TRACK THE RESPONSE:
Fax: +27.21.462.3024, fax
Your Excellency President Museveni,
I am writing to you to express my concern about the unwarranted arrest and arbitrary detention of two lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights defenders in Uganda on September 10, 2008. George Oundo and Kizza Brenda were held in detention for eight days without going before a judge. Article 23 of the Constitution of Uganda makes it unconstitutional to hold a suspect for over 48 hours. Furthermore, it is my understanding that these two individuals were arrested and detained solely as a result of their sexual orientation and gender identity
The continuous violation of the basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people perpetuated by the Ugandan government is of great concern. I understand that Uganda is party to various
regional and international human rights covenants such as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which condemn arrests based on
arbitrary categories such as race, ethnicity, political belief and sexual orientation, among others.
I would ask that your government ceases and desists from harassing and arresting LGBT people simply because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and end the harassment and intimidation of LGBT human rights defenders. I would also urge you to consider the repeal of Section 145 of the Penal Code Act of 1950, which criminalizes homosexual acts. Such laws have been declared a violation of the rights to privacy and equality by the United Nations and have caused great pain to many of your citizens.
Executive Director International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Cc: Major Kale Kayihura, Hon. Makubuya Kiddu, Margret Sekagya
In the past five years, there have been nearly a dozen arrests of LGBT people on charges related to homosexuality in Uganda. Authorities have harassed LGBT human rights defenders in their homes and in public and fined a private radio station that broadcast a program on HIV prevention among men who have sex with men. In July 2005, Uganda’s Parliament passed an amendment to the constitution making Uganda only the second country in the world to use its supreme law to outlaw marriage between people of the same sex. In 2007, a coalition of religious leaders marched through the streets of Kampala demanding the arrests of LGBT people with one cleric even calling for the “starving to death” of homosexuals. Buttressed by the official homophobia of the state, the Ugandan media has published lists of gay men and lesbians, leading to physical violence, loss of employment and the curtailing of educational opportunities for those LGBT people who were named.
On June 4, 2008, Usaam Mukwaaya, Pepe Julian Onziema and Valentine Kalende, were arrested and charged with criminal trespass while peacefully attending the HIV/AIDS Implementers Meeting in Kampala. The arrest of the activists was condemned by local and international organizations, including UNAIDS, as well as by the U.S. government. Usaam Mukwaaya was rearrested on July 25, 2008 on his way from Friday prayers and was detained and tortured for several days.
IGLHRC is deeply concerned that this increasingly clear pattern of abuse – arrest, mistreatment in detention, and then release – is a systematic attempt to silence the Ugandan LGBT, feminist and human rights communities through constant harassment. There have also been reliable reports that authorities have a list of LGBT leaders including addresses, photographs and other personal information. Some activists have fled into neighboring countries to escape arrest.
The Mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is to secure the full enjoyment of human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression and/or HIV status.
Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net
By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk • July 1, 2008
In a decision hailed as “remarkable” the Swedish Migration Board has decided that people who lived openly as gay or lesbian in Iran should be granted asylum.
Previously more evidence of persecution would have been required.
While there will still be individual assessments of each case, the board’s new “guiding decision” will take into account the risk that the person might be persecuted because of their sexual orientation.
Stig-Ake Petersson, a gay asylum activist working for The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), said he has had a number of meetings with the Swedish Migration Board regarding gay Iranians seeking asylum.
Henrik Winman, a lawyer with the Migration Board, told Dagens Nyheter:
“The situation of homosexuals and bisexuals, transgender people in Iran is difficult and RFSL has commented on our past practice.”
The Swedish decision follows the case of a 25-year-old Iranian who fled to the Scandinavian country. He said he had lived openly with his boyfriend in Iran and had been arrested several times.
The migration board gave him leave to remain in Sweden as a refugee as they considered he would run the risk of persecution because of his sexual orientation.
The ruling seems to be at odds with the “country information” from the Swedish Foreign Affairs ministry.
Three weeks ago the country’s embassy in Tehran said that there are “no executions in Iran as a result of their sexual orientation.”
RFSL has also reportedly successfully submitted a case involving a gay Iranian man to UN’s Committee against Torture, the first time such a case has been accepted.
In the UK, the Home Secretary has moved to clarify a statement she made in a letter to a Lib Dem peer stating that gay people who live “discreetly” in Iran face no danger.
Jacqui Smith said that individual cases would be considered but “current case law handed down by the asylum and immigration tribunal concludes that the evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation.”