Archive for December, 2009

BBC debate: Should homosexuals face execution?

Have Your Say team criticised, but debate encouraged

London – 17 December 2009

A storm of controversy has erupted after the BBC News Channel hosted an online debate – “Should homosexuals face execution?” – on its website on Wednesday 16 December 2009.

See the BBC Have Your Say Africa website here:

http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?forumID=7347&edition=1&ttl=20091217021326

Following protests, the title of the debate “Should homosexuals face execution?” was changed to “Should Uganda debate gay execution?” But opening sentence of the text below still read: “Should homosexuals face execution?”

The debate was about legislation before the Ugandan parliament that would introduce the death penalty for people who commit repeated homosexual acts.

See the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:

http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/09/Nov/Bill-No-18-Anti-Homosexuality-Bill-2009_Uganda.pdf

“I think it perfectly reasonable for the BBC to host a debate about the current Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, but not in the terms that it was framed,” said Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner and spokesperson for the LGBT equality group, OutRage!

“The BBC would not hold online debates such as: Should Jews be exterminated? Was the Rwandan genocide justified? Should the people of Darfur be massacred? Is it right to stone women to death in Somalia?” added Mr Tatchell.

“Moreover, the BBC’s commentary announcing the debate put a very weak case against the execution of lesbian and gay Ugandans. It read like an open invitation for homophobic endorsements of the state-sponsored killing of gay people.

“It is a good thing to promote awareness and debate about this vile legislation, even if it means giving homophobes an opportunity to air their prejudice and hatred.

“We have to acknowledge that violently homophobic views still exist in many parts of the world, even in Britain. Bringing this homophobia into the open is a wake up call. It usefully jolts liberal-minded people out of their complacency.

“Engaging bigoted views in debate is the best way to change them, or at least to change some of them. Challenging and refuting homophobic ignorance is the key to overcoming it.

“Closing down debates and censoring people is dangerous. It threatens free speech and drives hatred underground, where it cannot be countered,” said Mr Tatchell.

Peter Tatchell

www.petertatchell.net

A Million Hits on Gaza – A Promotional Film about Gaza Launches New Book’s Worldwide Awareness Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY

SEATTLE/TORONTO/LONDON – A promotional short film for a new book on Gaza is being released worldwide today, days before the official book launch in the U.K., to commemorate the first anniversary of the Gaza massacre – Israel’s so-called Operation Cast Lead, which killed and wounded thousands in Gaza a year ago.

Told from the perspectives of the refugees, My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story is heralded as an incomparable chronicle of the history of the Gaza Strip, and has been endorsed by leading intellectuals and academics.

The book’s author, Ramzy Baroud, was born and raised in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He was witness to much of Gaza’s tumultuous history. “Gaza’s story is the most fascinating story there is, yet somehow it’s reduced to a few simple, redundant, and misleading clichés that barely grab attention anymore,” Baroud said. “I am determined to challenge and change that. Thanks to courageous publishers like Pluto Press, and the dedicated efforts of many talented individuals out there, we shall together change the ways the Gaza story is told.”

The short film, carrying the name of the book, is being released on YouTube, in both English and Arabic versions. The film will also be broadcast on a number of TV stations around the world. The filmmakers and book author are calling on readers and activists around the world to ensure the widest possible dissemination of Gaza’s untold story, by reading and helping to promote the book, and by encouraging others to watch the film at YouTube, through sharing the film with friends, family, and colleagues – with an aim to reach a million views at YouTube.

The “A Million Hits on Gaza” film-sharing movement at YouTube is just the beginning of a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of the book, and of Gaza’s untold stories and history, a campaign that will also include readings, book tours, the screen adaptation of the book into a feature film, and various educational, grassroots, community, and international film festival screenings of the completed feature film.

The promotional short film was created in a matter of days, with zero budget, by a team of artists in Canada and the U.K. that included filmmakers Paul Lee and Cathy Gulkin, editor and screenwriter George Kaltsounakis, composer and jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, and with the collaboration of writer and journalist Hani Yared (who helped with the translation and the preparation of the Arabic version of the film).

The book is available through the Pluto Press website (www.plutobooks.com), and also through Amazon.com. Beginning March 2010, the book will be distributed in the United States by Palgrave Macmillan, which is promoting the book as a “trade title.”

To view the film in English, click here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K2VpARDkzw

To view the film in Arabic, click here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0NSpmrMZ4w

To purchase the book from Pluto Press, visit: www.plutobooks.com

To purchase the book at Amazon, visit: www.amazon.com

For more information, reviews, book tours, visit www.ramzybaroud.net, or e-mail: info@ramzybaroud.net

Breaking: Rwandan Parliament to Vote on Criminalizing Homosexuality

The lower house of the Rwandan Parliament will vote on a draft revision of the penal code that will, for the first time, make homosexuality a crime in Rwanda. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned that the proposed Article 217 of the draft Penal Code Act will criminalize “[a]ny person who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relation or any sexual practice.” Rwanda’s Chamber of Deputies will vote on the draft code December 16, 2009. If the Chamber of Deputies approves, the draft code will likely go before the Rwandan Senate in early 2010.

Article 217 violates Rwandans’ basic human rights and is contradictory to the Rwandan Constitution as well as various regional and international conventions. IGLHRC, the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), and Rwanda’s Horizon Community Association (HOCA) will shortly issue a call to action to demand that the Rwandan Parliament withdraw this article. We urge the international community to act against this proposed law and support the equality, dignity, and privacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Rwanda.

This draft provision targeting LGBT people closely follows the introduction of a similar measure in neighboring Uganda, where the nation’s parliament is currently debating an Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The proposed Ugandan law would prohibit all LGBT activism and organizing, would further criminalize consensual same-sex conduct between adults, which is already illegal in Uganda, and in some cases apply the death penalty.

Find out more information about LGBT Human Rights in Rwanda

Colleagues, friends, and comrades,

Walter Trochez, a well-known LGBT activist in Honduras who was an active member of the National Resistance Front against the coup d’etat there, was assassinated on December 13. Trochez, who had already been arrested and beaten for his sexual orientation after participating in a march against the coup, had been very active recently in documenting homophobic crimes committed by the forces behind the coup.
American University Assistant Professor of Anthropology Adrienne Pine has translated into English on her blog a statement about the Trochez murder by the Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH — the Center for the Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Honduras), which you can find here:

http://quotha.net/node/629

She has also translated a moving statement about the Trochez murder from the influential youth organization Los Necios, which is here:

http://quotha.net/node/631
Adrienne e-mailed me that “Walter has been one of the most important figures in the LGBT community in Honduras for years. Unfortunately, most of what’s written about him is in Spanish. A volunteer is translating one of his last open letters to the resistance condemning the large number of targeted political assassinations of members of the LGBT community since the coup, which I am pasting below (in case you read Spanish). That letter will be available in English on my website by tomorrow.” For more info, contact Adrienne Pine at pine@american.edu
Amnesty International has issued a statement calling for an investigation of the murder, which you can read here:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/honduras-full-and-prompt-investigation-needed-death-human-rights-campaig
More in Spanish on Trochez’ assassination at:

http://www.kaosenlared.net/noticia/110695/honduras-tantas-veces-mataron-tantas-veces-mori-walter-trochez-present
and there are several news articles in Spanish available on Google News.
Trochez’s November 19 e-mail on LGBT assassinations in Honduras since the coup, in Spanish, is below.

Doug Ireland

El 16 de noviembre de 2009 13:44, Walter Trochez escribió:

Incremento de los crímenes de odio y homofobia hacia la Comunidad LGTTB a raíz del golpe de Estado cívico- religioso-militar en Honduras

El golpe de Estado cívico-militar sucedido en Honduras el 28 de junio pasado ha dado un vuelco brutal a la nueva perspectiva que se había abierto en el siglo XXI en América Latina. En efecto, la región estuvo sellada en los últimos diez años por la instauración de gobiernos de diferentes características cuyo denominador común es que significaron un cambio de rumbo respecto de las políticas neoliberales que alcanzaron su apogeo en la región en la última década del siglo XX. En muchos casos la forma parlamentaria asumida por los gobiernos de la región enmascaró hasta cierto punto la continuidad e identidad de las políticas sociales y económicas del neoliberalismo con las instauradas en la época de las dictaduras militares. La situación en Honduras vuelve a hacer manifiesta esa indisociabilidad entre las políticas sociales y económicas neoliberales y los intereses a cuyo servicio se perpetraron los crímenes de lesa humanidad por gobiernos de facto.

También vuelve a hacer manifiesto un dato más o menos disimulado por la retórica del “consenso” y la “tolerancia” a que se pretendió reducir la noción de democracia en el período subsiguiente a las dictaduras militares y guerras civiles que devastaron la región: no sólo la persistencia sino el rearme de los sectores civiles que recurrieron en otra etapa a las fuerzas armadas y de seguridad para imponer sus intereses, y que ahora combinan hábilmente su adaptación a los procedimientos democráticos con la conocida prepotencia e ilegalidad con que se imponen a poblaciones seminermes, semi cómplices. Sin ir más lejos, no es difícil ver en las fuerzas que sacaron ventaja en las elecciones legislativas en Argentina el mismo 28 de junio el apoyo, en algunos casos explícito, al golpe de Estado en Honduras, y una comunidad de intereses con el empresariado, las corporaciones mediáticas y la Iglesia Catolica y Evangélica que lo promovieron. A nuestros efectos es de destacar el explícito apoyo de la cúpula religiosa de Honduras al golpe cívico militar que el 28 de junio de 2009 impidió la realización de un plebiscito organizado por el gobierno legitomo constitucional y colocó en el Poder Ejecutivo a el Dictador Roberto y Micheletti.

Un comunicado de la Conferencia Episcopal de Honduras, firmado por los once obispos de la Iglesia Católica, justifica con supuestos fundamentos constitucionales el secuestro, la transitoria desaparición y expulsión del país del presidente constitucional: “las instituciones del Estado democrático hondureño están en vigencia y sus ejecutorias en materia jurídico-legal han sido apegadas a derecho…”. Además define la situación actual como “nuevo punto de partida para el diálogo, el consenso y la reconciliación…” Por otra parte, en consonancia con la reacción y declaraciones de los movimientos sociales, especialmente LGTTB, campesinos, indígenas, del país, no se hicieron esperar las reacciones de las distintas organizaciones, Lésbicas, Gay, Bisexuales, Transexuales, Travestis (LGTTB), organizaciones, redes y movimientos juveniles, organizaciones Afrodecendientes,organizaciones de mujeres, activistas y defensores de derechos humanos, organizaciones y redes de derechos humanos condenando el golpe de Estado y llamando a la solidaridad regional e internacional con el Estado de derecho y con las víctimas de la represión del gobierno de facto.

Las organizaciones, redes y movimientos LGTTB en resistencia por ejemplo; condenan “el golpe político militar contra el estado de Honduras con el apoyo financiero de los empresarios de la ultraderecha latinoamericana y norteamericana, la promoción de las corporaciones mediáticas nacionales, la protección del Ombudsman mercantilista Ramón Custodio del Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humano de Honduras (CONADEH) y la bendición de las Iglesias católica y evangélica” atraves de sus máximos representantes como es el mismo Cardemal Oscar Andres Rodríguez,monseñor Darwin Andino, Pasquel Rodríguez, Monseñor Garachana de la diócesis de San Pedro Sula, el pastor Oswaldo Canales actualmente presidente del Consejo Nacional Anticorrupción CNA, el pastor Evelio Pistero de la Iglesia Vida y pisto Abundante, el Pastor René Peñalba y el pastor Alberto Solórzano y los ancianos cofundadores de la Iglesia Evangélica CCI . Expresan su “apoyo irrestricto al regreso del orden constitucional en Honduras que pasa por la restauración de la democracia”, y exige “el cese de la represión que vivimos las y los activistas y defensores de derechos humanos, las organizaciones que nos manifestamos contra el golpe por parte de los cuerpos militares y policiales retirados responsables de los desaparecidos y desaparecidas de la década del 80 en Honduras comandados por el asesino Billy Joya.

“Por su parte la Asociación LGTTB Arcoiris y el Colectivo TTT de la Ciudad de San Pedro Sula, activistas y defensores de derechos humanos, denuncian que desde el pasado 29 de junio del año en curso horas anteriores que se había generado el Golpe de Estado se incrementaron los crimes de odio y Homofobia promovidos por la Cupula Religiosa Hondureña en complicidad con los Grupos Opresores como son la Fuerzas Armadas, la Secretaria Nacional de Seguridad, la Empresa Privada, los Grupos Próvida, el Opus Dei, Estos delitos ponen una vez más en evidencia los altos niveles de odio, estigma y discriminación contra personas de la diversidad sexual, lo que llamamos, homofobia, lesbofobia, bifobia, y sobre todo transfobia, de los que somos objetos las personas que tenemos una orientación sexual o identidad de género diferente a la del patrón de la norma heterosexual. En la ocasión de la pérdida de dos amigas más esta última semana, reiteramos que NO es ACEPTABLE que en estos últimos 4 meses, durante un tan corto periodo, hayan muerto de forma violenta cruel e inhumana 9 compañeras trans y compañeros gay, 6 de ellas/os en el sector de San Pedro Sula y 3 en la ciudad de Tegucigalpa”.

Las y los mártires de la Comunidad LGTTB.

1. Viki Hernández 29 de junio, San Pedro Sula
2. Martina Jackson 30 de junio, Choloma
3. Fabio Zamora 05 de julio, Tegucigalpa
4. Héctor Maradiaga 11 de agosto, Tegucigalpa
5. Michelle Torres 30 de agosto, San Pedro Sula
6. Salomé Miranda 20 de septiembre, Choloma
7. Saira Salmerón 20 de septiembre, Choloma
8. Marión Lanza 09 de octubre, Tegucigalpa
9. Montserrat Maradiaga 11 de octubre, San Pedro Sula.

“Sépanlo bien: ni los corrompidos (corruptos) ni los impuros, ni los explotadores y explotadoras, que sirven al dios Dinero, tendrán parte en el reino de Cristo y de Dios”.

“Como revolucionario, estaré hoy, mañana y siempre en las primeras filas de mi pueblo, aún estando consiente que se nos podrá ir la vida”.

Walter Orlando Trochez
Activista y Defensor de los Derechos Humanos de Honduras Y Latinoamérica sector (VIH y Sida, LGTTB, Juventud y Adolescencia, Niñez)

Doug Ireland website

Human Rights Day protest against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill – Ugandan Embassy, London, 10 December 2009. L-R: Michael Senyonjo, Richard S, Topher Campbell, Peter Tatchell, Godwyns Onwuchekwa, Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay – Photo credit Brett Lock

London Uganda Demo – Photos and Report by Peter Tatchell

Protesters urge: “Drop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

London – 10 December 2009

Nearly 100 protesters rallied outside the Ugandan Embassy in London on Human Rights Day to support the Ugandan LBGTI community. They called on the Ugandan government to drop its draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is currently being debated by the Ugandan parliament.

Under this proposed law, LGBTI Ugandans will face execution for certain homosexual acts and life imprisonment for all other same-sex acts – even mere caressing and kissing.

The London protesters included LGBTI activists from the UK and of Jamican descent, plus LGBTI campaigners from Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, the Congo and Kenya.

See photos of the protest here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/outrage/sets/72157622975859486/

These photos are free to use. Please credit Brett Lock of OutRage!

The keynote speakers were gay Ugandan John Bosco and straight Ugandan human rights activist, Michael Senyonjo.

John Bosco was recently jailed in Uganda, after he was illegally and forcibly returned to Uganda by the British Home office while seeking asylum in the UK.

He condemned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as “an attack on the civil liberties of all Ugandans,” denouncing it as “dividing Ugandans against each other and requiring people to report on their own family members who are gay.”

Michael Senyonjo told the crowd:

“In the last five years we have seen Idi Amin return to Uganda and his name is (President) Yoweri Museveni. We cannot allow fascism to return to Uganda. He should leave power and go because he is not taking the country anywhere but to disaster,” he said.

Peter Tatchell of the London LGBTI rights group OutRage! echoed this view:

“President Museveni is fast becoming the Robert Mugabe of Uganda and that’s a threat to the civil rights of every Ugandan person – gay or straight….There’s a huge ground swell of public opinion that this bill goes way too far. Even people who say they’re against homosexuality say this bill is excessive and a threat to the human rights of all Ugandans.

The Ugandan government should drop this law and abide by international human rights legislation.

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill violates the equality and non-discrimination clauses of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are merely asking Uganda to uphold international human rights law.

“This homophobic legislation undermines the right to privacy and individual liberty and thereby sets a dangerous legal precedent which threatens the human rights of all Ugandans. It is part of a wider drift towards an authoritarian state,” Mr Tatchell said.

The protest MC was Dennis Hambridge, global coordinator of the Gay Activists Alliance International (GAAI). He said the protest was about sending a message to the Uganda government – that the world is watching and that human rights supporters deplore this repressive bill.

Nigerian gay activists Godwyns Onwuchekwa, Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay and Bisi Alimi declared that gay rights are human rights and expressed pan-African solidarity with Ugandan LGBTI people.

Other speakers condemned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including Skye Chirape (a Zimbabwean lesbian activist), Topher Campbell (a Black British gay man of Jamaican descent, who is a lead member of the black arts collective, the Rukus Foundation) and Josh Kutchinsky (a spokesperson for the British Humanist Association).

The London protest was coordinated by the Gay Activists Alliance International, with the support of OutRage! and Ugandan LGBTI exiles (most of whom were too afraid to be photographed or identified in case there are reprisals against their families in Uganda).

Other supporting organisations included Changing Attitudes, Rainbow Church, Queer Youth North, British Humanist Association, Rukus Foundation and the National Union of Students LGBT section.

See full details of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:

http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/09/Nov/Bill-No-18-Anti-Homosexuality-Bill-2009_Uganda.pdf

“The new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if passed, proposes the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ and ‘serial’ homosexual acts and extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have gay relations. Life imprisonment is also the penalty for contracting a same-sex mariage,” said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage!.

“Membership of LGBT organisations and funding for them, advocacy of LGBT human rights and the provision of condoms or safer sex advice to LGBT people will result in a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of seven years for “promoting” homosexuality. A person in authority who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will incur three years behind bars.

“Astonishingly, the new legislation has an extra-territorial jusridiction. It will also apply to Ugandans who commit these ‘crimes’ while living abroad, in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence. Violators overseas will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda,” added Mr Tatchell.

According to Dennis Hambridge of GAAI:

“The bill is likely to be detrimental to the fight against HIV/AIDS by denying gay and bisexual men access to condoms and safer sex advice and driving countless numbers of them further underground. It will create even more stigma, discrimination and oppression

“Activists in Uganda have reported to GAAI that there are eight gay people currently awaiting trial or sentencing in Uganda.

“With immense pressure being put on the Ugandan Government to drop the bill, by human rights groups, governments and religious groups worldwide, we call on people in the UK to protest,” he said.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and the World AIDS Campaign.

It violates the Commonwealth principles of human rights and human dignity. You can email the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, here:

secretary-general@commonwealth.int

If you were not able to attend Thursday’s protest, please lobby your MP and MEP. Ask them to write to the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, urging that the legislation is dropped. You can email your MP and MEP here: http://www.writetothem.com

You can also email the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, yourself:

info@ugandahighcommission.co.uk

Thank you.

All power to Ugandan LGBTI people! For a free, democratic, secular and humanitarian Uganda!

ENDS

Videos of Uganda protest in London – Human Rights Day – 10 December 2009

Videos of the protest outside the Ugandan Embassy in London to support the Ugandan LBGTI community and oppose the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The keynote speakers were gay Ugandan John Bosco and straight Ugandan human rights activist, Michael Senyonjo.

John Bosco – Gay Ugandan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH4hEbjG5G0

Michael Senyonjo – Ugandan human rights activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S54WZHbPbyE

Skye Chirape – Zimbabwean lesbian activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkQHe96-GXY

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay – Nigerian gay pastor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_F9ZQCAtDs

Godwyns Onwuchekwa – Nigerian LGBT activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YoBWgozMKI

Topher Campbell – Black gay activist, Rukus Foundation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbJ79YTXTmM

Peter Tatchell 1/2 – OutRage! gay activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMnTQR2Z8b8

Peter Tatchell 2/2 – OutRage! gay activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbMdPT_PT6A

Terry Conway – Lesbian trade union activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CZejmcPlSM

See also photos of the protest here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/outrage/sets/72157622975859486/
These photos are free to use. Please credit Brett Lock of OutRage!

Among the protesters were African LGBTI activists from Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, the Congo and Kenya.

The photos and videos omit some of the Ugandan LGBTI exiles who joined the demo. They asked to not be photographed or filmed in case there are reprisals against their families in Uganda. This is proof that homophobia is already – even before the Anti-Homosexuality Bill – wrecking the lives of LGBTI Ugandans and their families and friends.

For more details of the protest, see here:

http://www.petertatchell.net/international/london-uganda-demo.html

Video from Pride London

Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill Protest London 7th Nov 2009

Protest Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Thursday 10th December 2009

12pm- 2pm

Ugandan High Commission

58-59 Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross

London, WC2N 5DX

To coincide with International Human Rights Day, this Thursday 10 December, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has called for worldwide protests against the draconian Anti-Homsexuality Bill currently being debated by the Ugandan parliament.

Under this proposed new law, gay Ugandans will face execution for certain homosexual acts.

See details of the legislation here:

https://gayswithoutborders.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/bill-no-18-anti-homosexuality-bill-2009_uganda.pdf

If you can’t attend Thursday’s protest, please lobby your MP and MEP. Ask them to write to the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, urging that the legislation is dropped. You can email your MP and MEP here: http://www.writetothem.com

You can also email the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, yourself:

info@ugandahighcommission.co.uk

“The new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if passed, proposes the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ and ‘serial’ homosexual acts and extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have gay relations. Life imprisonment is also the penalty for contracting a same-sex mariage,” said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage!.

Out Rage! is backing the London protest, which is being coordinated by the Gay Activists Alliance International, with the support of Gay Uganda and Ugandan LGBT exiles. Mr Tatchell will speak at the rally, together with Davis Mac-Iyalla (Nigeria and co-founder of GAAI) and Skye Chirape (Zimbabwe)

“Membership of LGBT organisations and funding for them, advocacy of LGBT human rights and the provision of condoms or safer sex advice to LGBT people will result in a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of seven years for “promoting” homosexuality. A person in authority who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will incur three years behind bars,” added Mr Tatchell.

“Astonishingly, the new legislation has an extra-territorial jusridiction. It will also apply to Ugandans who commit these ‘crimes’ while living abroad, in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence. Violators overseas will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda,” he said.

According to Dennis Hambridge, GAAI global coordinator:

“The bill is likely to be detrimental to the fight against HIV/AIDS by denying gay and bisexual men access to condoms and safer sex advice and driving countless numbers of them further underground. It will create even more stigma, discrimination and oppression

“Activists in Uganda have reported to GAAI that there are eight gay people currently awaiting trial or sentencing in Uganda.

“With immense pressure being put on the Ugandan Government to drop the bill, by human rights groups, governments and religious groups worldwide, we call on our people in the UK to support this protest,” he said.

GAAI are also hoping that gay Ugandan John Bosco Nyombi will be able to attend Thursday’s protest. Earlier this year, the British courts ordered the return of John Bosco Nyombi to the UK after he was illegally and forcibly returned to Uganda while seeking asylum in the UK.

The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill violates the equality and non-discrimination provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Uganda is a signatory. These breaches of international humanitarian commitments undermine the right to privacy and individual liberty and thereby set a dangerous legal precedent which threatens the human rights of all Ugandans. They are part of a wider drift towards an authoritarian state. President Museveni is fast turning into another Robert Mugabe.

http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/z1afchar.htm

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and the World AIDS Campaign.

It violates the Commonwealth principles of human rights and human dignity. You can email the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, here:

secretary-general@commonwealth.int

ENDS

www.petertatchell.net

If you want to respond to this email, or at any time to contact Peter, please email him at his NEW email address: peter@petertatchell.net

You can also follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PeterTatchell or join the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Campaign Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/cj9y6s

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net