Archive for March 1st, 2010

UK Scouts condemn Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

World scout movement acts on threat to gays, including scouts

Geneva scout HQ refers concerns to Scout Association of Uganda

London – 1 March 2010

The Chief Executive of the Scout Association UK, Derek Twine, has expressed opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, describing the legislation as “discriminatory” and “incompatible” with scouting values. The Bill has been tabled by David Bahati MP, who is also Chairman of the Scout Association of Uganda.

Mr Twine’s statement (copy in full below) follows representations to the UK and international scout movement by the London-based LGBT human rights organisation, OutRage!

Mr Twine wrote to Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, as follows:

“We find the Bill not only discriminatory and contrary to the sanctity of life, but also completely incompatible with our interpretation of the values of our worldwide Scouting Movement.”

“We have already drawn our grave concerns on this to the attention of the Secretary General of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and we are subsequently aware that the issues are now subject both to WOSM’s direct engagement with the Chief Scout of Uganda (Mrs Maggie Kigozi) and to ongoing global consideration by members of the World Scout Committee,” wrote Mr Twine.

This statement from the UK Scout Association follows simultaneous direct representations by OutRage! to the World Organisation of the Scout Movement in Geneva.

“At our request, the world scout headquarters has written to the Chief Scout and the Chief Commissioner of the Uganda Scout Association concerning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the sponsorship of this Bill by the Chairman of the Uganda Scout Association, David Bahati MP,” reports Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“This swift action followed our protests against Mr Bahati to the Scout Association UK.

“Scouting is very big in Uganda and Mr Bahati derives great prestige from his position as Chairman of the Scout Association of Uganda. If we can get him removed from office it will be a significant personal blow to him. He’ll be weakened and his credibility undermined.

“OutRage! is urging the disaffiliation of the Ugandan scout organisation from the world scouting movement, as a way of adding further pressure on the Ugandan government to drop the Bill.

“Our request for disaffiliation was immediately forwarded by the Scout Association UK to the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in Geneva.

“OutRage!’s actions are an attempt to open up a new front in the campaign against the Bill and to graphically expose the full ramifications of the proposed legislation on youth and civic organisations in Uganda, which have received little coverage so far.

“By highlighting the particular threat to LGBT scout members, we are not detracting in any way from the wider issues and consequences of Mr Bahati’s draconian legislation.

“LGBT scouts and scout leaders are, of course, only one section of the Ugandan LGBT community. All Ugandan LGBTs are at risk if this Bill becomes law. We are concerned about the danger to them all – and the threat to their straight families, friends, supporters and allies,” said Mr Tatchell.

OutRage!’s appeal to WOSM for international scout action is being handled by Jim Sharp, Executive Director, General Management, World Scout Bureau, 5 rue du Pré-Jérôme, CH-1205 Geneva, Switzerland.

Tel: (+41.22) 705 10 10 (switchboard)
Fax: (+41.22) 705 10 20

OutRage!’s appeal to the UK Scout Association is being addressed by Derek Twine, Chief Executive
Tel: 07889 130 812 (from within the UK) and +44 (0) 7889 130 812 (from overseas). Or 020 8433 7107 or 7261 (from within the UK)

Full statement by the Scout Association UK

UGANDA

Since the mid-1990s, The Scout Association has been clear and unequivocal in our equal opportunities policy and practice especially regarding sexual orientation, as befitting our role in contemporary society.

We are recently aware that the Ugandan Parliament has received a Bill that calls for the death sentence for repeat practicing of homosexuality. This Bill is presented by a Ugandan MP (David Bahati) who is also currently the National Chairman of the Uganda Scout Association. In terms of our own policies and understandings, we find the Bill not only discriminatory and contrary to the sanctity of life, but also completely incompatible with our interpretation of the values of our worldwide Scouting Movement.

We have already drawn our grave concerns on this to the attention of the Secretary General of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and we are subsequently aware that the issues are now subject both to WOSM’s direct engagement with the Chief Scout of Uganda (Mrs Maggie Kigozi) and to ongoing global consideration by members of the World Scout Committee.

We hope that the bilateral and very positive educational and solidarity projects that have been fostered for many years between Scout Groups in the UK and Scout Groups in Uganda on such matters as health and community development will not be prejudiced or compromised by this situation; we await the formal and public response from the Scout Association of Uganda and from WOSM, whereupon we will review our position.

Derek Twine Chief Executive
07889 130 812 (from within the UK) and +44 (0) 7889 130 812 (from overseas). Or 020 8433 7107 or 7261 (from within the UK)

Peter Tatchell
peter@petertatchell.net

www.petertatchell.net

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Homophobia in Russia: Eurovision Protest 2009

An opponent of the rights of LGBT people wants to close the gap between Russian and International laws.

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev.

A Member of the Federation Council of Russia – the Upper-Chamber of the Parliament – Vasily Likhachev, known for his sharp rejection of the civil rights of sexual minorities, was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice.

As reported Gazeta.ru on February 27, the main point in his agenda will be to close the gap between the Russian and the International laws.

But when it comes to LGBT rights the new Deputy Minister of Justice is well known for a series of homophobic remarks.

Just two days before his appointment, Mr Likhachev publicly justified the denial by the Ministry of Justice to register ‘Marriage Equality Russia’, a gay group advocating for same-sex marriage:

“The steps taken by the representatives of the gay community, contradict with the general state of morality of the Russian society because it is not our culture and our form of relations”

In 2006, Mr Likhachev called to use any way to stop the process of family rights of same-sex couple “Already in 7 countries of the European Union, homosexuals are allowed to adopt children. The number of countries where same-sex marriages are permitted continues to grow, that’s why in questions concerning gays, there shouldn’t be maximum permissiveness otherwise, we will go too far and the development of the world will go in the wrong direction”

He further defended the ban of a gay pride in Moscow, arguing that “Minority affects the interests of the majority. City authorities are absolutely right that they did not follow the interest of sexual minorities. There could not be any other discussion here”

A similar position that Mr Likhachev repeated a year later in 2007: The society should not abide by the desires of sexual minorities because homosexuals touch the interest of the majority of the people of traditional orientation,

“The respect of human rights must not violate the moral and ethic. And if such a violation occurs, the authorities must apply the relevant laws to prevent it”

Commenting about the appointment of Mr Likhachev, Nikolai Baev, a co-organizer of Moscow Pride said:

“The new Deputy Minister of Justice does not consider the rights of homosexuals to depend on the constitution or the law of this country,

“Moral, ethic and the interest of the majority of the population is sufficient in his eyes to discriminate against us” said Nikolai Baev.

Gay activist further expressed concerns about the future of registering LGBT groups as non-profit organization in the country.

“The Ministry of Justice denied so far to register any NGO which would officially advocate for the rights of gays and lesbians, but, with the appointment of Mr Likhachev we doubt the trend will reverse”

“The only solution is to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights but this process takes years” ended Nikolai Baev.

GayRussia.Ru
http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=15226

Religious and Nationalist Groups call for the ban of St Petersburg Pride

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev

Extracts of a letter addressed to the Governor of the City.

A group of Religious and Nationalist organizations sent a common letter to the Governor of St Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, asking her to prohibit any gay pride march in the city.

The letter of which ‘rusk.ru’ received a copy says:

“We are categorically against holding any public events, which in any way present a propaganda of sexual perversions.

“Any parade is a demonstration – demonstration is a form of propaganda. As a result, a gay pride is a propaganda of homosexuality.

“Love between a man and a woman exists only for one purpose – to give birth to a new life but gay pride is the propaganda of death”

“But why does no one remember that holding these actions grossly violates the right of the majority and is doubtful from the point of moral action?

“After all, for the majority of our country and, in particular, for our city, homosexuality is an unacceptable deviation from the norm, a moral rejection and a disgust.

“We are constantly told that democracy is the government of majority, but it turns out that the interests of the majority would be sacrificed to a handful of people with unnatural sexual orientation”

The statement is signed by several nationalists and religious groups among them “Intellectuals of the Orthodox Church; Russian Imperial Movement; Movement “For Faith and Fatherland”, “People’s Cathedral”, “Imperial Russia Union”.

The first official gay pride in St Petersburg is scheduled on June 26.

GayRussia.Ru

http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=15227