Archive for the ‘Gay Uganda’ Category

Updates on continuing anti-gay pogrom in Kenya

By Paul Canning – LGBT Asylum News

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirms pogrom fears, writes demanding action from Kenyan authorities
  • Six gay men released from police custody, told to leave the region
  • HRW say no arrests for homosexual offences made
  • Mob attacks spread to Mombasa from nearby towns
  • Local politicians closely involved in attempted pogrom
  • Public continue to identify gay men, police arrest them
  • More reports of media incitement role
  • Anti-gay forces plan further attacks

The HRW letter, organised by Dipika Nath, researcher in the LGBT rights program, details the investigations carried out by local human rights bodies and backs the account of events first circulated by Kenyan gay groups in the immediate aftermath of the attempted pogrom.
HRW say that events began with in late January with unsubstantiated rumours about a “gay wedding” scheduled for February 12 (other reports say it was a joke made in a barbers). Radio stations discussed the rumour then on February 7 several imams and muftis (Islamic scholars) told their congregations during Friday prayers to be vigilant and to “expose” homosexuals in Mtwapa, a town north of Mombasa.

On February 11 Sheikh Ali Hussein of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya and Bishop Lawrence Chai of the National Council of Churches of Kenya held a news conference.

As reported by Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation and confirmed by other witnesses who spoke to HRW, they demanded an investigation of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Mtwapa, a government health center that provides HIV/AIDS services. They criticized the government for “providing counselling services to these criminals” and demanded that the KEMRI office be shut down.

In a statement after the meeting, the religious leaders promised to “flush out gays”, local activists told HRW.

The next day an armed mob of 200 to 300 people, which HRW say appeared planned rather than spontaneous, surrounded the KEMRI health center. HRW say that a KEMRI staff member was pointed out as homosexual because he wore a T-shirt promoting safer sex and arrested, the report from local gay groups say the T-shirt had a pink triangle on it (the symbol worn by gays in Nazi death camps).

The mob continued to pull two people from a home and beat senseless another man who was approaching the health center and was about to set him on fire when the police arrived and took him into custody as well. Others went to the homes of gays and threatened them.

Local activists told HRW that none of the men were charged and they have all since been released, and that the police were attempting to protect them from violence by taking them into custody. However HRW says that the men were asked to submit to forensic examinations to determine if they are homosexual. Five of them refused and the sixth consented and was examined, although no “evidence” of homosexuality is reported to have been found.

Human Rights Watch said:

Forensic medical examinations to “prove” homosexual conduct are archaic and discredited. If conducted without genuine consent, they may constitute torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.

The mob were addressed outside the police station where the gay men were being held by speakers including a religious leader saying all homosexuals should be driven out and another (a former local MP according to other reports) saying to not bother bringing homosexuals to the police but rather to take the law into its own hands.

A Dutch man, Jankees de Ridder, who was traveling through Mtwapa the next day, Saturday 13 Feb, reported that the mob were holding the Kenyan newspaper the Saturday Nation with their photograph on the front page.

Police in a pick-up could hardly prevent the mob from beating a man, lying in the vehicle. I was shocked. I was even more shocked as I had read about a bishop and a Imam in the Friday newspaper calling on youths to harass homosexuals.

GALCK’s David Kuria says that reports coming in to them are that police have initiated an operation to identify and arrest suspected homosexuals. Local politicians are actively involved in the exercise of identifying people as are members of the public.

Most of the people have been arrested from their offices or as in the case of two of the men, while boarding public transport – each in a different location.

Kuria says that medical professionals were relocated from attending normal hospital operations to help the police with quick identification of the homosexuals through medical examinations. He says that it is assumed that many people will be arrested during the police swoops and the medical professionals will help in filtering those who will be taken to court and those to be released.

The BBC say that police spokesman Martha Mutegi told them that the gay men taken into custody had been advised to leave the area for their own safety and ‘to avoid angering the local community’.

HRW say that attacks on gays have spread to Mombasa.

They say that none of the attackers have been arrested but that several people have gone into hiding; others are preparing to flee their homes at a moment’s notice.

Gay Uganda reports that further demonstrations are planned after Friday prayers (Feb 19). HRW say that Sheikh Ali Hussein had announced this on the radio and that local activists fear that demonstrations may extend to mosques along the coast, including in Mombasa. Hussein told Islam Online:

We are ready to shed our bloods to protect the dignity of Mtwapa town and we want our people to rise up against the vice.

Human Rights Watch’s Dipika Nath said:

The government is sitting silent while mobs try to kill human rights defenders and assault people they suspect are gay. Inaction is complicity, and silence can be lethal.

The police need to arrest the attackers and put a halt to what appears to be a coordinated nationwide attack on people perceived to be homosexual. The disruption of lifesaving HIV/AIDS work could mean a public health catastrophe as well as a human rights disaster.

The attacks and hate-mongering and the government’s failure to act have spread fear in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, Human Rights Watch said.

Meanwhile the BBC continues to carry a completely different account of events from those coming from human rights and gay groups.

Local reporter Odhiambo Joseph continues to claim that “five people [were] arrested for planning a “gay wedding”” and in its latest report now says that “the rallies were apparently sparked by US President Barack Obama’s condemnation of planned anti-gay legislation in neighbouring Uganda.”

He also claims that (my emphasis) “police began a crackdown on the gay community last week following anti-gay protests”.

The reporting echoed that of Islam Online which claimed that:

Muslim and Christian residents of Mtwapa, a district in the outskirts of the port city of Mombassa, recently joined hands in disrupting a planned nuptial involving two local tribesmen on the ground of being completely an alien practice in their largely conservative community.

They quote Bishop Laurence Chai, of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, about the non-existent marriage:

We may be on the verge of being doomed had these criminals managed to conduct their evil exercise within our neighborhood.

Full Story:

See also:

Bahati is decorated with a scouts scarf – Photograph by Geoffrey Sseruyange

CORRECTION re “Execute gay scouts” news release

London – 17 February 2010

On 16 February, I issued a news release about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda and the Bill’s sponsorship by David Bahati MP, who is also Chairman of the Scout Board of Uganda.

I should have made it clear that Mr Bahati was not explicitly calling for the execution of gay scouts and scout leaders. His Bill proposes the execution of gay serial offenders, which could, of course, include gay scout members. But his Bill does not target gay scouts in particular and he has not specifically called for the execution of scouts who are gay. The threat to gay scouts in Uganda is implicit, not explicit.

Apologies for my lack of clarity. Below is a revised, corrected version of the news release, together with some new information about the Uganda Bill.

Peter Tatchell – London, UK

Gay scouts may face death penalty in Uganda

Execution of gays proposed by Ugandan scout leader

World scout movement urged to expel Uganda

Call for UK Scout Association to sever links with Uganda scout movement

London, UK – 17 February 2010

“A leader of the scout movement in Uganda is demanding the execution of anyone who is convicted of repeated homosexual acts or related offences. This could include the execution of gay scouts and scout leaders,” reports human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“Chairman of the Scout Board of Uganda, David Bahati, is proposing that all serial homosexual offenders should be sentenced to death. This could include young people, such as scouts.

“Mr Bahati is a Ugandan MP. His Anti-Homosexuality Bill is currently before the Ugandan Parliament. It stipulates the death penalty for serial offenders who have previous convictions for same-sex relations or for related non-sexual offences such as aiding and abetting homosexuality, funding gay advocacy groups, having a same-sex marriage or promoting homosexuality. Some of these related offences could also be committed by heterosexual Ugandans. They would also be liable to a death sentence for repeat offences.

“In other words, a person does not have to be gay or to have gay sex in order to be sentenced to death under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Serial offending and previous convictions for the non-sexual offences are sufficient grounds for execution.

“The Bill also specifies life imprisonment for minor same-sex acts, such as kissing, touching or caressing with homosexual intent.

“Although Mr Bahati and his Anti-Homosexuality Bill do not explicitly mention or target the scout movement, the draconian clauses and punishments threaten all lesbian, gay and bisexual Ugandans, including members of his own scouting movement.

“A person in authority who fails to report an offender to the police within 24 hours will face three years in jail, which could apply to scout leaders who fail to inform on gay scouts. Likewise, the promotion of homosexuality carries a sentence of five to seven years jail. This could criminalise any scout leader who provides affirmative, supportive advice to a gay or bisexual scout. The offending scout leader does not have to be gay. They could be heterosexual.

“Mr Bahati’s proposed legislation promotes extreme prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and violence, contrary to scout principles,” said Mr Tatchell.

See a summary and link to the full text Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:
http://www.petertatchell.net/international/uganda-anti-homosexuality-bill-a-briefing.html

Mr Tatchell has written on behalf of OutRage! to the Chief Executive of the Scout Association UK, Derek Twine.

A copy of his letter follows below.

Mr Twine has already referred OutRage!’s concerns to the General Secretary of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in Geneva. WOSM has written to the scout movement in Uganda expressing its concern.

“I have asked the Scout Association UK to press the world scouting movement to disaffiliate the scout organisation of Uganda, on the grounds that its leader has violated scouting values by proposing the execution of gay people, including gay Ugandan scouts and scout leaders,” added Mr Tatchell.

“My letter calls on the British scout organisation to condemn Mr Bahati and his Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and to refuse to host him again in the UK.

“The British and world scouting movement cannot remain silent, given this threat to execute its gay members in Uganda. They must break all links with the Ugandan scout organisation while it remains under the leadership of David ‘kill the gays’ Bahati.

“The international scout movement has a duty to defend its values of universal respect, equality and brotherhood,” concluded Mr Tatchell.

What you can do – see the end of this email.

Copy of Peter Tatchell’s email to the Scout Association UK:

Derek Twine
Chief Executive
The Scout Association
Gilwell Park
London E4 7QW

11 February 2010

Dear Derek Twine,

Uganda Scout leader David Bahati and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Your letter dated 21 January 2010 – Ref: DMT/AEB

Sincere thanks for your reply to the letter of my OutRage! colleague, David Allison.

We are most appreciative of the efforts made by the Scout Association UK to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, such wisdom and fairness is not replicated by the leader of the scouting movement in Uganda, David Bahati MP. As you know, he is head of the Scout Board of Uganda; in effect Chief Scout.

He is calling for the execution of lesbian and gay scouts, and other lesbian and gay Ugandans.

His Anti-Homosexuality Bill, currently before the Parliament of Uganda, proposes that repeat homosexual acts will carry a sentence of death, and that anyone – gay or heterosexual – who advocates gay equality or offers welfare support to homosexuals will be sentenced to five to seven years jail. A person in authority – a parent, teacher or scout leader – who fails to report a gay person to the police within 24 hours will be jailed for three years.

Mr Bahati’s proposals to persecute lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are a complete contradiction of scouting values and of the fundamental principles of equality and human rights, as enshrined in international humanitarian laws, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

I am most grateful that you have referred our concerns about Mr Bahati’s plan to execute LGBT Ugandans, including lesbian and gay scouts, to the General Secretary of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM). Please advise me of the reply you have received.

While we appreciate that every National Scout Organisation (NSO) is independent, we also understand that the WOSM membership of each NSO is conditional on them conforming to the WOSM’s scouting values.

David Bahati, the leader of the Uganda scout movement, is promoting hatred, discrimination and the state-sponsored murder of LGBT Ugandans – some of whom will be scouts and scout leaders. His stance and actions are incompatible with scouting values.

If the leader of a NSO was advocating racism and the execution of black people, I am sure the WOSM would take swift steps to rule that the NSO’s membership of the WOSM could not continue while such a person remained in a position of authority within the NSO.

FIRST: We therefore request that you ask the WOSM to disaffiliate the Ugandan scout organisation from the WOSM, until such time as David Bahati ceases to hold office in the Ugandan scout movement or until he withdraws and renounces his Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This is something that the UK Scout Association and the WOSM can do. It is within your powers.

SECOND: We realise that the Scout Association UK is not in a position to intervene in the internal affairs of the scouting organisation of Uganda. However, we do believe that the British Scout Association can and should issue a public statement deploring David Bahati’s homophobia and his Anti-Homosexuality Bill; making clear that his views and his Bill are incompatible with scouting values and are likely to lead to the persecution of Ugandan LGBT scouts and scouting officials. We respectfully ask you to do this.

THIRD: We reiterate our request that the Scout Association UK announces publicly that it will refuse to host Mr Bahati again in Britain (I believe that you did host him at the time of the 2007 Jamboree), as you would refuse to host an anti-Semitic scout leader who advocated the execution of Jewish people. Again, this is a reasonable and justifiable sanction that is within your powers.

The core of the issue is this: Mr Bahati wants to execute lesbian and gay scouts and scout leaders, as well as other lesbian and gay people. He is Uganda’s head scout, and while he remains head scout his actions reflect badly on the whole international scouting movement. It is imperative that the British and world scouting authorities speak out against him and his bill which, if passed, will have deadly consequences for scout members in Uganda.

The reputation of the scout movement depends on action being taken against those in positions of leadership, like Mr Bahati, who abuse and violate scouting values.

Please advise. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell
OutRage! – The LGBT Human Rights Campaign

What you can do

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 575 on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

You can email your MP direct via this website:

www.writetothem.com

Just click on the link and enter your postcode. It will tell you who is your MP and you can email him or her direct.

All you need to do is write as follows:

Draft letter to your MP

Dear (insert your MP’s name),

As one of your constituents, I urge you to sign EDM 575, tabled by Harry Cohen MP. It condemns Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This Bill proposes the death penalty for some same-sex acts and life imprisonment for others. The Bill also proposes up to seven years jail for anyone who advocates gay equality and three years jail for parents who fail to report their gay sons or daughters to the police.

See a copy of the Bill here:
http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/09/Nov/Bill-No-18-Anti-Homosexuality-Bill-2009_Uganda.pdf

And a summary of the key points of the Bill here:
http://www.petertatchell.net/international/uganda-anti-homosexuality-bill-a-briefing.html

Please also consider writing to the Uganda High Commissioner in London:

Her Excellency, High Commissioner Joan Rwabyomere, Uganda High Commission, Uganda House, 58-59 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DX. Phone 020-7839-5783, Fax 020-7839-8925 or E-mail: info@ugandahighcommission.co.uk

Thank you.

Insert your name, address and email.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell

If you would like to contact Peter Tatchell, please email on peter@petertatchell.net.

www.petertatchell.net

See also :

World scout movement acts on Uganda

Geneva HQ refers concerns to scout movement of Uganda

London – 16 February 2010

“The world scout headquarters in Geneva 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 Board, David Bahati MP,” reports LGBT human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“This swift response came just hours after protests against Mr Bahati to the Scout Association UK by the London-based LGBT human rights group OutRage!.

“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 ramification’s of the proposed legislation on youth and civic organisations in Uganda (which has received little coverage so far).

“By highlighting the particular threat to LGBT scout members, we have not intended to detract 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.

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

For information about Peter Tatchell’s campaigns:

www.petertatchell.net

See Also :

Stop Witch-Hunting Gay Ugandans

Ugandan MP proposes that gays should be executed

By Jessica Geen • October 15, 2009 – Pink News

A Ugandan MP has proposed that lawmakers should create a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality”, which would be punishable by death.

Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, of the ruling party, tabled the private member’s bill in parliament on Tuesday.

According to his bill, those convicted of having gay sex with disabled people and those under the 18 would face the death penalty.

The bill, titled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, would give the same punishment to anyone infected with HIV who has sex with someone of the same gender.

It also imposes life imprisonment on those who have homosexual sex. Although this is already the case in Uganda, the new law widens the definition of the offence.

Other offence include promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house “for purposes of homosexuality”.

Bahati said his bill would protect children, youths and the “traditional family”.

Human rights activists say Uganda, with a population of 31 million, has some 500,000 gays and lesbians.

Ugandan officials have previously blamed Europe and human rights groups for ‘spreading’ homosexuality.

President of Uganda Kaguta Yoweri Museveni and other officials have spoken out against gays on numerous occasions.

Mr Museveni spoke of his country’s “rejection” of homosexuality during a speech he gave at the wedding of a former MP’s daughter last year.

He said the purpose of life was to create children and that homosexuality was a “negative foreign culture.”

Earlier this year, a number of gay groups were accused of “recruiting” children into homosexuality by methods such as giving them pocket money.

It was reported that men describing themselves as born-again Christians were “confessing” to persuading children to become gay before finding God and “quitting” homosexuality.

Full Article