Archive for the ‘International Human Rights Day’ Category
Video from Pride London
Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill Protest London 7th Nov 2009
Protest Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Thursday 10th December 2009
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:
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:
“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.
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:
If you want to respond to this email, or at any time to contact Peter, please email him at his NEW email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
What does it mean when your very existence is criminalized? When you can be sentenced to death or prison just for being yourself? When stepping outside your house makes you a target for violence or for being picked up by police? While these scenarios might initially seem to be the stuff of Kafkaesque fantasy, in many parts of the world they constitute the daily reality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—a reality that is brutal and relentless—and worthy of attention on this International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2007.
Many of us responded with disbelief last September when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that there were no gay people in his country. But the Iranian President’s words betray a twisted truth. While there are plenty of LGBT Iranians, there is no public, visible gay presence in Iran. Because the penalty for same-sex conduct between men in Iran is death, gay life in Iran remains hidden, under threat of extermination. The execution just last week of Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year-old Iranian man accused of having sex with other young boys when he was 13 years old makes this point excruciatingly clear.
In other words, when your existence is criminalized, your human rights are compromised. Your rights to life, liberty and security of the person are eviscerated. Your privacy is a chimera. You don’t count.
And of course, this doesn’t just happen in Iran. More than 75 countries worldwide—from Afganistan to Zimbabwe, and from Sri Lanka to the Solomon Islands—still criminalize consensual same-sex relationships. Many of these laws are vestiges of colonial attempts to “civilize the savages.” In all countries, these laws are strictly oppositional to modern standards of human rights and respect for individual choice with regard to family, sexuality and relationships.
In Nigeria, homosexual acts can be punished by 14 years of imprisonment. And the situation for LGBT people in that country is grim. An activist living in northwest Nigeria says that she has “worked on a case of a transgender person who was picked up by police simply for being transgender… [and] helped a girl who was perceived by the community to be gay. She was beaten, raped and left unconscious.” In Nigeria, being gay means contending with a stark choice: hide who you are or become a target for violence and abuse.
Cameroon is another country where LGBT individuals experience consistent and severe human rights violations. Here more than 13 people have recently been detained under an article of the penal code that prohibits consensual same-sex sexual relationships between adults. On International Human Rights Day, various human rights organizations will stage demonstrations outside Cameroonian embassies in Paris, Pretoria and Washington, D.C., to protest that country’s treatment of LGBT citizens and those who stand in solidarity with them.
When your existence is criminalized, it is important that others stand in solidarity with you—both to protest injustice and to fight for a better world, one where people are treated with dignity, not distain.
International Human Rights Day marks the day in 1948 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This central global human rights principle states that, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” This year, International Human Rights Day also marks the start of Dignity and Justice for All, a yearlong United Nations campaign designed to emphasize the universality of human rights—a universality that has often felt lacking to LGBT communities.
Dignity and respect for LGBT people must start with each country abolishing laws that criminalize consensual relations between two men or two women. Without freedom from criminalization, all other freedoms for LGBT people are compromised. We must call on each nation to show their belief in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by repealing laws that are so clearly an affront to dignity and respect.