Archive for the ‘Peter Tatchell’ Category

Photograph: Reuters/Eldson Chagara

Support Amnesty’s Malawi campaign

Fax and post letters to the Malawi government

Call for release of Steven Monjeza & Tiwonge Chimbalanga

London, UK – 11 March 2010

OutRage! is backing Amnesty International’s appeal for letters of protest to the Malawian government over the arrest and trial of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga. They face up to 14 years jail on charges of homosexuality. The verdict in their trial is expected on Monday 22 March.

See this sample letter, and the postal address and fax number of the Malawian President and Attorney General:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=682&LetterID=633

Amnesty International has adopted the two men as Prisoners of Conscience and is campaigning for their release.

“OutRage! is supporting Amnesty’s campaign. If enough people send letters of protest, it might help secure an acquittal or a less harsh sentence. Even if Tiwonge and Steven are convicted, they could win a successful appeal and be freed eventually,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“From their prison cells, both men have urged international pressure for their release. They need lots of support and solidarity in the run-up to the trial result. Please take time to support Amnesty’s letter-writing campaign,” he said.

Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen, added:

“Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga have committed no criminal offence and we adopted them as prisoners of conscience after their arrest at the end of December. It is vital that as many people as possible join us in writing to the Malawi authorities calling on them to release the two men and for them to investigate their treatment in custody.”

See this Amnesty International briefing on the case:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR36/001/2010/en/53def968-a426-46eb-8665-75879e119325/afr360012010en.ht

ENDS

www.petertatchell.net

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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

See also:

‘Protest the Pope’ Downing Street Petition launched

Gordon Brown urged to disassociate the government from Pope’s views

Already over 3,000 signatures

London – 22 February 2010

A Downing Street petition has been launched, urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to “disassociate the British government from the Pope’s intolerant views.”

The petition has been launched ahead of the Papal visit to Britain in September this year. It has been submitted by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and has already attracted over 3,000 signatures.

View the petition here:
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ProtestthePope/
Note: only UK residents with a UK address are eligible to sign the petition

A petition by Mr Tatchell on the same subject last year was refused inclusion on the Downing Street website.

“The Pope opposes universal human rights. He rejects equality for women and gay people, condemns the use of life-saving condoms, colludes with Holocaust appeasers and he is implicated in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic priests,” said Mr Tatchell.

“A man with such objectionable views should not be honoured with an official State Visit. If he wants to come to Britain, he should pay his own way. The public should not be expected to cover the estimated £20 million cost. This money would be far better spent on schools and hospitals,” added Mr Tatchell.

The petition reads:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to disassociate the British government from the Pope’s intolerant views ahead of the Papal visit to Britain in September 2010. We urge the Prime Minister to make it clear that his government disagrees with the Pope’s opposition to women’s reproductive rights, gay equality, embryonic stem cell research and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. We ask the Prime Minister to express his disagreement with the Pope’s role in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy, his rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, and his decree paving the way for the beatification and sainthood of the war-time Pope, Pius XII, who stands accused of failing to speak out against the Holocaust. We also request the Prime Minister to assure us that the Pope’s visit will not be financed by the British taxpayer.”

Peter Tatchell has criticised at length the Pope Benedict XVI’s “illiberal” and “often extreme” stance on key social issues:

“The Pope is an opponent of women’s rights. He not only opposes the right of women to choose to have an abortion but also their right to contraception, which can help reduce the abortion rate,” said Mr Tatchell.

“He opposes women’s access to IVF fertility treatment, to give childless couples the chance of parenthood.

“The Pope supports gender discrimination, including a ban on women priests and bishops, and he wants the Catholic Church to be exempt from equality and anti-discrimination laws that apply to everyone else.

“He has sought to block potentially life-saving embryonic stem cell research, and he rejects the right of suffering, terminally ill people to die with dignity at a moment of the their own free choice.

“Pope Benedict denounces the use of condoms, even to stop the spread of HIV, and he has falsely claimed that condom usage “increases” the rate of HIV infection. His teachings put millions of lives at risk.
See The Independent, 27 March 2009:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/lancet-says-pope-distorting-condom-facts-1655647.html

“He has acquiesced with the Vatican’s lie that condoms spread HIV and that the virus can pass through the latex (sic). This outrageous falsehood has been condemned as untrue and irresponsible by the World Health Organisation and Christian Aid.
See the BBC website, 9 October 2003:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3176982.stm

“He rejects legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and their full protection in law against homophobic and transphobic discrimination

“The Pope has approved the Catholic Catechism, which condemns same-sex relationships as a “grave depravity,” “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.”
See The Vatican website, Catechism 2357:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

“In 1992, he authored a Vatican document that condemned homosexuality as an “objective disorder” and a “strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil.” Rejecting the concept of gay human rights, the document asserted that there is no “right” to laws protecting homosexual people against discrimination, suggesting that the civil liberties of lesbians and gay men can be “legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct.”
See in full the Vatican document – Some Considerations Concerning the Catholic Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons:
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Some+considerations+concerning+the+Catholic+response+to+legislative…-a0128671084

“The Pope has attacked same-sex marriages as “evil” and vilified supporters of gay equality as “gravely immoral.” He has also vilified homosexual equality as a “deviant trend” and condemned same-sex love as being “without any social value.”

“Pope Benedict colludes with anti-semitism, including with holocaust deniers and with Catholic leaders who were complicit with the Nazi regime.

“He rescinded the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson who, in 2008, denied key elements of the Holocaust with claims that a maximum of 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps and that none were gassed by the Nazis.
See the BBC website, 4 February 2009:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7869565.stm

“He has also paved the way for the beatification and eventual sainthood of Pope Pius XII by issuing a decree in 2009 celebrating his virtues, despite the war-time pontiff’s 1933 Concordat with Adolf Hitler and his silence concerning the Nazi mass murder of six million Jews.
See The Guardian, 22 December 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/pope-benedict-moves-pius-closer-sainthood
http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showkb.php?org_id=858&kb_header_id=752&order=kb_rank+ASC&kb_id=1212

“While condemning loving, consenting adult same-sex relations, the Pope helped shield from prosecution Catholic clergy guilty of child sex abuse. He colluded with the cover up of their crimes and with the policy of relocating paedophile priests to other parishes, where they often went on to commit further sexual abuse, as revealed in the 2006 BBC Panorama programme, Sex crimes and the Vatican.
See the Evening Standard, 30 September 2006:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23369148-pope-led-cover-up-of-child-abuse-by-priests.do
and see BBC Panorama 1 October 2006:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5402928.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5389684.stm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06qhnIwEdHE&feature=related

“Pope Benedict is complicit with human rights abuses and should not be accorded the honour of a State Visit to Britain,” said Mr Tatchell.

Peter Tatchell

MUST WATCH video on Uganda anti-gay Bill

Death penalty for straights and for non-sex offences too

London – 18 February 2010

Peter Tatchell writes:

I am very grateful to Rob Tisinai for making a masterclass YouTube video that explains the full horrors of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It shows that this Bill is far more lethal and wide-reaching than most people realise.

Ugandans don’t have to be gay or to have gay sex to be sentenced to death.

Read this summary of these little known aspects of the Bill, then watch the video (the link is below).

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the crime of “serial offender” is punishable by execution.

A serial offender is a person who has “previous convictions” for “homosexuality OR RELATED OFFENCES.”

In other words, if a Ugandan person has previous convictions for offences in the Bill and then has a subsequent conviction he or she will be classified as a serial offender and face execution.

“Related offences” in the Bill, which can result in a death sentence for serial offenders, include non-sexual acts such as:

· aiding and abetting homosexuality
· advocating same-sex relationships or LGBT rights
· having a same-sex marriage
· publicising or funding pro-LGBT organisations
· using the internet or a mobile phone for the purpose of homosexuality or its promotion
· being a person in authority who fails to report an offender to the police within 24 hours

These related offences are crimes that could be also committed by a heterosexual person. It is not just LGBT Ugandans who are threatened by this legislation.

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, all convicted serial offenders are liable to execution, regardless of their sexuality.

Rob’s brilliant short video explains the FULL and DEADLY clauses of the Bill. Please take a look and send it to your friends. We need to get the word out far and wide.

Watch Rob’s video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fuEsRJp2nU

See the full text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:

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

Huge thanks to Rob Tisinai for taking the time to make this superb video. It is the clearest, most detailed exposition of the true severity of the proposed new law.

Solidarity! Peter Tatchell

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

www.petertatchell.net

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 :

Execute gay scouts, says Uganda chief scout

Scout children to be hanged under proposed law

World scout movement urged to expel Uganda

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

London, UK – 16 February 2010

“The leader of the scout movement in Uganda is demanding the execution of all scouts and scout leaders who commit repeated homosexual acts,” reports human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“Chief of the Scout Board of Uganda, David Bahati, is proposing that all serial homosexual offenders, including scouts and scout leaders, should be hanged – even children.

“Mr Bahati is a Ugandan MP. His Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is currently before the Ugandan Parliament, stipulates the death penalty for repeat same-sex relations and life imprisonment for all other homosexual acts, even for mere kissing, touching or caressing.

“Scout leaders who fail to report gay scouts to the police will face three years in jail. Any scout leader who provides supportive advice to a gay scout will be jailed for five to seven years.

“This Bill is an expression of prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and violence, contrary to scout principles,” said Mr Tatchell.

See a summary and link to the 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 this letter follows below.

Mr Twine has already referred OutRage!’s concerns to the General Secretary of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement.

“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 kill its 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

ENDS

If you would like to contact Peter Tatchell, email him at peter@petertatchell.net.

www.petertatchell.net

Peter Tatchell is Liberal Voice of the Year

Left-wing Green wins vote by Liberal Democrat Voice readers

London – 20 January 2010

Peter Tatchell has won Liberal Democrat Voice’s third annual Liberal Voice of the Year award for his “tireless and fearless international human rights campaigning.”

The runner-up was author and journalist Ben Goldacre. Other contenders were Joanna Lumley, Rory Stewart, Terry Pratchett, Henry Porter, Guy Herbert and Alan Rusbridger.

The two previous years’ Liberal Voice winners were Shami Chakrabati (2007) and the campaigners on behalf of Jean Charles de Menezes (Justice4Jean.org) and the Stockwell Shooting Inquest Jury (2008).

See the Liberal Democrat Voice report about the online readers poll result here:

http://www.libdemvoice.org/ldv-readers-vote-peter-tatchell-your-liberal-voice-of-the-year-17607.html

Responding to winning the vote, Peter Tatchell said:

“I am honoured, but quite surprised, to win Liberal Voice of the Year, given that I’m a left-wing Green. It shows that Liberal Democrat Voice readers are non-sectarian and inclusive, putting values and principles above narrow party interests, which is how it should be.

“There are progressive people in all parties, apart from the BNP and possibly UKIP. We should work together more, focusing on what we have in common rather than on what divides us.

“In Britain, the combined supporters of liberal, green and left values constitute the majority. If people from these three political strands cooperated more closely, and if we had had a fair voting system, Britain need never again suffer a Conservative government. We could move the country forward on a progressive agenda for social justice, democratic reform, civil liberties and environmental renewal.

“At the international level, it has been a real privilege to write and campaign in support of the freedom struggles in Iran, Russia, Balochistan, Uganda, Iraq, Somaliland, West Papua, Sudan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. The democracy activists in these countries are truly heroic and inspirational. I crawl in their shadows.

“One of the things I have learned from my 43 years of human rights campaigning is that no matter how small and weak we may feel, we can all help make a difference. I do my bit for human rights, as do millions of others. Together, cumulatively and collectively, slowly but surely, we are shaping a better world,” said Mr Tatchell.

www.petertatchell.net

Human Rights Day protest against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill – Ugandan Embassy, London, 10 December 2009 – Photograph by Brett Lock

Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill – Briefing

Death penalty proposed for consenting same-sex relations

Misreported & unreported aspects of the legislation

By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

London, UK – 11 January 2010

Below is a full and comprehensive briefing on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is currently before the Ugandan Parliament and which proposes the death penalty for certain consenting homosexual acts.

Sponsored by the Ugandan MP, David Bahati, the Bill is expected to be debated and voted on in the coming weeks.

This briefing includes details of the already existing extreme homophobic laws in Uganda and their hateful social effects, a link to a full copy of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and my summary of its key elements.

Although there have been reports that death penalty clauses will be dropped, to date the Bill has not been amended, watered down or scrapped. All the original provisions, including the death penalty, remain.

Indeed, the Bill’s sponsor, MP David Bahati, said late last week that he stands by the Bill and will not withdraw it.

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

Summary of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Peter Tatchell of the London-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage! said:

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposes the death penalty for two classes of same-sex acts.

“First, for ‘aggravated’ homosexuality, which is defined as gay sex with under 18s or disabled persons and gay sex by a person in authority or by a person with HIV, even if they use a condom.

“Second, for ‘serial’ homosexual acts, meaning for persons who have repeated same-sex relations ie. more than once or twice.

“The Bill extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for same- sex intercourse to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have homosexual relations.

“Life imprisonment is also the penalty for contracting a same-sex marriage.

“Promoting homosexuality and aiding and abetting others to commit homosexual acts will be punishable by five to seven years jail. These new crimes are likely to include membership and funding of LGBT organisations, advocacy of LGBT human rights, supportive counselling of LGBT persons and the provision of condoms or safer sex advice to LGBT people.

“A person in authority – gay or heterosexual – who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will be sentenced to three years behind bars.

“Astonishingly, the new legislation has an extra-territorial jurisdiction. It will also apply to Ugandan citizens or foreign residents of Uganda who commit these ‘crimes’ while abroad, in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence. Violators overseas will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda.

“This bill is even more draconian than the extreme homophobic laws of countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“It is part of a wide attack on civil society and is symptomatic of Uganda’s drift to Mugabe-style authoritarianism,” added Mr Tatchell.

Read this report by me on the tyranny of President Yoweri Museveni’s Ugandan regime:
http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/6164/2009-12-18.html

Existing anti-gay laws in Uganda – and their consequences

The Uganda Penal Code Act of 1950 (Chapter 120) (as amended)

Section 145. Unnatural offences.
–Any person who– (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; (b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.

Section 146. Attempt to commit unnatural offences.
–Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section 145 commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

Section 148. Indecent practices.
–Any person who, whether in public or in private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person or procures another person to commit any act of gross indecency with him or her or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any person with himself or herself or with another person, whether in public or in private, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

“The current anti-homosexual laws were originally imposed on Uganda by the British colonial administration in the nineteenth century, during the period of imperial subjugation. They are not authentic Ugandan or African laws,” added Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage!

“The consequences of this already existing legislation can include long terms of imprisonment for homosexual relations between consenting adults in private.

“Criminalisation also often results in the failure of police to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims of mob violence. It gives a green light to blackmailers and to the police harassment of LGBT people, including the framing of LGBT Ugandans on false charges.

“The outing of LGBT people by the Kampala tabloid newspaper, Red Pepper, has resulted in some victims losing their jobs and homes. Others have been disowned by their families and forced to go into hiding.

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is just the latest of many attacks on the LGBT community of Uganda.

“In recent years, the Ugandan government of President Yoweri Museveni has passed a law banning same-sex civil marriage, fined Radio Simba for broadcasting a discussion of LGBT issues, and expelled a UN AIDS agency director for meeting with LGBT campaigners.

“Some years ago, a heterosexual Anglican bishop of the West Buganda diocese of Uganda, Christopher Senyonjo, was denied the right to preach and denied his pension by the Church of Uganda after he defended the human rights of LGBT people,” said Mr Tatchell.

See photos of the London protest against the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill on 10 December 2009:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/outrage/sets/72157622975859486/
These photos are free to use. Please credit Brett Lock of OutRage!

See videos of this London protest:
http://www.petertatchell.net/international/videos-of-uganda-protest-in-london.html
These videos are free to use.

More information:

peter@petertatchell.net

www.petertatchell.net

(To listen the Part II, follow this link)

UK urged to act on Malawi arrests

Foreign Secretary receives OutRage! appeal for action

Tatchell letter delivered to jailed men

London, UK – 8 January 2010

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is being urged to press the Malawian government to release two men, Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who are being held on remand over their alleged homosexual relationship, to drop all charges against them and to repeal the country’s anti-gay laws.

Mr Miliband is also being asked to seek a halt to the arrest and prosecution of three Malawian human rights campaigners, who publicly defended the jailed men and secured them legal representation.

The call comes from the London-based LGBT human rights group OutRage! Spokesperson, David Allison, has written to the Foreign Secretary, appealing to him to make representations to the President of Malawi, his Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

A copy of Mr Allison’s letter follows below.

Meanwhile a letter of “support and solidarity” from OutRage!’s Peter Tatchell is being delivered to Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Chichiri Prison, Malawi. The two men, who were arrested following their engagement ceremony late last year, are being held on remand on gay sex charges ahead of their trial on 15 January

A copy of Mr Tatchell’s letter follows below.

For background on the Malawi arrests, see here:

http://www.petertatchell.net/international/malawi-gay-marriage-trial-on-15-january.html

Protest to the Malawian High Commissioner in London:

His Excellency Dr. Francis Moto, High Commission of Malawi, 70 Winnington Road, London N2 0TX, United Kingdom. Telephone: +44(0) 20 8455 5624, Fax: +44(0) 20 3235 1066. Email: malawi@malawihighcommission.co.uk

Gift Trapence, Executive Director of the Malawian human rights group CEDEP

directorcedep@yahoo.com

Copy of the OutRage! letter to David Miliband MP, British Foreign Secretary:

David Miliband MP

Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

King Charles Street

London SW1A 2AH

6 January 2010

Dear Secretary of State,

This letter is in support of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, citizens of Malawi, who are being held in custody in Chichiri Prison, Malawi, and denied bail, on charges of consenting adult homosexuality following their same-sex engagement ceremony.

In doing so they have committed no criminal offence under the laws of Malawi. The ceremony is legal in Malawi and no laws were broken by the two participants.

The news release below provides more comprehensive details about their case.

We ask you to intercede with the President of Malawi, his Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to urge that these two men are not ill-treated while in prison, to urge that they are swiftly released on bail and to urge that all charges against them are dropped.

We further ask you to press the Government of Malawi to initiate moves to decriminalise homosexuality in accordance with the equality and non-discrimination clauses of the Malawian constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Finally, we ask that you call upon the Malawian government to halt police harassment and legal proceedings against HIV educators and human rights defenders from the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP); three of whose workers have recently been arrested following their public defence of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga and following their HIV education work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

I hope that you feel able to make these humanitarian representations to the leaders of Malawi and that you will advise us at your earliest opportunity.

Thank you.

David Allison

OutRage! – The LGBT Human Rights Campaign

Copy of Peter Tatchell’s message the jailed men, Tiwonge and Steven:

Dear Tiwonge and Steven,

May 2010 bring you and all Malawians justice, freedom and equality.

Congratulations on your courageous witness for gay human rights, as you battle for your right to be accepted, without discrimination.

Millions of people around the world know about your arrest and detention. You have received worldwide news coverage.

Stay Strong. We are with you in this period of trial and tribulation.

You are inspirations to us all. We salute you.

Take heart. You will win in the end. Justice and freedom will triumph.

You follow in the footsteps of the Malawians who fought against colonialism and the South Africans who battled against apartheid. They were arrested and persecuted, but they were victorious eventually.

Tell the judge that Malawi’s anti-gay law was not devised by Malawians. It is was devised in London in the nineteenth century and imposed on the people of Malawi by the British colonisers and their army of occupation. Before the British came and conquered Malawi,

there were no laws against homosexuality. These laws are a foreign imposition. They are not African laws.

You are making history, and history will honour you.

I send you love and solidarity!

Peter Tatchell, OutRage! London, UK

Donate to the Malawi Defence Campaign

To make a donation from a UK bank within the UK, make an electronic bank transfer to OutRage!

Account name: OutRage!

Bank: Alliance and Leicester Commercial Bank, Bootle, Merseyside, GIR 0AA

Account number: 7780 9302

Sort code: 72-00-01

For electronic transfers from abroad, please ADDITIONALLY quote this:

IBAN: GB65ALEI72000177809302

Or post a cheque payable to “OutRage!” to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT. Enclose a note giving your name and address and stating that your donation is for the Malawi Defence Campaign. OutRage! will pass the money donated to the LGBT campaign team in Malawi. Thank you.

OutRage! – 0208 240 0222 and outrage@blueyonder.co.uk

Further information:

Gift Trapence, Executive Director of the Malawian human rights group CEDP

directorcedep@yahoo.com

Peter Tatchell, OutRage!

peter@petertatchell.net
www.petertatchell.net

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

Malawi ‘gay marriage’ trial on 15 January

Defendants refused bail, face gay sex charges

Human rights defender arrested on false porn charges

London – 5 January 2009

http://www.petertatchell.net/international/malawi-gay-marriage-trial-on-15-january.html

A Malawian court yesterday refused bail to two men who celebrated their engagement to be married in a traditional African ceremony, which they held late last year.

Giving his ruling at a court in the city of Blantyre on Monday 4 January, judge Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa claimed Steven Monjeza (26) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) were at risk of mob violence and would be safer in custody – a claim rejected by the defendants and their lawyers.

In Malawi, even people accused of serious crimes like violent robbery and assault usually get bail.

The same day the police arrested a worker from the human rights group CEDEP, which assisted the detained men and secured them legal representation.

“Steven and Tiwonge are the first same-sex couple to begin the process of getting married in Malawi,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage! in London, who has been liaising with human rights defenders inside Malawi to support the detained men.

“The two men have been returned to Chichiri Prison pending their trial on charges of homosexuality, scheduled for Friday 15 January in Blantyre,” added Mr Tatchell.

“They face a maximum sentence of 14 years jail, under Malawi’s anti-gay law, section 153 of the penal code, which was originally imposed on the country by the British colonisers during the nineteenth century.

“Both men deny the charges and will challenge the prosecution on the grounds that it is illegal under the equal rights and non-discrimination clauses of the Malawian constitution.

“Tiwonge and Steven are quite fearful and dejected. They were jeered in court and have been disowned by their families. Conditions in Chichiri jail are appalling. They say they have been beaten in prison and they are now threatened with forced intimate medical examinations to determine whether they have had sex.

“Visitors have taken them food and clothing and given them some money. They encouraged them to stand firm and reassured them that they have support inside Malawi and worldwide. This has lifted their spirits.

“Steven and Tiwonge now have a good legal team, including Mauya Msuku, Felix Tandwe and Noel Supedi.

“They also have the support of the Malawian human rights group, the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), which works to defend the welfare of marginalised communities, including prisoners, sex workers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“Ominously, the administrator of CEDEP was arrested on 4 January on trumped up charges that the group’s safer sex HIV education materials are pornographic. His arrest is almost certainly in retaliation for CEDEP’s public support for Tiwonge and Steven. There are concerns that the Executive Director of CEDEP, Gift Trapence, may now also face arrest by the police.

“This prosecution is illegal. It is contrary to section 20 of the Malawi constitution, which outlaws all discrimination and it violates the equal treatment provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Malawi has signed and pledged to uphold.

“Malawi’s anti-gay laws were not devised by Malawians. They were devised in London in the nineteenth century and imposed on the people of Malawi by the British colonisers and their army of occupation. Before the British came and conquered Malawi, there were no laws against homosexuality. These laws are a foreign imposition. They are not African laws,” said Mr Tatchell.

See details of the Malawian constitution and African human rights law below.

Donate to the Malawi Defence Campaign:

To make a donation to support the jailed men, post a cheque payable to “OutRage!” to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT. Enclose a note giving your name and address and stating that your donation is for the Malawi Defence Campaign. OutRage! will pass all money donated to Tiwonge and Steven’s defence team in Malawi. Thank you.

OutRage! – 0208 240 0222 and outrage@blueyonder.co.uk

Further information:

Gift Trapence, Executive Director of CEDP

directorcedep@yahoo.co

Peter Tatchell, OutRage!

peter@petertatchell.net

Constitution of Malawi – Article 20:

1. Discrimination of persons in any form is prohibited and all persons are…guaranteed equal and effective protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, property, birth or other status.
http://www.icrc.org/IHL-NAT.NSF/162d151af444ded44125673e00508141/4953f2286ef1f7c2c1257129003696f4/$FILE/Constitution%20Malawi%20-%20EN.pdf

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights – Articles 2, 3 and 4:

Article 2

Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.

Article 3

1. Every individual shall be equal before the law. 2. Every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law.

Article 4

Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.
http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/z1afchar.htm

ENDS

www.petertatchell.net