Friday, 30 May 2014

Africa's First Openly Gay Minister & MTN's Shame

Zakhele Mbhele

The appointment of Zakhele Mbhele, Africa's first openly gay minister, in South Africa is certainly a momentous occasion.

However, we find his success tainted by the fact that South Africa continues to support an extremely homophobic Ambassador to Uganda, Jon Qwelane. Just Google his name to read about his legacy of hate. 

Not only is Qwelane the South African Ambassador to Uganda, he is also a trustee of the MTN Foundation.


Use the above to contact MTN Uganda to tell them that it is not okay to have Jon Qwelane promoting their charity.

How can South Africa promote equality at home whilst exporting gay hate abroad?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

UN Consider Kutesa for President of General Assembly

Sam Kutesa, Ugandan Foreign Minister

[UPDATE: Sam Kutesa is now President of the UN General Assembly.]

[T]he [Ugandan] government does not support the promotion of homosexuality,just like we cannot promote prostitution.

Yeah, the same guy who resigned in 2011 over corruption allegations?

Yeah - that one.

This, just weeks after the UN Human Rights Commission issued a statement saying they support LGBTI rights.

Do they hell.

The UN couldn't give a crap, if their actions are anything to go by.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

American Cultural Warriors in Africa

A radical new book on the market that might be of interest to readers of this blog:

One of the original researchers to expose the ties between U.S. right-wing evangelicals and anti-LGBTQ laws in Uganda and other parts of Africa has released a new book that shows U.S. activists how to stop Americans like Scott Lively and Rick Warren from exporting anti-gay animus abroad.
“American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism is penned by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma and Political Research Associates, the outfit that filmed the explosive undercover footage of Lively in Uganda telling lawmakers and faith leaders that gays from the West were “infiltrating” Ugandan schools to “recruit” and “molest” children...
American Culture Warriors in Africa, Kaoma says, is a first-of-its-kind guide for activists who want to get involved and stop this globalization of homophobia.

Worth getting your hands on a copy. If you live in an African country with a national library, consider purchasing a copy and donating it so that it is available to the public.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

White Culture Responsible for Porn and Gays

Simon Lokodo, Minister for Misinformation

Time for a little comedy relief.

Uganda's largest (in every sense) lunatic, Simon Lokodo, as Minister of Ethics and Integrity, has decided that white people are responsible for pornography and gay people in Africa.

Lokodo - successfully making Uganda a laughing stock since before you were born.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Canada Goofs Up

Just like the UK, Canada had paid a great deal of lip service to LGBTI rights in Africa recently, yet completely fails to deliver when it comes to actions.

Renowned Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha is the only Ugandan delegate who has a valid visa as the keynote speaker at the World Pride human rights conference in Toronto...
Gay rights advocates say the decisions by the Canadian visa posts in Nairobi and London speak to the hypocrisy of the Stephen Harper government, which, in February, joined other Western nations in condemning Uganda for passing one of the world’s harshest anti-homosexuality laws.
“We are shocked and appalled. These individuals from Uganda are some of the most courageous heroes,” said Andrea Houston of #ENDhatelaws, a coalition founded in response to homophobia/transphobia across the globe, amid the controversy over anti-gay laws passed in Russia prior to the Winter Olympics.
“They are here to share their stories and have every intention to go home after the conference, because they all have work to do in Uganda. The assumption is they are here to claim asylum. The question is: Why can’t they, coming from the most hostile place in the world to LGBTQ people?”
The 10 men and women — all working in precarious conditions to support Uganda’s LGBTQ community — are among 160 speakers and 400 delegates from over 40 countries invited to the June 25-27 conference at the University of Toronto.

This is a decision that Canada's authorities are now promptly reviewing, having realised how stupid they look for holding an international gay pride event that discriminated against gay people.

[UPDATE: Canada eventually decided to grant the visas.]

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Africa Adopts Resolution Against Anti-LGBT Violence

After so much doom and gloom, finally a ray of hope!

The African Union’s human rights commission has adopted a resolution condemning violence against LGBTI people, marking the first time an African human rights body has held that LGBTI people are protected under human rights law. The move is a direct rebuke to member states Nigeria and Uganda, which both recently passed extreme anti-LGBTI measures.
“It is a big deal,” said Monica Tabengwa, a longtime lesbian activist from Botswana who now works for Human Rights Watch in Nairobi. The resolution lacks any enforcement mechanism, but in a context where many African leaders are sanctioning anti-LGBTI violence while arguing that LGBTI rights are an invention of the U.S. and Europe, it sends a critical message.
“There has never been anything like this before. It will be very symbolic,” Tabengwa said. “It’s a homegrown resolution saying [LGBTI people] are human beings … it’s about [protecting] people’s lives.”

This is indeed a huge deal. Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon - can no longer claim LGBTI people are not African, or that promoting gay rights is a form of Western imperialism. This is the African Human Rights Commission, and they stay STOP!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Barbaric Britain

Aidah Asaba

Britian is at it again. After murdering one Ugandan lesbian, and deporting another, they are about to deport this young woman, Aidah Asaba.

A Ugandan mom who was forced to flee beatings, rape and persecution is set to be deported from Britain on Saturday (24 May)...
That’s despite the fact the UK has a policy of not deporting LGBTI people to countries where they will be at risk, and Uganda’s new, harsh anti-gay laws have been condemned by Britain.

The UK is the absolute definition of double standards, paying lip service to LGBT rights whilst embracing Museveni. You would have thought that after three of their own (Keith Prosser, David Cecil and Bernard Randall) faced homosexuality charges in Uganda, they would have more compassion. 

[UPDATE: UK authorities have agreed to review Asaba's case.]

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Navi Pillay Speaks Out

Navi Pillay

After her memorable video calling on the world to respect LGBT rights last year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has written an article repeating this point.

RECENTLY, new laws have been adopted to punish, or silence, lesbians and gays in a number of countries. Such laws, and the resulting discrimination — which often affects transgender people too — violate universal human rights...
In reality, homosexuality is a fact of nature, observed in every human society throughout history. It has been tolerated for centuries in many societies, and has only recently surfaced as a political issue. There is no evidence whatsoever that homosexuals “target” children more often than heterosexuals do — paedophilia is a crime, whether the perpetrator is homosexual or heterosexual, and nobody wishes to change that. Calling for an end to the persecution of LGBT people is a call to end discrimination and violence, a basic premise of our universal human rights. It is unrelated to same-sex marriage, a topic that societies may choose to debate at the national level. Furthermore, religious freedom does not mean the freedom to persecute, or to act with prejudice and bigotry.
To counter these prejudices, my office last year launched Free and Equal — an unprecedented United Nations campaign to raise awareness of the rights of LGBT people. We did so because human rights are for all human beings. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is just as irrational, just as wrong, as discrimination on the basis of skin colour and just as clearly violates human rights.

Free & Equal is a United Nations campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender equality. We particularly like their slogan: Love is a Family Value.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

WHO 24 Years On

Today marks the 24th anniversary of WHO removing homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

The UK's Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Human Rights, Kerry McCarthy, explores what this means, whilst London welcomes Musseveni and the Commonwealth celebrates Rebecca Kadaga.

#DoubleStandards ?

May 17th is significant because it marks the anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. To many of us, it will seem shocking that such a decision was made so recently but in many countries today, while homosexuality may not be classed as a mental disorder, it is very much considered to be a crime.
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has just published its report, “From Torment to Tyranny”, documenting 162 reported incidents of persecution between 20th December 2013 and 1st May this year. This represents a 750% and 1900% increase on previous years but, as SMUG warns, it is likely to only be the tip of the iceberg.

Thank you World Health Organisation (WHO) for reclassifying LGBT people as 'not mental'.

Friday, 16 May 2014

LGBT Abuse On the Rise in Uganda

Following on from SMUG's report at the beginning of the month, the findings from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all back up the fact that rights violations have surged after implementation of Uganda’s anti-LGBT law:

Uganda's tough new anti-gay law has sparked a "surge in human rights violations", with people being arrested, evicted or losing their jobs, and at least one transgender person has been murdered, campaign groups said Thursday.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people have "faced a notable increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion, loss of employment, evictions and homelessness, and scores have fled the country," Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International said in a joint report.

It all makes for grim reading:

Among the most feared repercussions of the bill is the curtailing of LGBT people's access to health services and HIV prevention despite a pledge by the health minister that LGBT people would not be discriminated against.
According to the research, in April police raided the Makerere University Walter Reed Project, a U.S.-funded HIV research and treatment center that serves the LGBT community.
In many cases, patient confidentiality has reportedly been violated. 

Since the bill passed in December 2013, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are aware of at least 17 people who have been arrested based on allegations of consensual same-sex conduct with other adults or, in some cases, simply on the suspicion of appearing to be LGBTI.

Uganda: a shining example of how quickly society can collapse.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Congratulations Clare Byarugaba

Clare Byarugaba

Congratulations to Ugandan LGBT rights activist Clare Byarugaba, who has just been named  2014 Oak Human Rights Fellow at Colby College, America.

Clare Byarugaba, an award-winning Ugandan human rights defender who works for gay and lesbian rights in a country that recently criminalized homosexuality and the “aiding and abetting of homosexuality,” has been named the 2014 Oak human rights fellow at Colby College. Byarugaba is co-coordinator of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which was founded in 2009 to fight homophobia in Uganda and act on behalf of the LGBTI community. 
Byarugaba helped organize Uganda’s first gay pride event, lobbied against the country’s anti-homosexuality bill, and now pushes for its repeal despite the threats that work imposes.

Keep up the fantastic work!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Kerry Snubs Museveni

"What's that Museveni? I can't hear you."

Unlike the UK, who appear to embracing Museveni and his anti-gay rehtoric with open arms, the US seem to be taking a different tone.

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set off for his five-nation tour of Africa on May 1, the expectation was that the conflict in South Sudan would dominate. It did not.
The first indication of this was when Kerry's itinerary was announced and it emerged that he would be skirting Uganda and Kenya and not meeting with presidents Yoweri Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta, the main drivers of the effort, respectively, to protect the legitimate government and end the conflict in Juba.
...part of the reason the Kerry-Museveni-Kenyatta meetings did not happen could be down to the U.S's agenda at home...
Although President Museveni is the U.S's leading ally in the regional peace effort in South Sudan and the DR Congo, and the war against terror in Somalia, the American government has publicly ostracised him since he signed into law the Ant-homosexuality Act in February.
The U.S. President, Barack Obama warned Museveni: "enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda".

Uganda can hardly be considered a stabilising force in East Africa anymore, yet alone a world player in international politics with its policy of actively persecuting its own people.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Wake Up Call for Museveni

Jackson Mukasa and Kim Mukisa, the two Ugandans facing trial for homosexuality, have been granted bail.

Meanwhile, Yoweri Museveni, the president who assented the anti-gay law, received a rude awakening in London today.

Protests from Ugandan’s and supporters of the equal rights movement interrupted a speech given by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni at the hotel where he is staying while visiting London.
Noise from drums, vuvuzelas and chants could be heard from outside the St James’ Court Hotel on Wednesday, in a protest organised by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group. President Museveni is in the UK for a forum promoting business between Uganda and the UK – and was disrupted when he attempted to give a speech to Ugandan citizens living in the UK with businesses.

LGBT Ugandans and allies staged a protest outside a London hotel where President Yoweri Museveni was speaking, while the first LGBT people to face formal charges for gay sex were granted bail.
Two LGBT Ugandans who were scheduled to face formal charges of "carnal knowledge against the order of nature" were granted bail Wednesday, the day their trial was to take place, for the first time since they were arrested in January...

There are some excellent photos of the protest on that second article.

Meanwhile, Huffington Post questions why on earth Museveni was invited to speak in the UK in the first place? 

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been in London this week as the honoured guest of the Commonwealth Business Council. Among those welcoming him to the grand surroundings of Lancaster House just down the road from the House of Commons and Buckingham Palace was the UK's Minister for Africa. Yet just 10 weeks ago President Museveni made it punishable by life imprisonment to be a lesbian or gay man in his country. Anybody daring even to speak up for the rights of LGBT citizens can now go to jail for seven years.

Probably for the same reason the Commonwealth promoted Rebecca Kadaga to head of women parliamentarians?

Ignorance, arrogance, and a complete disregard for the rights of LGBT people worldwide.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Two Stand Trial

Jackson Mukasa and Kim Mukisa

Last month we reported that the first LGBT Ugandans were soon to stand trial under the anti-homosexual laws.

A Ugandan court has begun hearing the case against two men accused of engaging in gay sex – the first trial of homosexuals in the country since a severe law was passed in February.
The detained Ugandan couple, Kim Mukisa, 24, and Jackson Mukasa, 19, appeared before a magistrate's court in the capital, Kampala, on Wednesday to apply for bail after prosecutors said they had enough evidence to proceed with the case.

Funny Uganda's police can figure out what's going on behind people's closed bedroom doors, but not where all the money is going with regard to their corrupt political officials

#BetterUseofTime ?

[UPDATE: Here is a rundown of their situation and how it progressed to court.]

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Torment to Tyranny

Sexual Minorities Uganda have published a groundbreaking report charting the National LGBTI Security Team, documenting the rise of LGBT persecution in Rwanda from December 2013 to May 2014. Download the full report as a PDF:

[UPDATE: The Guardian have picked up on this report: Uganda anti-gay law led to tenfold rise in attacks on LGBTI people, report says: Passing of anti-homosexuality act has 'given permission to a culture of extreme and violent homophobia', says Sexual Minorities Uganda]