Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Public Protests Worldwide on Uganda Anti-Gay Measure

I got this in the email a few minutes ago from the Council for Global Equality:

Public Protests Worldwide on Uganda Anti-Gay Measure
Demonstration at 2 pm ET, Thursday, November 19
Washington, D.C.


A global public protest against a proposed "Anti-Homosexuality" Bill in Uganda will take place this week in Washington, DC aligned with global human rights protests in other cities including New York.


Embassy of the Republic of Uganda
5911 16th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C.


2 PM to 3 PM ET, Thursday, November 19, 2009


Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and its partners in civil society have requested that supporters stage protests against the homophobic legislation at the diplomatic missions of Uganda leading up to Human Rights Day on December 10, 2009. The demonstration in Washington, D.C. is organized by a coalition of supporters, including Advocates for Youth, the African Services Committee, AIDS Institute, Amnesty International, the Council for Global Equality, Global Rights, Health Gap, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, Immigration Equality, the International Gay and Lesbian human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch, Metropolitan Community Churches, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. A counterpart demonstration protesting the bill will also be held at Uganda's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York City the same afternoon. For more information on the New York protest visit http://www.iglhrc.org


A broad coalition of civil society groups in Uganda have united against the legislation, warning that it will severely undermine human rights and the work of human rights defenders in the country. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans are already persecuted under Penal Code Article 145a, which prohibits "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature." The proposed bill specifically criminalizes homosexuality, and punishes anything from sexual stimulation to "touch[ing] another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality" with life imprisonment. Worse, "aggravated homosexuality" - including activity by "serial offenders" or those who are HIV positive - would merit the death penalty.

The bill's draconian restrictions on homosexuality have drawn public criticism from a diverse coalition of professional and civic organizations in Uganda, who warn that it also undermines civil society, the rule of law, and public health outreach in the country. The bill not only criminalizes the "promotion of homosexuality," but states that any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and imprisonment. It would have negative repercussions for HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be seriously compromised. Moreover, it sets a dangerous precedent by revoking the basic human rights of a marginalized group in the name of tradition, with potentially serious repercussions for women, sex workers, and people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 violates multiple protections guaranteed by the Constitution of Uganda, but also contravenes the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party. By withdrawing from agreements which acknowledge sexual orientation and gender identity, the bill sets a dangerous precedent, undermines Uganda's commitment to the international human rights regime, and threatens the basic human rights of all Ugandans. More shocking, the bill claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while outside of the country, provoking condemnation from the international community and the governments of the United States and France.


Advocates for Youth, Donald Hitchcock, 202-251-4351 (Cell), Donald@ADVOCATESFORYOUTH.org

AIDS Institute, James Sykes, 202-557-6389 (Cell),

Amnesty International, Media Office, 202.544.0200,

Council for Global Equality, Mark Bromley, 202-607-6813 (Cell),

Global Rights, Stefano Fabeni, 917-209-0118 (Cell),

Hartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, Amy Carlton, 312-660-1317 (Cell),

Health Gap, Matthew Kavanagh, 202-486-2488 (Cell),

Human Rights Watch, Scott Long, 646-641-5655 (Cell),

Immigration Equality, Steve Ralls, 202-347-7007 (Cell),

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Hossein Alizadeh,
212-430-6016, halizadeh@iglhrc.org

Metropolitan Community Churches, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, 212-629-7440, RvPatMCCNY@aol.com

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Calla Devlin, 415-205-2420 (Cell),


Following the call from SMUG, all human rights defenders are encouraged to join the demonstrations or contact Uganda's diplomatic missions using the information below. The bill's repercussions for human rights and human rights defenders stretch far beyond Uganda, and merit strong support for SMUG and its civil society partners from allies around the globe.

Jerry P. Lanier, US Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda
P.O. Box 7007,
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-414-259-791/2/3/5
Fax: 256-414-259-794

Perezi K. Kamunanwire, Ambassador to the US
Tel: 1-202-726-4758
Fax: 1-202-726-1727

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations
336 East 45 Street
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 1-212-949-0110
Fax: 1-212-687-4517


About Council for Global Equality

The Council for Global Equality brings together international human rights activists, foreign policy experts, LGBT leaders, philanthropists and corporate officials to encourage a clearer and stronger American voice on human rights concerns impacting LGBT communities around the world.


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