Gay Uganda News & Reports 2011 May-Aug

Also see:
Behind the Mask LGBT African website
S.M.U.G. Uganda’s Gay Lesbian Alliance
Gay Uganda
Behind the Mask
Uganda Blogspot
Gay Kampala personals

SMUG HIV – AIDS Report 2008
SMUG HIV – AIDS – Report Appendix – V Same Sex Sexual Behavior. HIV and Health Care in Uganda
SMUG HIV – AIDS- Report Appendix – IV Gay and Bi Men and HIV in Kampala, Uganda

1 Ugandan lesbian honoured for human rights work 5/11

1a Uganda gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera hailed 5/11

2 No vote: Future of Uganda’s anti-gay bill in limbo 5/11

3 Parliament committee backs anti-homosexuality bill: HRW 5/11

4 African activists oppose cuts to Ugandan aid 5/11

5 A FSRN series on gay rights, discrimination and religion 5/11

5a Lawyer Representing LGBTI Activists in Uganda Speaks with UG Pulse 6/11

6 Africa: New light shed on male sex work 6/11

7 David Kato: Lawyer Demands Speedy Trial In Letter 6/11

8 Freedom and Roam Uganda Marks Eight Years of Strong Existence! 7/11

9 Transsexual Woman Molested, Hospitalised For “Looking Abnormal” 7/11

10 Uganda Rights Body Urges Parliment To Decriminalise Homosexuality 7/11

11 LGBTI Activist’s House Torched 7/11

12 Fears About Return Of Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill 7/11

13 Lawmakers Okay HIV/Aids Bill 7/11

14 The cultural barrier to discussing sex and sexuality 7/11

14a The rape of men 7/11

14b Ugandan minister speaks out on LGBT issues 7/11

15 The Human Rights Status of LGB in East Africa 2009-2010 7/11

16 Constitutional Court Hears Case on Equal Opportunities for All 7/11

17 HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill Reintroduced 7/11

18 Surprise As Uganda Appoints LGBTI Lobby Group 7/11

18a Uganda Now To Include Homosexuals In HIV Programes 7/11

18b Bringing LGBTI issues into the forced migration debate 7/11

18c Former Ex-Gay Man Now Regrets Past Homophobic Comments 7/11

19 Gay rights group has computers, member list stolen 8/11

20 Hate No More Campaign 2011 8/11

21 Kasha Jacqueline on the Ground Breaking Struggle 8/11

22 Uganda Cabinet Drops MP David Bahati’s Anti-Gay Bill 8/11

4 May 2011 – PinkNews

Ugandan lesbian honoured for human rights work

by Jessica Geen
Ugandan lesbian campaigner Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera has been honoured with an international award for her bravery in speaking out for human rights. Ms Nabagesera, the founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, is to received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. Award organisers commended her “rare courage” in a country which punishes homosexuality severely. Ms Nabagesera has appeared on national television and radio to call for LGBT rights and an end to homophobia. She has been physically attacked and has to move house regularly to escape harassment and threats to her life.

Last year, her name and photo were published by the notorious Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone, which campaigned for gay people to be hung. The Martin Ennals Award is named after the British human rights activist who died in 1991. He was the Secretary-General of Amnesty International between 1968 and 1980. A jury from ten human rights organisations, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, selected Ms Nabagesera for the award. The honour is designed to publicise the recipient’s work and help protect them from the dangers they face.

The chairman of the award’s jury, Hans Thoolen, said Ms Nabagesera was “an exceptional woman of a rare courage, fighting under death threat for human dignity and the rights of homosexuals and marginalised people in Africa”. Dipika Nath, an LGBT researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “This is a fitting tribute to the courage of one woman, Kasha Nabagesera, and to all activists working under conditions of extreme threat.”

4 May 2011 – BBC News

Uganda gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera hailed

Ugandan gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera has been given the prestigious Martin Ennals rights award. The 10 organisations which make up the award jury said she was courageous and faced harassment because of her work. Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, and can be punished by long jail terms.

In January, her colleague David Kato was murdered not long after suing a paper that outed them both as gay. Police denied the killing was because of his sexuality. Three months before the murder, Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay, including activist Mr Kato, with the headline "Hang them." The name of Ms Nabagesera, the founder of gay rights organisation Freedom and Roam Uganda, also appeared on the list.
‘Rare courage’

The Geneva-based award jury said Ms Nabagesera had appeared on national television and issued press statements on behalf of Uganda’s gay community. However, because of threats and harassment she now shifted "from house to house, afraid to stay long in the same place", their statement said. "[She is] an exceptional woman of a rare courage, fighting under death threat for human dignity and the rights of homosexuals and marginalised people in Africa," jury chairman Hans Thoolen said.

In October 2009, an MP introduced a bill that proposed increasing the penalties in Uganda for homosexual acts from 14 years in prison to life. It also proposed the death penalty for a new offence of "aggravated homosexuality" – defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender". The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is yet to be formally debated by the Ugandan parliament.

The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders is named after the late British lawyer who became the first head of the human rights organisation Amnesty International.

May 13, 2011 – AP

No vote: Future of Uganda’s anti-gay bill in limbo

by Maggie Fick, AP
Kampala, Uganda – Uganda’s parliament adjourned Friday without acting on a criticized anti-gay bill that would mandate the death sentence in some cases, drawing praise from an advocacy group that said parliament’s failure to act was a "victory for all Ugandans." Speaker of Parliament Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuk said there is no time to take up the bill this session, which ends Wednesday, leaving the bill’s future uncertain. Kiwanuk adjourned the parliament Friday and set no date for the body to return.

The bill has drawn criticism from U.S. leaders and human rights groups. The U.S. State Department spokesman on Wednesday called the bill "odious" and said no changes to the bill’s wording would justify its passage. Avaaz, an Internet group that champions action on issues like poverty and climate change, called it a "victory for all Ugandans and people across the world who value human rights" that parliament did not take action Friday.

"This vile bill is a matter of life and death for gay Ugandans, and would have seen the execution, imprisonment and persecution of friends of Avaaz, and thousands of others who have committed no crime at all. We must now ensure this heinous bill can never return to Parliament again," said Alice Jay, the group’s campaign director. David Bahati, who authored the bill, has said that if the anti-gay bill was not voted on this session, he would try to move the legislation forward next session.

Helen Kawesa, spokeswoman for parliament, said the anti-gay bill could come back up for debate in the next parliament but that it would likely take time to get back to the floor. Kakoba Onyango, a member of parliament, said the anti-gay bill has taken so long to be acted on because President Yoweri Museveni did not back it and because of the criticism of human rights groups. Gay rights groups say that the harassment of gays has increased in Uganda since the introduction of the bill in October 2009.

Last year a tabloid newspaper in Uganda published the names and photos of men it alleged were gay. One cover included the words "Hang Them." Shortly afterward, a prominent gay rights activist whose picture was published was bludgeoned to death, though authorities contend David Kato‘s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the killing. Bahati’s original bill would mandate a death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. "Serial offenders" also would face capital punishment. Anyone convicted of a homosexual act would face life imprisonment.

Anyone who "aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality" would face seven years in prison. Landlords who rent rooms or homes to homosexuals also could get seven years. Homosexuality is highly unpopular in Uganda, and pastors in this Christian country speak out loudly against it. Bahati has said he thinks the bill would become law if voted on.

13 May 2011 – Fridae

Uganda parliament committee backs anti-homosexuality bill: Human Rights Watch

by News Editor
Contrary to earlier reports that Uganda lawmakers have removed the death penalty clause from the proposed anti-gay bill, the country’s parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has in fact recommended passage of the proposed bill, including retaining the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” Human Rights Watch said in its latest statement today.

Update (May 16, 2011): The proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill was not voted on Friday as expected. The bill or an amended version of it was adjourned and be back during the next parliament sitting, which is expected to begin in June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. It would however have to return to the beginning of the legislative process, the organisation said. "Today marks the end of a chapter in the fight to protect the rights of the LGBT community in Uganda but the struggle isn’t over yet," Graeme Reid, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Program at HRW was quoted as saying in a CNN report. "There’s a real danger we might see this bill remerge in some form."

Media statement issued by Human Rights Watch May 12, 2011:
The Ugandan parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has regrettably recommended passage of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including retaining the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” Human Rights Watch said today. The committee’s report, as seen by Human Rights Watch, recommends amendments deleting some provisions but adding criminal penalties for “conduct[ing] a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex.”

The committee’s report is likely to be presented to parliament on May 13, 2011, as part of a debate before the bill could be up for a vote. Such reports are required under parliamentary procedure. The committee said that it consulted with several key stakeholders in generating its recommendations, including civil society, government agencies, including the Justice Ministry, Uganda Law Reform Commission, prisons, and the Uganda Human Rights Commission. It is not clear how many committee members participated in drafting the report. At consultations attended by Human Rights Watch only three of the committee’s 20 members were present.

“It should be scrapped. The committee’s recommendations fall wholly short of making this a bill worth parliament’s time,” said Graeme Reid, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Program at Human Rights Watch. “Even if these suggestions are taken on board, the bill will remain discriminatory, a profound threat to Uganda’s LGBT community and put Uganda at odds with its fundamental human rights obligations.” The committee proposes amendments to the October 2009 draft bill. Despite the suggestion by the bill’s author, David Bahati, that the death penalty could be deleted from the legislation, the committee recommends retaining it. The committee proposes rewording the provision to align with the current Penal Code provision on “aggravated defilement,” which is punishable by death.

Some recommendations integrate concerns raised by Ugandan and international human rights groups. The committee states that provisions criminalizing “attempted” homosexuality should be removed, rightly stating such allegations would be very difficult to prove, Human Rights Watch said. The committee also recognizes that provisions requiring anyone who knows of homosexual conduct to report to police within 24 hours would create “problems especially to professionals whose ethics include confidentiality in order to be able to carry out their functions like Doctors, Lawyers and Counselors.” The committee also suggests removing the clauses on extra-territorial prosecution of homosexuality and on nullifying Uganda’s international human rights obligations to the extent that they contradict the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The committee recommends the creation of an additional crime, “conduct[ing] a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex,” punishable by three years in prison, which was not in the original draft. It also suggests deleting the crimes of “aiding and abetting homosexuality,” and “conspiracy to commit homosexuality,” but including a penalty of seven years in prison for “procuring homosexuality by threats.” The committee did not comment on the current proposed provision criminalizing the “promotion of homosexuality,” which would jeopardize the legitimate work of national and international activists and organizations working to defend and promote human rights in Uganda.

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19 May, 2011 – MSM Global Forum

African activists oppose cuts to Ugandan aid

by Chris Johnson
Responding to the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda by cutting off international aid to the country might not be a good idea. That was the message on Tuesday from LGBT activists from Africa who participated in a panel discussion on the impact of homophobia in developing countries at the World Bank Headquarters. The panel was sponsored by several organizations — including UNAIDS, World Bank GLOBE, Inter-American Development Bank GLOBE and the Council for Global Equality — to observe the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Speakers expressed reservations about urging multilateral development institutions, such as the World Bank, to cut funding from Uganda if the country’s lawmakers make another attempt at passing a draconian bill that would institute the death penalty for homosexual acts. Val Kalende, a lesbian Ugandan activist, said LGBT people in her country have been facing “a lot of backlash” because of international criticism over the proposed anti-gay legislation and cutting off aid may make that worse.

In January, David Kato, a gay activist who was working against the measure, was brutally murdered after a publication in the country identified him as gay. “We don’t want our government to come up and start blaming us for the things that have been imposed on them,” Kalende said. “It’s not a question [to which] I can give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, but I think it’s important for us to think about how to create spaces of better dialogue in Uganda.”

Kalende said she’d rather see an internal grassroots approach in Uganda to confront the anti-gay bill if it comes up again as opposed to restrictions on international aid. “This is an issue of ignorance, and we need to address that within the Uganda kind of context and culture,” Kalende said. “Because without that debate, I don’t think cutting aid would change anything in Uganda.”

Joel Gustave Nana, executive director of African Men for Sexual Health and Rights, said he would “think twice” about calling for cutting off international aid because it would reinforce the idea that Western countries are imposing homosexuality on Uganda. “When a condition is put on funding … my president then in Cameroon will not protect LGBT rights not because he doesn’t think that LGBT people deserve to be protected, but just because he wants to stand up for his country,” Nana said.

In Malawi, Joel said Germany has put a condition to protect LGBT rights as part of funding to the country, which has only prompted the African country to refuse the aid. “And the Malawian government has said, ‘OK, keep your money,’” Nana said. Kalende also cautioned the international community against voicing a greater outcry against the anti-gay bill as opposed to other injustices in Uganda. According to the Associated Press, opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who finished second in the country’s presidential election this year, has this week been placed under house arrest, although the government denies that he’s being detained.

“So we don’t want to present ourselves as special people, we don’t want to present LGBT rights as special rights, we want to create a culture where LGBT rights are deeply entrenched in human rights,” Kalende said. “And I think that is going to bring about the social change that we need.” The anti-homosexuality bill, which was introduced by lawmaker David Bahati, failed in the country’s parliament after the session ended last week without a floor vote on the legislation. But the measure, commonly known as the “Kill the Gays” bill, alarmed observers across the globe after a committee hearing took place on the legislation and it seemed ready for a floor vote.

View original article here

19 May 2011 – LGBT Asylum News

A FSRN series on gay rights, discrimination and religion
Audio: LGBTI rights and religion, a series from Indonesia, Uganda + Kenya

Source: Free Speech Radio News
In Indonesia, homosexuality is not outlawed but the Indonesian Ulemna Council has declared it evil or haram. And many mosques and Islamic schools in Indonesia discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Muslims. But in a quiet alley in the ancient Javanese city of Yogyakarta, Mariyani, a 50-year-old transgender hairdresser, has turned part of her salon into an Islamic school. FSRN’s Rebecca Henschke went to meet Mariyani on her birthday.

In Kenya the country’s new constitution, approved last summer, ensures the rights of minority groups and criminalizes discrimination based on sex, age, religion, race, and sexual orientation among others. But many people continue to be openly discriminated against because of their sexual preferences or sexual orientation and many government officials, religious leaders and academics openly condemn homosexuality. FSRN’s Tanya Castle filed this report.

Uganda’s record on human rights, and LGBT rights in particular, has attracted a lot of criticism at home and overseas. Under Ugandan law, committing what are described as homosexual acts is illegal and the penalty can be a life sentence. For more, we turned to Kasha Jacqueline founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an LGBT rights organization in Kampala

June 16, 2011 – African Activist

Lawyer Representing LGBTI Activists in Uganda Speaks with UG Pulse

by Ladislus Rwakafuzi
Uganda’s UG Pulse is running an indepth series with a rather biased title, "Saving Uganda From Sin: Our Country’s Battle Against Homosexuality." In Part 4, Ladislus Rwakafuzi, a human rights and constitutional lawyer representing LGBTI activists in Uganda, discusses the risks of blurring the line between church and state.
You might remember that homosexuals in Uganda have won two landmark cases in Uganda’s courts of law. One was the case against the goverment by Ivan Oyo and Victor Mukasa, after policemen raided and tortured two lesbians living together. In another recent case on publishing and “shaming” gays by a local tabloid, the judge ruled in favour of petitioners that all Ugandans enjoy the same right to privacy and it is wrong to publish pictures and names of alleged homosexuals.

Ladislus Rwakafuzi, a human rights and constitutional lawyer was the man representing the gay activists on both cases. We interviewed him about the current debates about homosexuality and the Anti Homosexuality bill currently before the Uganda Parliament.

What are your views on homosexuality?
For me, my take on this practice is that there are people who seem to be inclined to be attracted to persons of the same sex. It seems to be in their mind and in my opinion; they should be left to do what they want in their own privacy because we cannot control adults who have not injured anybody’s peace. It does not make sense to begin interfering in the activities of such adults.

Apart from the fact of that privacy, which everybody craves for, there is also a fact that the so-called nature or natural way is not really defined because people are very different. The first case I handled in 2006 involved one of my clients, who for orientation purposes, was a man. She was a male, her voice was deep, she almost had no breasts but her passport reads that she is a woman. So these are peculiarities over which society has no claim. There’s nothing society can do about it.

A human being is born into the world as an individual with his or her own peculiar circumstances and it becomes very wrong for the wider society to impose its own do’s and don’ts on such a person. That person has his or her own feelings, motivated by his or her own hormones. So my view is that society should stop the arrogance of arrogating itself the right of imposing behavior on other people. In my opinion, where a person acts without harming the public good, that person should be left to do what he or she wants.

So are you saying no alarm bells should be sounded by the Ugandan society on homosexuality?
There is no need for concern because homosexuality has been there since time immemorial during biblical times, about 6,000 years ago… So these things are there. In my opinion, societies that are more developed have come to accept these phenomena and they just regulate it so that in case you want to have a relationship with a person of the same sex, it should be by consent and should be between people who are adults and in their privacy.

In 2009, Ndorwa West MP, Hon. David Bahati tabled the Anti Homosexuality bill. What are your thoughts on this proposed legislation?
His bill is a non starter. It will never see the floor of Parliament. It was killed right from the word go. We campaigned against it and we succeeded. It will not be enacted into law; that’s my opinion.

What are some of the concerns in the bill?
First of all, the bill was giving a broad definition of homosexuality, including persons like me who just sympathize with such activities so such people would be punished for speaking favorably and not against the practice. The bill was really a very serious interference in people’s privacy. The law on defiling minors had already been amended and that law was catering for situations of defilement where it was same sex… so that fact this had already been dealt with.

So why introduce another law to deal with adults who are consenting?
We have fought it and we succeeded. I think the whole international community did not agree with this proposed law and even the President, I think, also realized that it does not make sense to begin regulating things over which he has no control. How can you regulate adults? They can meet anywhere they want.

What is your view on the international community’s reaction to the bill?
I think the international community, on the other hand, over reacted because it was not necessary to go too far. For us here, our own intellectuals had already said that the bill was not worth it and we had already persuaded government to shelve it. You know that kind of arrogance makes people feel bad. Saying you will not give aid is going too far.

I do not support that kind of arrogance from the international community. There were a lot of intellectuals throughout the world who wanted the government to reconsider its views on homosexuality and their views were persuasive. I think it is what made the government become reluctant on enacting the bill into law. It was not the fear of cutting aid and that kind of thing… We have our oil anyway.

There have been reports that a lot of money is being injected by the pro-homosexuality movement, especially in schools and higher institutions of learning… I have heard about it in newspapers and broadcast but I have not seen it though I can also say that the international community is willing to sponsor issues dealing with homosexuality. For example, if you wanted to represent clients who have been arrested on account of their sexual orientation, the donor community is more willing to come to your aid as their lawyers than in cases of torture. So that is the problem… and for me as an all round human rights lawyer, I find it very uncomfortable because human rights should be indivisible and all should be protected.

Finally, Mr. Rwakafuzi, in your opinion, why should homosexuality be tolerated in the country, well knowing it is outlawed?

We should learn tolerance of other people’s orientation and be understanding and know that some of those practices have been there and they will always be there. As long as they are not harmful to us, we should let things be. First of all, to be humble enough to say maybe we are different people… we think and react differently… maybe that’s why it is there… and that is one of the first steps in building an all inclusive society.

You can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 online. The next part of the series is titled, "Is homosexuality, or feelings for someone of the same sex, natural or learned? We interview a senior psychiatrist and you must read her revealing answers."

20 June 2011 – IRIN PlusNews

Africa: New light shed on male sex work

Johannesburg,(PlusNews) – Commercial sex work, dominated by a focus on women, could be redefined as new research launched today in Nairobi, Kenya, sheds light on the complicated HIV prevention needs of what may be Africa’s most deeply underground group at high risk of HIV – male sex workers. The report co-authored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and South Africa’s Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) seeks to better understand the social contexts, sexual practices and risks, including that of HIV, among these men. The professional debut of many of the 70 male sex workers surveyed in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe was often prompted by the family rejecting the men’s sexual orientation; for others, it was a way to survive in a foreign country.

Men reported being at risk of HIV in many ways, including the unavailability of speciality health services, the premium clients placed on unprotected sex, violence and the lure of substance abuse. Although the work often placed them at risk of substance and physical abuse as well as HIV infection, the researchers found that it also provided the men with a sense of freedom and empowerment. The report cautions that mitigating these risks may require specialised HIV prevention services unlike those targeted at female commercial sex workers or men who have sex with men (MSM).

A series of interviews with male sex workers at a five-country workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, and country visits to Kenya and Namibia has produced a significant addition to the paucity of data on male sex workers, according to Paul Boyce, a UNDP researcher. While data on MSM from Malawi, Namibia and Botswana indicated that about 17 percent were HIV positive – almost twice the national prevalence rates of their respective countries – not much has been written on the specific HIV risks of male sex workers, which may be higher than those of MSM.

While male sex workers reported working at a range of venues, including Namibian truck stops and Zimbabwean mines, most of the available information on male sex work has come from those operating in the sex tourism hot spot of Mombasa, Kenya, with limited data from a 2009 study in South Africa that showed male sex workers were twice as likely to engage in anal sex than MSM who were not selling sex.

Not necessarily the same old risks
Unprotected receptive anal sex carries almost 20 times the HIV risk associated with unprotected vaginal sex. Interviewees told researchers that the unavailability of water-based lubricant, which reduces the risk of condoms breaking during anal sex, and the higher financial reward of unprotected anal sex, made consistent condom use difficult.
Some clients forced unprotected intercourse on sex workers, while others admitted to practicing unsafe sex due to the disinhibition often brought about by the drug and alcohol abuse that is reportedly part of the social scene in sex work. Drugs and alcohol also helped the men mentally cope with the omnipresent risks of this lifestyle, including police harassment.

South African male sex workers said substance abuse – not HIV infection – was the greatest threat to their health. Those who tried to access health services for HIV testing and treatment, or the diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), reported being ridiculed and stigmatized by health workers, even in countries like Kenya, where the Ministry of Health has introduced new guidelines on MSM and sex work, and health and HIV.

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June 24th, 2011 – Behind The Mask

David Kato: Lawyer Demands Speedy Trial In Letter To High Court Registrar

by Kikonyogo Kivumbi, Arcus Correspondent, Kampala
Six months after the murder of gay rights activist, David Kato, a Ugandan lawyer has written to the Registrar of the High Court demanding a speedy trial.
Mr Francis Onyango, Kato’s lawyer, told Behind the Mask on Thursday June 23, that [if the case took any longer] prosecution witnesses to the case were likely to forget the sequence of events or relocate to other areas in the country. He explained that he had chosen to write to the Registrar in Jinja town because the Mukono High Court where the case is expected to be heard is under the Jinja High Court jurisdiction registry.

Mr Onyango said, the Registrar should take into account the circumstances surrounding Mr. Kato’s death and fix the hearing in the next Criminal season of the high court criminal session. It is not known when the criminal session will begin, although it had earlier been anticipated to start in April this year. The main suspect, Mr Nsubuga Sydney was charged with Mr Kato’s murder, which is thought to have taken place at Kato’s home in Mukono district, about 25 km east of Kampala.

Judicial officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to make media statements, said there was a back log of election petitions in Uganda’s country court systems resulting from February’s General Election and that these were overwhelming Uganda’s court system. However, other lawyers said it was most likely the criminal court season would begin in July when courts receive a financial disbursement at the beginning of the government’s fiscal year. Courts need money from government to facilitate witnesses coming to court. “This (the delay in hearings) will occasion a miscarriage of Justice as the key witnesses will be unavailable to testify,” Mr Onyango said in a letter to the Registrar.

Mr Nsubuga Sydney, Alias Enoch, was recently committed to the High Court from a lower magistrate’s court to begin hearings of the case. Under Uganda’s Constitution, capital offenders including rape, defilement and rape suspects are not allowed to enter into any plea before magistrates, because the High Court is the only institution with Jurisdiction to try them. However, legal experts note that it could take four to five years, before the suspect’s trial is completed. On average, suspected criminals in capital spend an average of about two and half years awaiting trial. Uganda has a backlog of cases in its judicial systems due to shortage of judges and resources to expedite the trials. Each year, the Principal Judge announces special Criminal Sessions at which judges concentrate on disposing of criminal cases countrywide.

Mr Onyango, a gay rights activist himself, had in April this year told Behind the Mask that there were many loopholes in the Kato investigation. He said then that the Uganda police had been too content with the confession allegedly made by the suspected killer. On Thursday, however, he said that he had since developed confidence in the confession because the suspect first made it in a police statement, and then again before a magistrate in a court of Law. “So, he (the suspect) can not again turn around and deny it (the confession). He confessed before a magistrate in a court of Law,” Mr. Onyango said. Nevertheless LGBTI activists in Uganda said that the over-reliance on the said confession threatened the successful investigations into who really killed Kato.

Gay activist, Pepe Onziema, an officer with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) where David Kato worked said recently that prior to his death, people had hacked into Kato’s email, sending spam mails to his friends and family. Onziema wondered why the police had taken no trouble to establish which internet portal address was used to send the spam mails, and why the deceased’s email had been hacked into. In some of the mails, the hackers sent a few days before Kato’s murder, they claimed that Kato was in trouble and stranded in London. But SMUG Executive Director, Frank Mugisha posted mail on January 24, 2011 clarifying that Kato was not in London and not in any trouble. Two days later he was killed.

July 5, 2011 – Freedom and Roam Uganda

Freedom and Roam Uganda Marks Eight Years of Strong Existence!

Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) is a lesbian organization which was established on July 4th 2003 by a group of fully fledged lesbians who were constantly harassed, insulted and discriminated against by a misinformed society and who were touched by the plight of their sisters and brothers who also identified as a sexual minority. The founder members include: Juliet Victor Mukasa, Kasha N .Jacqueline, and Taz Musisi (pseudonym). FARUG strives for the attainment of full equal rights for lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersexual (LBTI) women as well as the removal of all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We work to empower, lobby and press for the recognition of same sex relationships, especially for lesbians in Uganda and thereby allow them to attain full equal rights and freedom in all aspects of life.

This year, on the 4th of July, FARUG has marked eight successful years of work!!!!

Over the past eight years, FARUG has progressed to achieve many important accomplishments including:

– Holding a Leadership Institute and Annual General Assembly from June 20th- 24th 2010. Through this institute, we managed to establish the board of FARUG which was elected by members of FARUG attending the leadership institute.
– Expanding to a bigger office and increasing the FARUG staff by adding the positions of Programs Manager and Communications Manager
– Winning several court cases for LGBTI persons in Uganda

Several persons on the FARUG staff have also been recognized for their work within and outside of the gay liberation movement: FARUG Executive Director, Kasha N. Jacqueline, won the Martine Annual Award this year, was honored on the 100th anniversary of international women’s day, was on the list of 100 individuals who deliver for girls and women, and was nominated for the Women Delivery Global Recognition Award.

FARUG Finance Manager, Joanita Warry (aka Biggie), is captaining the 15’s national women rugby team starting with the Elgon Cup in Kenya on July 9th. We would like to congratulate these members on their achievements and wish them well as they continue their efforts. We would also like to thank all of our members, partners, and friends for all your hard work and support over the past eight years. Without your help and guidance, these achievements would not be possible.
Thank You!

We would like to acknowledge and thank again everyone who has been there for us and has stood strong with us through the movement for all these year. Thank you very much for the solidarity you have shown us. We look forward to your continued involvement as we move forward toward the next achievement!
Happy Birthday Freedom And Roam Uganda!
Aluta Continua!
“Break the Chain”

FARUG can be contacted through the following information:
P.O. Box 70116 Kampala, Uganda
Telephone: +256 (0) 312294863

July 5th, 2011 – Behind The Mask

Ugandan Transsexual Woman Molested, Hospitalised For “Looking Abnormal”

by Kikonyogo Kivumbi, Arcus Correspondent
A Ugandan transsexual woman, Ms Beyonce has made a desperate call to Uganda Police for protection from public molestation, including physical beatings for allegedly “looking abnormal.” Ms Beyonce, who was born Benjamin Tushabe, in an interview with Behind the Mask on July 3, in Kampala said she has been molested five times in less than two months. “I have consulted the doctors at Mulago (the national referral hospital in Kampala) to under go a sex change. But they all look at me like I am weird. Yet I have never felt like I am a man,” Ms Beyonce said.
She said on more than two occasions, she had beaten unconscious at Kisementi, an upscale Kampala recreation centre, by bouncers who said she “looked abnormal.”

Ms Florence, one of Ms Beyonce’s friends said the trans woman had been beaten into a coma at Club Iguana for not dressing like a man. “They dragged her from the toilets upstairs and threw her out in the cold. Then the bouncer shouted at her to go home and put on men’s shoes, yet she is not a man.” Ms Florence, is currently sheltering Ms Beyonce after her landlord recently evicted her from her rental house in Mutungo, a Kampala suburb for “not looking like a man.” Ms Florence said Ms Beyonce was later treated at Kadic Hospital for bruises and chest pain complaints.

There is total ignorance about transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Many people are informed by anti-gay sentiments fuelled by evangelical Christian pastors, calling for the killing of gays and trans people and through laws including the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 that was introduced in Ugandan parliament last year. The bill expired with the expiry of the 8th Parliament after the February 2011 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, but homophobes and transphobes are pushing for it to be reintroduced for debate.

Mr Niki Mawanda, a trans people’s activist said that he was saddened by the attacks. Mawanda, a trans man who leads an organization for trans people’s rights and recognition in Uganda, the Transgender, Intersex and Transsexuals Ug (T.I.Ts Uganda) said there is an urgent need for public education on trans peoples rights in Uganda. He however said it was not surprising that Ms. Beyonce had been attacked given the increasing levels of mob justice in Uganda. “People have less confidence in the Judiciary. So mobs choose to punish some people to death based on any suspicion,” Mr Mawanda said.

He noted that Ms Beyonce, a self confessed sex worker, was more predisposed to attacks because of who she is. Mawanda called for an interlinking with human rights advocacy on trans women and sex work. “Her being a sex worker attracts more attention, even from fellow sex workers. Some people choose to beat her for thinking she is a homosexual, even if she may not be,” Mr. Mawanda said. He added that T.I.Ts Uganda is doing its best to educate the public on trans people’s rights, and called on other human rights organization, including LGBTI groups to streamline trans people’s education within their programmes. Mr. Mawanda said it is difficult for trans people to get equal access at health facilities in Uganda, especially those funded by the government. “They look at you with insulting eyes. They ask you humiliating questions,” Mr. Mawanda added.

At an April meeting of transsexual women in Eastern and Southern Africa organized by SIPD Uganda and Gender Dynamix, a South African transsexual people’s rights organisation in Kampala in April 2011, a number of transsexual people spoke of the challenges they faced in society and urged the creation of safe spaces for trans people. Some trans people noted that it was difficult for them to obtain travel documents like passports. Others said they are deported when they travel within the Great Lakes region countries when immigration officers say they look weird. One of the participants said that landlords often do not want to rent rooms to trans people in Uganda.

Meanwhile, Idi Senkumbi, the spokesman for Kampala metropolitan police said of Ms Beyonce’s attackers, “Such suspects can be charged with either assault or indecent assault, as per the Penal Code,” Senkumbi said he would pursue the case filed by Ms Beyonce at Kira Road Police Station in Kampala. He however encouraged trans people to report threats and any form of attack against them. In a report released June 28, in Kampala on the Human Rights situation in the country by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), the commission noted of the “ grave” abuse of rights of Ugandan women based on their sexuality and sexual orientation. The report urged Uganda government to take deliberate steps on public education about sexual orientation to scale back hate crimes and violence on alleged or actual homosexuals.

July 5th, 2011 – Behind The Mask

Uganda Rights Body Urges Parliment To Decriminalise Homosexuality

by Kikonyogo Kivumbi, Arcus Correspondent
The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has called on the newly sworn in Ugandan 9th Parliament to decriminalize homosexuality. In the Commission’s 13th annual report to Uganda’s Parliament on the human rights situation in the country, the UHRC said it was “Gravely concerned that homosexual behaviour was criminalized in Uganda.” The UHRC was established under the 1995 Constitution. The annual reports to Parliament are part of its mandate. This is the second consecutive report in which the state-funded Commission has urged the government to observe the human rights of homosexuals in Uganda.

The commission’s position on the subject has in the past earned it rebukes from anti-gay cabinet ministers and legislators, including former Ethics and Integrity Minister, James Nsaba Buturo. The rightsd organisation’s critics say the government did not appoint Commissioners to promote “criminals.” However, the Commission’s consistent highlighting of the violent hate crimes meted out to Ugandans for their real or alleged sexual orientation hopes to bring about a change of heart in state policy making circles. The report entitled, “The 13th Annual Report 2010 to the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda” was launched June 28, in Kampala.

The UHRC Chairperson, Meddi Kaggwa said there had been increased incidents of mob justice around the country and called for more resources to educate the public on the rule of law. He noted that many people did not know that when suspects are arrested by the police, they have a right to be released on police bond or bail in courts of law. In Uganda, many people believe that when a suspect is posts bail or receives a police bond, the authorities have taken bribes, contrary to Constitutional provisions on the right to bond, bail and a fair hearing. In some cases, when suspected criminals are identified by society, they are burnt to death using petrol or jerry cans by mobs, claiming the police are not helpful.

Rosely Karugonjo-Segawa, the Commission’s Director for Monitoring and Inspection said they had chosen to make recommendations decriminalizing homosexuality in line with the commission’s mandate to improving the human rights situation of homosexuals in the country; and also realign Uganda’s compliance with international human rights tools and protocols. She said the recommendations in the commission’s report were part of Uganda’s reporting to the Convention on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Uganda ratified CEDAW in July 1985.

“The CEDAW recommendations are also part of our (Commission’s) position on sexual orientation. As you are aware last year we took a position to call for the non-passing of the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 by Parliament,” she said. Karugonjo said the recommendations formed part of the seventh periodic report submitted to CEDAW by Uganda which were considered on October 2010. The commission’s report called on the Uganda government to “Intensify its efforts to combat decriminalization against women on account of their sexual orientation and gender identity, including by launching a senstisation campaign aimed at the general public, as well as providing appropriate training to law enforcement officials and other relevant actors.”

On the whole, the report notes that there was an increase in the number of complaints by Ugandans about human rights violations. Torture and inhumane treatment especially from state agents formed bulk of the complaints, with the Uganda Police being the highest placed respondent. The Army and the Rapid Response Unit which handles violent crimes, including terrorism were the other highly placed respondents on the torture complaints list.

Uganda is yet to ratify international protocols denouncing torture, and human rights activists have been highlighting the numerous covert unlawful detention centres across the country, commonly called “safe houses.” LGBTI activists welcomed the commission’s report saying it was “timely.” An officer of the Uganda Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, Jeffrey Ogwaro said he was delighted by the report. The coalition is made up of 30 organisations made up of gay rights and gay sympathisers groups in Uganda.

10 July 2011 – Mamba Online

LGBTI Activist’s House Torched

Najib Kabuye, an Ugandan LGBTI activist, narrowly escaped death when his house was recently set alight – while he was trapped inside. Behind the Mask reports that police are investigating the incident which took place in the early hours of the 3rd of July in Kampala. “They wanted me to die in pain and agony. I do not know why,” Kabuye told the website. He said that on the day of the attack he was approached by a group of young people who berated him for receiving foreign grants to “promote homosexuality”.

“Then, they also told me that I should not expect mercy in the near future,” Kabuye added. That night his house was set alight and almost completely destroyed. Kabuye said that it was thanks to neighbours who broke the padlocks on his doors that he was able to escape the blaze. Placards calling for an end to homosexuality were apparently found near the scene.

Uganda is a hot-bed of anti-gay sentiment. Tabloids have outed gay people and called for their murder and the country’s parliament recently considered the widely-condemned Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In January, David Kato, another Ugandan LGBTI activist, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his home. It remains unclear if his murder was tied to his activism and/or sexuality.

July 11th, 2011 – Behind The Mask

Fears About Return Of Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill

by Simangele Mzizi (Junior Reporter)
Uganda’s LGBTI activists fear that Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality Bill is all set to return in the current sitting of Parliament. Activists told Behind the Mask the controversial bill “looks set to be passed in August this year after its postponement to the new parliamentary calendar.”
Joanitah Ogole Abang of Freedom and Roam Uganda said, “Yes, it’s been confirmed that the Bill will be passed this August,” he said. Abang added, “We are still continuing with our lobbying of both the new and old camps as well as trying to get more MPs on our side. The Coalition is doing all it can to see to it that the Bill is not passed.”

The US researcher Professor Warren Throckmorton, whose interests include sexual orientation, posted on his blog: that Ugandan Member of Parliament, Otto Odonga, said that the Bill wouldl be reintroduced as soon as possible, saying, “It will be expedited this time around and passed within one, maybe two months time.” On May 13 this year the Bill was postponed to the new parliamentary session as Speaker, Edward Ssekandi dissolved the House in the run up to the Ugandan elections saying there was not enough time to debate the Bill.

When the Bill was postponed, human rights defenders and LGBTI activists hailed the postponement as a victory, many however expressed fears that the Bill might resurface. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced on October 14, 2009 by MP, David Bahati. It immediately sparked worldwide condemnation as one of its provisions states that anyone who commits the “offence of homosexuality will be liable to life imprisonment.” The Bill further says that “aggravated homosexuality” will be punished by death and aims to ban all advocacy for homosexual rights. The Bill was criticized by activists and human rights defenders around the world who said it was “unconstitutional and an infringement of basic human rights.”

In January last year following worldwide condemnation around the Bill and the Ugandan government, Yoweri Museveni, Ugandan President bowed to international pressure and cautioned those advocating for the Bill to “go slow”, saying the matter was a sensitive foreign policy issue. Museveni also said while Ugandans should not allow their values to be compromised, they should equally not move ahead with the issue recklessly. A Ugandan website, www. also published several excerpts from the controversial US diplomatic cables released on Wikileaks indicating President Museveni’s interest in seeing the Bill go away, saying its provisions condemning consenting homosexual adults to life imprisonment or death were “unacceptable,” and that the Bill would be “significantly amended or perhaps shelved completely.”

The current Parliament, Uganda’s Ninth began in May 2011 and its tenure ends in May 2016.

13 July 2011 –

Lawmakers Okay HIV/Aids Bill

Mercy Nalugo – The Monitor
Ugandan Lawmakers Wednesday resisted pressure from the human rights defenders and backed the new HIV /Aids Prevention and Control Bill that seeks to criminalise the intentional spread of HIV/Aids.
Briefing the new members on the Parliamentary HIV/Aids committee about their expectations, work plan and how far the eighth Parliament had gone with scrutinising the controversial Bill, the new committee chairperson, Ms Rosemary Najjemba Muyinda (NRM, Gomba) said most of the controversial clauses in the Bill were dropped.

"The Bill is now in its advanced stages since it was discussed by our colleagues in the eighth Parliament. So many stakeholders have been consulted and all the contentious issues were dropped. The Bill once passed into law will protect those without HIV from being infected. We have to take the Bill forward," Ms Najjemba said. She said the principles in the Bill were agreeable to the committee members since they are aimed at combating the intentional spread of HIV/Aids. "For example why should someone infect the other with aids intentionally? That is a crime that should not go unpunished," she said.

The controversial Bill that hands down a 10 year penalty in jail to individuals that knowingly infect others with the deadly aids disease has faced a lot of criticism from the human rights defenders both local and international. They argue that the Bill violates human rights and threatens the progress the country has so far attained in fighting HIV/Aids as it legislates for mandatory testing for HIV and forced disclosure of HIV status.

Some of the human rights defenders against the Bill include Action Aid International,l Uganda Global AIDS Alliance,United States,the Global Forum on MSM & HIV United States,Global Coalition of Women against AIDS in Uganda,Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisation (UNASO) and Uganda Young Positives among others. Also in the Bill, Women who transmit HIV to their infants after birth through breast milk would also be subject to criminal prosecution. The activists concern is that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to determine who infected the other in courts of law hence making ignorance of one’s status an effective defence.

During yesterday’s meeting, the former HIV/Aids committee chairperson, Ms Beatrice Rwakimari officially handed over the committee to the incoming chairperson and urged her to steer through the committee proceedings to ensure that the Bill is passed into law. "The Bill was a private members initiative and I would like to urge the committee members to take it over so that we move forward.Mostof the controversial issues were harmonized and sustainability of the aids funding should be maintained for the law to become applicable," she said.

Kitgum County MP, Ms Beatrice Anywar said the law to criminalize the intentional spread of aids has been long overdue. "All we need now is to bring new members on board to make them understand the clauses so that we make the final amendments. Jackie Amongin (Ngora Women) however expressed some reservations about the Bill and said issues regarding aids are sensitive and should be handled with caution.

July 13, 2011 – Sebaspace

The cultural barrier to discussing sex and sexuality

A friend just brought a discussion on this subject in another forum to my attention. It was then that a light bulb went on in my head about why coming out in Uganda and Africa at large is such an awkward proposition. Consider this: there is no equivalent for the words "I love you grandson" in my local language, Luganda. So, there is no way my grandmother, God rest her soul, could have told me she loved me – ever. But I knew she loved me dearly through her actions. Whenever I arrived, she would struggle up, dance and twirl, ululate, admire me, chide me on having lost or gained weight, and call whoever was within earshot to come and see her Mwaami (husband). Beyond that, though, there was never any mention of the word love because we have no words in Luganda that a grandparent can use to tell a grandchild that they are loved dearly.

Indeed, in Uganda, it is also quite unusual for a man to tell his wife in any local language that he loves her. People talk vaguely about okuganza (to make a favorite) and okwagala (to like, to want): two words that are a compromise but do not, strictly speaking, really translate into "romantic love" in the Western sense. Traditionally, we talked about love and sex indirectly, and mostly using innuendo. That is why our traditional folk songs are couched in riddles when it comes to sex and children will miss the gist entirely – which is the point. I know of no traditional folk song in Uganda that directly addresses intimate subjects such as adolescence/puberty, hormone changes, menstruation, the erotic love/longing a man has for a woman or sexual intercourse. But we have beautiful odes to the dead, songs about birth, marriage, becoming a man, respect for elders etc.

When I was growing up, women used to talk about "okwekoona akagere" at a certain time of the month and it all went totally over my head. Literally translated that means "hitting one’s toe" but today I know that "okwekoona akagere" is euphemism for a woman’s period. Sexual intercourse is discussed all the time in agony aunt forums, even on radio. But what you will hear is "okunyumya akaboozi akekikulu" (having an adult conversation) or "okuwa omwaami akatunda" (giving the husband a dose of passion fruit juice). Ha, Ha, Ha.

Imagine then sitting your Ugandan parents down to tell them that you are gay. In Uganda, homosexual sex and/or anal sex seems to have only a derogatory description "okulya ebisiyaga" which, I gather, is a bastardized version of "okulya ebigasiya" (to eat garbage). Since the moment you mention that you are gay, the automatic assumption in every mind is you engage in anal sex, all gay men (though not women) are ‘eaters of garbage.’ Now, try telling your mother and father that "Hey mom and dad, I have something to tell you. I am a musiyazi" (I am an eater of garbage). Ayayayaya! It would be totally impossible to have such a conversation even if one of the parents didn’t pass out at the bombshell.

There is a half-way house that works. Because Ugandans are not given to talking about sex or sexuality, and may sometimes go as far as pretending that no sex is happening despite women getting pregnant and giving birth, the silence around matters sexual provides some sort of escape hatch for both sides. If you live as a gay man, whether openly or not, it is eventually apparent to whoever is interested that you only keep the company of men (or women) but prudery will prevent anyone from remarking on it, in your presence anyway. In that conspiracy of silence, it is thus quite possible, and many a gay man or woman has taken advantage of it, to live in a gay relationship while everyone around pretends that they haven’t noticed. There are increasingly many people in this category in Uganda and elsewhere.

Come to think of it, AfroGay is exactly in this category. All his close straight friends and relatives know that he is gay because the questions about when he would get married fizzled out about 10 years ago, except for my grandmother, who died blissfully unaware that her favorite grandson "batted on the other side." His friends in yonder lands broach the subject openly but no one in Uganda, I am sure, would dare sit AfroGay down to discuss his sexuality. That would be too forward, too embarrassing for even the most brazen shrew of a relative. So, AfroGay attends family functions and sometimes is even escorted by his male ‘friends’ but no one will dare confront him about it because what they know is too uncomfortable to discuss. And so the pretense is perpetuated, in public at least, and everyone in the family gets along swimmingly. There is something to be said for our (African) head-in-the-sand attitude towards sex and sexuality after all. Given the alternative – of sitting down with parents and discussing how I am an eater of rubbish – I think I will take the ostrich attitude for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

16 July 2011 – The Guardian

The rape of men

Sexual violence is one of the most horrific weapons of war, an instrument of terror used against women. Yet huge numbers of men are also victims. In this harrowing report, Will Storr travels to Uganda to meet traumatised survivors, and reveals how male rape is endemic in many of the world’s conflicts

by Will Storr
Of all the secrets of war, there is one that is so well kept that it exists mostly as a rumour. It is usually denied by the perpetrator and his victim. Governments, aid agencies and human rights defenders at the UN barely acknowledge its possibility. Yet every now and then someone gathers the courage to tell of it. This is just what happened on an ordinary afternoon in the office of a kind and careful counsellor in Kampala, Uganda. For four years Eunice Owiny had been employed by Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project (RLP) to help displaced people from all over Africa work through their traumas. This particular case, though, was a puzzle. A female client was having marital difficulties. "My husband can’t have sex," she complained. "He feels very bad about this. I’m sure there’s something he’s keeping from me."

Owiny invited the husband in. For a while they got nowhere. Then Owiny asked the wife to leave. The man then murmured cryptically: "It happened to me." Owiny frowned. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an old sanitary pad. "Mama Eunice," he said. "I am in pain. I have to use this." Laying the pus-covered pad on the desk in front of him, he gave up his secret. During his escape from the civil war in neighbouring Congo, he had been separated from his wife and taken by rebels. His captors raped him, three times a day, every day for three years. And he wasn’t the only one. He watched as man after man was taken and raped. The wounds of one were so grievous that he died in the cell in front of him.

"That was hard for me to take," Owiny tells me today. "There are certain things you just don’t believe can happen to a man, you get me? But I know now that sexual violence against men is a huge problem. Everybody has heard the women’s stories. But nobody has heard the men’s."

It’s not just in East Africa that these stories remain unheard. One of the few academics to have looked into the issue in any detail is Lara Stemple, of the University of California’s Health and Human Rights Law Project. Her study Male Rape and Human Rights notes incidents of male sexual violence as a weapon of wartime or political aggression in countries such as Chile, Greece, Croatia, Iran, Kuwait, the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. Twenty-one per cent of Sri Lankan males who were seen at a London torture treatment centre reported sexual abuse while in detention. In El Salvador, 76% of male political prisoners surveyed in the 1980s described at least one incidence of sexual torture. A study of 6,000 concentration-camp inmates in Sarajevo found that 80% of men reported having been raped.

Read complete article here

July 18, 2011 – The Daily Iowan

Ugandan minister speaks out on LGBT issues

by Chastity Dillard
The Rev. Mark Kiyimba was forced to leave his Ugandan home in March for his safety. The gay-rights activist, now in the United States, stood before a captivated church crowd Sunday morning to discuss Uganda’s gay rights issues. Though he’s not gay himself, Kiyimba has traveled from church to church across the United States for the last 12 weeks, hoping to raise awareness of a Ugandan anti-homosexuality legislation.
"[The bill] is ugly and inhuman," Kiyimba said during the service at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City, 10 S. Gilbert St.

Under the bill, homosexuality — which is already a criminal offense in Uganda — would be punishable by death for those considered serial offenders, suspected of "aggravated homosexuality" and are HIV-positive, or involved with sex acts with minors. Kiyimba is scheduled to speak again at 6:30 p.m. today in the Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room A. The event is free and open the the public. Under huge international scrutiny, the Ugandan Parliament adjourned in May without passing the bill. But University of Iowa religious-studies and history Professor Raymond Mentzer said the Ugandan reaction isn’t a surprise, given the prominence of Christianity in the area.

"It’s often the case that in the developing world or even in those places where there are new Christian roots, those Christians tend to be more conservative," he said. "It is important that they demonstrate the value of their position, and anything that might threaten that must be avoided." Even so, Kiyimba, like other activists, cited influences from American evangelists such as Lou Engle, who traveled to Uganda in 2010 and aggravated the homosexuality taboo, causing mass support for the bill. "The people of Uganda don’t need any more discrimination," Kiyimba said, noting that the tribal differences and colonialism had created enough. Now, [Uganda] is a society that is totally homophobic," he said. "People know you for four square miles. When you out a young man of 18 years, you have destroyed his life."

Kiyimba began as a "mainstream minister" before he left to create the first Unitarian Universalist Church in Kampala, Uganda, in 2004. "I became a hypocrite with myself," he said, and he realized he didn’t believe all that he preached. "I decided with my knowledge … I wanted to be a real person with myself." With the new church, he also created the New Life School for children who have lost parents to HIV or AIDS and an orphanage for children living with HIV.

The minister started the church because he came to the conclusion that there are many different sexualities. "All men or women, rich or poor, black or white, gay or lesbian should have a place in our church," Kiyimba said. For the time being, Kiyimba’s work will be outside of Uganda. "I had threats … because of the work I do. I chose to leave," he said, with family in mind. Kelly O’Berry, a Unitarian-Universalist member, said she had no idea the discrimination in Uganda was this bad. "I’m appalled that hate from our country is being exported to another," she said. "I’m impressed with his bravery to take a look at his own opinions and reconsider."

21 July 2011 – MSM Global Forum

The Human Rights Status of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual in East Africa 2009-2010

by Andiah Kisia and Milka Wahu
Introduction to LGBTI life In East Africa
On January 26th 2010, three weeks after the above judgement was made, David Kato, one of the complainants in the case and one of the people mentioned in the Rolling Stone tabloid as one of 100 homosexuals in Uganda, was assaulted and killed in his home in Mukono District, 27 kilometers outside Kampala.

Until very recently, the lives of LGBTI people in East Africa have been characterized by silence and invisibility. So little was known about the lives of sexual minorities in the region that it was easy for the larger society to imagine that they did not exist at all. So it was that in 1999, during an acceptance speech at a ceremony recognising the Uganda government’s efforts to combat HIV, President Yoweri Museveni could say that male to male transmission of HIV in Uganda was not a problem because “we do not have homosexuals in Uganda.” Within a week of President Museveni’s comments, Kenya’s then President Daniel arap Moi weighed in on the issue, describing homosexuality as unchristian and un-African and vowing not to “shy away from warning Kenyans against the dangers of the scourge.”

For years, public discourse on sexual minorities has been largely confined to vague references to the “problem” of homosexuality in schools and prisons. This, coupled with a lack of representation in any media of individuals self-identifying as gay, lesbian or transgender means that the dialogue has been driven by long held and unquestioned assumptions of the newness and un-Africanness of homosexuality and other sexual and gender minority identifications and practices.

Only within the last decade have sexual and gender minorities in Africa as a whole and East Africa in particular began to speak up against the misplaced notions of who and what they are and by so doing, to stimulate debate within their societies, not always informed or productive, but always spirited, about the nature and rights of same-sex practicing citizens. Unsurprisingly, the increased visibility of LGBTI individuals and groups has resulted in a strong backlash by a conservative society…

View complete report here

21 July, 2011 – MSM Global Forum

Uganda’s Constitutional Court Hears Case on Equal Opportunities for All

On Monday Uganda’s Constitutional Court opened hearings on a petition, Jjuuko Adrian v. Attorney General of Uganda, Constitutional petition No.1 of 2009, asking to nullify Section 15(6) d of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007. Section 15(6) d can be used to discriminate against LGBTI persons. Adrian Jjuuko, the plaintiff in this case, is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF). HRAPF’s mission is to "use the law to promote Human Rights awareness and enforcement" and Jjuuko’s petition challenging the constitutionality of Section 15(6) d of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act of 2007 does just that.

The Equal Opportunities Commission was established by Ugandan law to…
give effect to the State’s constitutional mandate to eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons on the ground of sex, age, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability, and take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalised on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them; and to provide for other related matters.
The challenged Section 15(6) d reads:

(6) The Commission shall not investigate—
(d) any matter involving behaviour which is considered to be—
(i) immoral and socially harmful, or
(ii) unacceptable,
by the majority of the cultural and social communities in Uganda.
According to a Behind the Mask report, during the Parliamentary debate about the Equal Opportunities Commission Act of 2007, the Finance Minister specifically said that LGBTI persons should be targeted with this clause.

Homosexuals are not mentioned by name as one of the groups in the act, however during the debate to pass the law, the Parliamentary Hansard of December 12, 2006, records Ms Syda Bbumba, the former Finance Minister saying homosexuals should be targeted using the disputed clause. She was supported by other legislators. Hansard is a substantially verbatim report of parliamentary proceedings.

“It is very important that we include that clause. This is because the homosexuals and the like have managed to forge their way through in other countries by identifying with minorities,” reads the Hansard entry for the debate, quoting Ms Bbumba. Minorities are not defined in the Constitution of Uganda. However, vulnerable groups have been defined in the National Equal Opportunities Policy of 2006 as categories of people who lack security and susceptible to risk. Mr Jjuko said yesterday that that such a law was not good for human rights in Uganda, and called on all activists to stand and defend the rights of minority groups in Uganda.

Full text of article available here

July 22, 2011 – African Activist

Uganda’s HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill Reintroduced, UHSPA-Uganda Appointment Critical

The Uganda Government recently appointed the Uganda Health and Science Press Association (UHSPA-Uganda) as a key stakeholder on the Health, Human Rights and Gender Rights committee overseen by the Ministry of Health in Kampala. UHSPA-Uganda is a registered LGBTI network of groups and individuals that works to promote health rights of vulnerable and minority groups. The reintroduction of HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill in Parliament last week highlights the importance of this appointment.

The UHSPA-Uganda blog describes their appointment to the Health, Human Rights and Gender Rights committee. In a rare change of heart, the government of Uganda has appointed Uhspa-Uganda to a high profile committee on streamling Health,Human Rights and Gender Rights within Uganda’s Public Health Policies and Laws. The committee sitting at Ministry of Health Headquarters brings together a cross section of government institutions and activists. Given the calibre of the memorandum issued by UHSPA-Uganda about the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill under consideration in the last session of Parliament, it is not surprising that they were appointed as a key stakeholder to this government committee. Both the World Health Organisation and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have also called for for measures to be put in place to address human rights, legal barriers and homophobia in HIV response.

Ms Hasifa Nakiganda, UHSPA-Uganda Lobby and Advocacy Officer, welcomed the appointment. “By virtue of Uganda signing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), it (Uganda) also agreed to state parties obligations to avail health access to all Ugandans without discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Ms Nakiganda said. She said the government had made the right decision, because for some years, Uganda had been stuck at a 6.4percent national HIV prevalence because homosexuals were deliberately kept off the health access radar, thus fuelling a wave of new HIV infections.

“Keeping homosexuals as a reservoir for HIV infection is not only malicious, but criminal on part of the state. So this engagement will help in addressing challenges to HIV and health information, care, treatment and support for LGBTI persons.” Ms Nakiganda said. She said the relatively high HIV prevalence rates in the LGBTI community was not necessarily because they engage in high risk sex behaviour, but rather, because the Uganda government had denied them information on HIV prevention through punitive laws on the penal code. The reintroduction of HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill in Parliament last week highlights the importance of UHSPA-Uganda’s appointment. According to the Daily Monitor, the new bill continues to mandate HIV testing and criminalise the intentional spread of HIV, provisions challenged by the UHSPA-Uganda memorandum during the last session of Parliament.

Briefing the new members on the Parliamentary HIV/Aids committee about their expectations, work plan and how far the eighth Parliament had gone with scrutinising the controversial Bill, the new committee chairperson, Ms Rosemary Najjemba Muyinda (NRM, Gomba) said most of the controversial clauses in the Bill were dropped. “The Bill is now in its advanced stages since it was discussed by our colleagues in the eighth Parliament. So many stakeholders have been consulted and all the contentious issues were dropped. The Bill once passed into law will protect those without HIV from being infected. We have to take the Bill forward,” Ms Najjemba said. She said the principles in the Bill were agreeable to the committee members since they are aimed at combating the intentional spread of HIV/Aids.

“For example why should someone infect the other with aids intentionally? That is a crime that should not go unpunished,” she said. The controversial Bill that hands down a 10 year penalty in jail to individuals that knowingly infect others with the deadly aids disease has faced a lot of criticism from the human rights defenders both local and international. They argue that the Bill violates human rights and threatens the progress the country has so far attained in fighting HIV/Aids as it legislates for mandatory testing for HIV and forced disclosure of HIV status.

Some of the human rights defenders against the Bill include Action Aid International,l Uganda Global AIDS Alliance,United States,the Global Forum on MSM & HIV United States,Global Coalition of Women against AIDS in Uganda,Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisation (UNASO) and Uganda Young Positives among others. During yesterday’s meeting, the former HIV/Aids committee chairperson, Ms Beatrice Rwakimari officially handed over the committee to the incoming chairperson and urged her to steer through the committee proceedings to ensure that the Bill is passed into law.

July 22nd, 2011 – Behind The Mask

Surprise As Uganda Appoints LGBTI Lobby Group To Government Ccmmittee

In a surprising, unprecedented action, the Uganda government has appointed LGBTI lobby group, Uhspa Uganda, to a committee to mainstream homosexual’s rights in Uganda’s Public Health Policies. The Uganda Health and Science Press Association is a registered LGBTI network of groups. The Health, Human Rights and Gender Committee is overseen by the Ministry of Health in Kampala. It brings together high profile activists, policy makers and donors to develop a Human Rights-based approach to health programming in Uganda. A letter signed by Uganda’s Director General for Health Services, Mr Nathan Kenya-Mugisha, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, described Uhspa Uganda as a “key stakeholder” in mainstreaming minorities rights in health programming in Uganda.

Ms Hasifa Nakiganda, the Uhspa Uganda Lobby and Advocacy officer welcomed the appointment and said it was the right thing for the government to do. “By virtue of Uganda signing the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), it (Uganda) also agreed to state parties obligations to avail health access to all Ugandans without discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Ms Nakiganda said. She said the government had made the right decision, because for some years, Uganda had been stuck at a 6.4percent national HIV prevalence because homosexuals were deliberately kept off the health access radar, thus fuelling a wave of new HIV infections.

“Keeping homosexuals as a reservoir for HIV infection is not only malicious, but criminal on part of the state. So this engagement will help in addressing challenges to HIV and health information, care, treatment and support for LGBTI persons.” Ms Nakiganda said. She said the relatively high HIV prevalence rates in the LGBTI community was not necessarily because they engage in high risk sex behaviour, but rather, because the Uganda government had denied them information on HIV prevention through punitive laws on the penal code.

There is only one national policy that recognizes sexual orientation and homosexuals as a target group for HIV and health interventions in Uganda, this is the National Policy Guidelines and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. However, high levels of homophobia among health planners have hampered the roll out of this policy across public health infrastructure for LGBTI persons to have access to health without discrimination. There are attempts by the Ministry of Health to support health delivery to LGBTI persons through the Most At Risk Populations network clinic at the national referral Hospital in Kampala. However, the clinic is poorly funded, and since the introduction of the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 in Ugandan Parliament, clients visiting the clinic have dropped for fear of being arrested.

According to Dr Thomas Muyunga, an activist and a medical doctor, some of the clinic’s clients, think the clauses of the Bahati Bill have already become law, even though the bill expired with the Eighth Parliament of Uganda earlier this year. Human Rights group, AGHA Uganda recently conducted a study on access to health for Ugandan homosexuals and found that the poor planning by government on homosexual health was a challenge in addressing HIV/Aids. The report also noted that health service providers were too homophobic, and unaware of the needs homosexuals in a health setup; calling for a review of the curricular in medical schools to address sexual orientation and the application of the do- no- harm guidelines.

Mr Ally Walimbwa, the Ministry’s Human Rights Focal Officer said all constituencies in Uganda should be reached out in health programming. The committee sitting at Ministry of Health headquarters, brings together a cross section of government institutions and activists. At a meeting to develop a training manual on mainstreaming human rights on July 21 at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, Mr Kabumba Busingye, a senior lecturer on law and adviser to Uhspa Uganda said the move by government was welcome. He said the existing legislation criminalised the sex act, but not the people who identify themselves as gay, and hence keeping them from access to health was wrong.

July 25th, 2011 – Behind The Mask

Uganda Now To Include Homosexuals In HIV Programes

In an incredible change of heart, the Uganda government has listed homosexuals as a target for HIV/Aids programming in a new five year National HIV Prevention Strategy for Uganda 2011-2015. The policy document which Behind the Mask has seen will run under the theme: “Expanding and Doing HIV Prevention better.” The policy development process is spearheaded by the Uganda Aids Commission (UAC), with consultations of various stakeholders including Civil Society.

Until recently, the UAC had publicly stated that they had no funds for targeting homosexuals in HIV programming. “Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because of meagre resources we cannot direct our programmes at them at this time,” Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, (pictured) the Director General of UAC was quoted saying in 2008. However, some have suggested that the UAC was being influenced by Christian born again movements who were lobbying Uganda’s First Lady, Janet Museveni, a born again Christian herself, not to recognize gays in any policy document. The UAC was established by an act of Parliament, and is directly under President’s Office.

The National HIV Prevention Strategy sets forth opportunities and guidance for intensified efforts to significantly stem new HIV infections. Its vision builds on that of the National HIV/Aids Strategic Plan(NSP), of a Uganda where new HIV infections are rare, and where everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status has uninterrupted access to high quality and effective HIV prevention. “The overall goal of the strategy is to reduce new HIV infections by 30percent based on the baseline of 2009 which would result in 40percent reduction of the projected number of new HIV infections in 2015,” the policy text reads in part.

Ms Hasifa Nakiganda, an LGBTI lobbyist with Uhspa Uganda welcomed the contents of the draft policy. She said Uganda’s burying its head in the sand over homosexuals was setting a bad example, because Uganda was a reference country when it came to the best management of HIV/Aids. “So by denying homosexuals universal access to HIV programming, Uganda is sending a bad signal to other countries struggling with the HIV pandemic,” Ms Hasifa said. Uhspa Uganda petitioned the Ugandan Parliament pleading for homosexuals Right to Health and HIV programming inclusion. Uganda has only one policy that recognizes homosexuals as a target for health service delivery- the National Policy Guidelines and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. But homophobia prevents gays from accessing public health services.

The new NPS policy aligns with the National Development Plan for Uganda and the, the Second National Health Policy, and the Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan (HSSIP) (2010-2015). It will contribute to attainment of Universal Access, as per the UNGASS- United Nations General Special Session Country Progress Declaration of Commitment on HIV/Aids and MDG (Millennium Development Goals) 5, 6, and 7 targets; calling for increased focus, coordination and collaboration to comprehensively scale-up HIV prevention efforts and align them to the drivers of the epidemic. Ms Nakiganda said the policy recognition will help in distributing resources to gay HIV programmes.

Read more

2011 July 26 – Pambazuka News

Bringing LGBTI issues into the forced migration debate

by Jeff Ogwaro
The International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) international conference – which took place in Kampala, Uganda, over the period 3–6 July 2011 on the theme of ‘Governing migration’ – hosted two roundtable discussions on issues of forced migration and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) factor. Hassan Shire, executive director of East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders’ Project (EHAHRDP) and the chair of EHAHRDP-Net, the network body hosted by the same organisation, outlined some of the factors leading to persons seeking to migrate to other countries such as laws that criminalise homosexuality – as is the case in Uganda – and the resultant prosecution, police harassment and public ridicule of LGBTI persons. Not long ago, a bill outlawing the act of homosexuality as well as ‘promoting’ homosexuality, which puts the work of many organisations and individuals that work with LGBTIs at risk, was proposed. LGBTI persons in Uganda have faced a lot of trouble because of their sexuality. They have been arrested, sacked from jobs, thrown out of houses by landlords, ostracised by their families, friends and immediate community, threatened with violence and undergone tremendous psychological stress. As a result organisations such as EHAHRDP have had to help with relocating particularly homosexual LGBTI human rights defenders, either within the country or abroad for safety and psychological respite.

Adrian Jjuuko, the coordinator of the Uganda Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights Constitutional Law, a body that was formed to counter the proponents of the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda, explained the legacy of the anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda as being from the so-called common law that was from the colonial era and also elaborated on other proposed laws that are meant to discriminate against LGBTI persons. A case he gave is the Equal Opportunities Bill, which excludes sexual minorities from accessing the Equal Opportunities Commission as a mechanism when discriminated against, say, in social services provision. According to Jjuuko, the implications of criminalising homosexuality include criminalising just the identity, relegating LGBTIs to second-class citizenship, police harassment, possibilities of blackmail and being accused of recruiting children. The options that remain for LGBTI persons when faced with the prospects of being prosecuted are to get out of the country, stay in the country and get harassed, arrested or prosecuted, and become internally displaced – which usually means relocation to a part of the country where one is not known and staying discrete while there. The question ‘Do LGBTIs fall in the definition for forced migration?’ is pertinent. Is it an accepted reason for migration? These questions have been asked amidst a backdrop of deportation of LGBTI asylum seekers from countries such as the UK.

Some of the other issues discussed and which are related to LGBTI asylum included asylum-seeking processes for LGBTI asylum seekers that are very controversial, such as having to prove one is LGBTI by association and by relationships they have or have had. Some LGBTI fear to state that as a reason for their seeking asylum and instead give other reasons. Bisexual asylum seekers even find it more challenging because their sexuality is then called to question. Generally the mix between xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia make it difficult for LGBTI forced migrants to seek help or even to be helped with resettlement.

Liesl Theron, the executive director of Gender Dynamix, a South African transgender organisation, expressed concern that in some of the countries, all-inclusive laws were drafted but the process was top-heavy with little or no consultations with the grassroots populace. This has more often than not led to backlash on the LGBTI community in those countries. ‘There was no community consultation on the South African Constitution about non-discrimination of LGBTIs,’ she said – a case of a good law on paper. That is why there is a backlash on the community – corrective rape of lesbians and transgender men, and violence and killings.

July 27th, 2011 – Behind The Mask

Former Ex-Gay Ugandan Man Now Regrets Past Homophobic Comments

A man who in 2009 renounced homosexuality at a public forum in Kampala has now told Behind the Mask that he regrets his previous actions and would like to be forgiven by the LGBTI community. Saying that he felt “there is a fire in the belly saying gay is really who you are,” Mr George Oundo, known amongst Uganda’s LGBTI community as “Ms Georgina,” said that although he had renounced homosexuality on national media, at an opportune time he would ask the Kuchu community (Ugandan slang for LGBTI) to take him back. Speaking on Wednesday July 27, 2011 to Behind the Mask outside the magistrate’s court in Kampala where three Christian evangelist preachers have been charged with making homophobic smears against a rival preacher, the now former ex-gay Oundo said he once again believed, “being gay is natural and inborn.”

The accused preachers, their lawyers, Henry Ddungu and David Kaggwa, together with David Mukalazi and Deborah Kyomuhendo (agents of the accused) face charges of conspiring to injure Pastor Robert Kayanja’s reputation by claiming that Kayanja sodomised boys in his church. The two lawyers are charged with allegedly commissioning false affidavits. In March 2009 Oundo spoke at a Christian seminar and said he previously supported homophobic preacher Martin Sempa and legislator Mr David Bahati in their claims that homosexuals recruit children in schools and deserve the death penalty. Speaking on Wednesday however, the now former ex-gay man said that he regrets the comments.

Looking sad, Mr Oundo, who once helped to establish an LGBTI human rights advocacy group in Kampala, said that although the preachers had given him some money and built him a house in Muyenga-Bukasa, a posh suburb of Kampala, he still had gay feelings. “I have never even become born again. I just do not want to be born again.” He said the born again Christian anti-gay preachers had dumped him. “Can you imagine I have not been to any of their churches in the last one year?” he said. Asked whether an interview with Behind the Mask would not cause him to be seen in a bad light by the born again community, Mr Oundo said he did not care what they believed.

However, when asked why he had come to court and was showing solidarity with Sempa and the other accused preachers, Mr Oundo said he had to be there as he had promised the three that he would see them through the trial. Asked whether he does not feel he betrayed the Ugandan LGBTI community by making false allegations that almost saw the anti homosexuality bill 2009 passed into law, Mr Oundo said he “would understand and respect” people calling him a traitor. Mr Oundo claimed back in March 2009 that donors gave him and fellow homosexuals “much money” and training abroad and that he would target mostly the needy children who had problems of tuition and pocket money and “others who like outings.”

During that occasion Oundo warned parents to know their children’s friends. Homosexuals, he added, were targeting mostly children “because they are easy to initiate and they like easy things.” Oundo claimed then, that he got seriously involved in “promoting homosexuality” in 2003. “I was taken to Nairobi for training,” he said. “I used to supply pornographic materials in form of books and compact discs showing homosexuality to young boys in many schools.” The training, he said, was facilitated by the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya. “I also got the pupils’ telephone contacts. We used to meet with both girls and boys in schools during ceremonial parties,” he had claimed.

He claimed in 2009 that he only stopped his activities after becoming a born again Christian. On that occasion he was speaking to about 50 parents who had been attending a seminar at a Kampala hotel. The seminar had been organised by the Family Life Network, a local charity which promotes family values.

1 August 2011 – PinkNews

Ugandan gay rights group has computers, member list stolen

by Jessica Geen
A Ugandan gay rights group is urging police to fully investigate a burglary at its offices. Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), which has offices in Kampala, was broken into on Saturday night. Group leader Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera said that five computers were stolen – including documents containing lists of members. Two printers, a server and a microwave were also taken. No one was in the office at the time. Ms Nabagesera wrote: “A jerrican of acid, one computer, all paddlocks filled with acid and a huge metallic pipe were left in the compound. The office lines were also taken and thus we shall only be able to be contacted on our personal phones and the office mobile hotline.”

She added: “The mood is very low, trauma and worries are filled with members [sic]. We also thank those that have helped thus far, sending words of encouragement and also those that have visited us since Saturday.” The group is asking supporters to pressure police to investigate before evidence is destroyed and says that as yet, no officers have been to see the crime scene. FARUG is launching a campaign against hate crime this week. Ms Nabagesera said the initiative would go ahead.

Uganda has strict laws against homosexuality and gays and lesbians often face harassment and persecution.

10th August 2011 – Freedom and Roam Uganda

Hate No More Campaign 2011

Press Statement For Immediate Release
Over the years, we have been harassed, cajoled, insulted, discriminated against and referred to as beasts called inhuman, insane, sick, immoral and not upright thinking members of society.
We have been dismissed from schools, homes, jobs, churches, and other places. We are taunted on streets, at home, in churches and all social places because of our sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In recent years there have been arrests of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender [LGBT) people. We live in constant fear and have to hide behind masks to protect our identities. Those that are outside the masks have to face injustices that society points at them.

The Penal Code is interpreted as criminalizing homosexuality and homosexual individuals. Although it does not mention sex between women, lesbians face it as rough as gay men trying to exist freely along side heterosexuals. The Anti Homosexuality Bill in 2009 has made it hard for LGBT people to live happily in Uganda. Reported cases of deaths and rape due to media witch hunt, wide spread homophobia through religious leaders and abuse of those in power to marginalize sexual minorities. Homosexuals have for long been suppressed. We are economically and socially underpowered. There are increased deaths among the LGBTI people from suicide, resulting from stigmatization and from HIV/AIDS and the like, It would lead you further into trouble if for instance you suffered from an STD and presented your partner as someone of your sex.

All around us are homophobic comments, actions and reports. This homophobia is given voice by the press, institutionalized by the Penal Code and given strength by politicians and religious leaders. Early this year we lost a comrade, murdered in cold blood. David Kato stood out of the darkness to demand fair treatment and equality for fellow Homosexuals and Transgenders, the price he paid to fight for a safe place in Uganda was losing his life. Months after suffering the loss of David, the LGBT community suffered the loss of Samuel Odhiambo who committed suicide because he couldn’t take the misery any more. These are just a few of the cases of injustices that the LGBT community has got to deal with.

• We are not asking for extra rights, we are not asking for any kind of special treatment, but we are demanding for the rights enjoyed by the rest of the citizens of Uganda.

• We are demanding that our existence is respected, and not subject us to degrading inhuman treatment.

• We are demanding that unfair laws be repealed

• We are demanding that those that spread homophobia be held accountable

• We are demanding that you stop expelling us from schools, disowning us from our families

• We are demanding that you include us in the National HIV/AIDS programs and other empowering programs.

• We demand because our rights are inherent and are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

We are part of this society we are your children, doctors, employees, parents to mention a few this is our country, we are Ugandans and Uganda belongs to all of us. Join us in this fight to end Hatred towards Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and transgender people in Uganda. We are part of the development of this country. Discriminating us will not yield positive developments. This Campaign is to influence positive legislation through dialogue with policy makers, diplomatic missions, health service providers and the general community through the media. We are counting on an educated and enlightened media, working to inform the public not with myths and false stories, but with truths, to take this message of NO MORE HATE to the people of this country.

Today as Freedom and Roam Uganda, the entire Human Rights and LGBT community launch the Hate No More Campaign, we want to also remind you that we are not here to recruit anyone into becoming a homosexual, we Don’t Recruit, we have Never Recruited and we Shall never Recruit. We only want to remind you that Discrimination Retards Development. We would also like to thank the Global Fund for Women, The Thiel Foundation and the Human Rights Foundation for supporting us in this campaign to end Hatred against LGBT people in Uganda. We are therefore calling on all Ugandans to join us in this campaign to create a safe space for fellow brothers and sisters of the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender community

For God and My Country.

August 18, 2011 – African Activist

Kasha Jacqueline on the Ground Breaking Struggle for LGBTI Human Rights

Kasha Jacqueline gave a moving speech last Sunday at Amnesty International’s International Council Meeting (ICM) in the Netherlands. The ICM brings activists together from around the world to debate the most pressing human rights issues of our time and to decide on the future direction of the movement. "We are very aware that some of us may never live to see the freedoms and liberties we are fighting for today. But we are just honoured that we are part of this ground breaking struggle to make a better place for the future generations."

Full Transcript:

August 22, 2011 – On Top Magazine

Uganda Cabinet Drops MP David Bahati’s Anti-Gay Bill

by On Top Magazine Staff
The administration of Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has rejected MP David Bahati‘s anti-gay bill, Uganda’s Daily Monitor reported on Monday.
Bahati’s controversial bill would increase the penalties for being gay in a nation where it is already a crime. The measure, first introduced in 2009, proposed putting repeat offenders to death under certain circumstances. It also would have criminalized discussion of homosexuality and penalized a person who knowingly rents to a gay or lesbian person.

Lawmakers closed their legislative session in May without voting on the measure, but a defiant Bahati insisted he would re-introduce his bill in February. According to the Daily Monitor, on the advice of Adolf Mwesige, the ruling party lawyer, Uganda’s Cabinet decided to drop the measure during a meeting on Wednesday.

“We agreed that government should search the law archives and get some of the laws, enforce them rather than having another new piece of legislation,” an unnamed source was quoted as saying. “He [Mwesige] said the bill is overtaken by events and that donors and other sections of the public were not comfortable.” Bahati told the paper that the administration should stop “playing hide-and-seek games,” and reiterated previous claims that children remain at risk. “The future of this country’s children will be determined by the people’s representatives in Parliament,” Bahati said.