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
September 1, 2011 – MSM Global Forum
The Lessons of Uganda (Missing the Disaster in Malawi)
by Anne-Christine D’Adesky
The month of December in Africa is typically quiet. Government employees often request early leave enough time to travel long roads to visit relatives in rural areas. Everyone knows that if you have a cause, no matter how important, it’s a poor time to get people’s attention. That’s one reason why, as gay eyes around the world focused on the unfolding drama over Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” legislation, someone quietly handed a bill to Malawi’s president outlawing lesbianism in a country nicknamed “the warm heart of Africa.”
By the time U.S. and other global activists found out, early in 2011, it was late in the game to do much. “We didn’t know about this until late, late, late last year—late 2010—the same week that it came up for a vote in Parliament,” said Julie Dorf, senior adviser at the watchdog Council for Global Equality. “It had been sitting in committee in Parliament for a year and a half, and no one in the gay movement knew about it!
Read full article: The Lessons of Uganda
September 15, 2011 – RFK Center
Ugandan LGBTI Rights Activist Frank Mugisha To Receive 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award
Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy and Senator John Kerry to present the award in Washington, D.C., on November 10, 2011. Frank Mugisha, a prominent young advocate for the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda, has been chosen to receive the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Mr. Mugisha is the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a leading organization of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) movement in the East African country.
In Uganda, LGBTI organizations operate in a dangerously hostile climate, and Mr. Mugisha is one of the few openly gay LGBTI activists. As a spokesperson for the movement, he amplifies the voice of one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. “Frank Mugisha’s unbending advocacy for gay rights in Uganda in the face of deep-rooted homophobia is a testament to the indomitability of the human spirit,” said RFK Human Rights Award Judge Dean Makau Mutua, Professor of Law and Dean of the University at Buffalo Law School (SUNY).
Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Uganda, and the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill would make homosexual activities punishable by life in prison, and, in certain cases, by death. Currently, 80 percent of Ugandans support the bill. Mr. Mugisha courageously pursues his work at great personal risk, and has received numerous death threats. In January 2011, Mr. Mugisha’s colleague David Kato, a former advocacy and litigation officer for SMUG, was murdered. It is believed that Kato was targeted for his role in the Ugandan LGBTI movement.
“Frank Mugisha has fought courageously in support of the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda, despite death threats and even exile,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. “He has become a leading advocate for sexual minorities in a country where they are persecuted, jailed, and their lives destroyed. We are proud at the RFK Center to begin our partnership with Mr. Mugisha to advance his invaluable work within this movement.”
Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy and Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will present Mr. Mugisha with the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in Washington, D.C., in a ceremony on November 10th at the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building. Mr. Mugisha joins 42 RFK Human Rights Award Laureates from 25 countries as the recipient of the 28th annual prize, initiating a multi-year partnership with the RFK Center.
“For me, it is about standing out and speaking in an environment where you are not sure if you will survive the next day; it is this fear that makes me strong, to work hard and fight on to see a better life for LGBTI persons in Uganda,” said Mr. Mugisha. “The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award gives me courage and hope that my work, which may not be accepted and recognized in my own country, is making a change with this international visibility.”…
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September 29 2011 – Daily Nation
Ugandan sexual rights activists get Norwegian prize
An organisation aimed at protecting sexual minorities in Uganda, where homosexuality is considered a serious crime, on Thursday won Norway’s Rafto Prize for human rights work. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), headed by Frank Mugisha, won the award for "its work to make fundamental human rights apply to everyone, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," the Rafto Foundation said in its citation. Uganda, where homosexuality is punishable with life imprisonment, saw the introduction of a bill in October 2009 that would make homosexual rape of a minor or the transmission of AIDS during homosexual relations subject to the death penalty.
Parliament hotly debated the law proposal, decried by the international community, before shelving it last May, although there is still room for it to be reintroduced. SMUG, an umbrella organisation of groups working to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals, "has played an important role in opposing the proposed ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’," the Rafto jury said. The coalition "has successfully used the legal system to fight harassment and violence from government and private actors," it added.
By giving the 2011 prize to SMUG, the Rafto Foundation said it hoped "the award will help afford them greater protection and inspiration to continue working in what is a vulnerable and difficult situation." The annual Rafto award was created in 1986 in memory of Norwegian economic history professor Thorolf Rafto, a longtime human rights activist. The prize of a diploma and $10,000, which is often awarded to relatively unknown human rights defenders, will be presented on November 6 in the western Norwegian town of Bergen.
Four past Rafto Prize laureates (Aung San Suu Kyi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Kim Dae-Jung and Shirin Ebadi) went on to win to Nobel Peace Prize, whose laureate for 2011 will be announced on October 7.
October 5th, 2011 – Behind The Mask
Uganda’s First Openly Gay Bar Closes After Only One Year
Uganda’s first openly gay bar, Sappho Islands closed down last Sunday after just over a year in operation. Jacqueline Kasha the Ugandan LGBTI activist who was instrumental in setting up Sappho Islands told behind the Mask in Kampala that she is determined to open another one soon. The bar was reportedly closed down because the landlady complained about the appearance of revellers who frequented the venue. The seemingly spooked landlady was quoted as saying, “The bar brings people who look strange.” The closure of the bar continues to highlight Uganda’s homophobic tendencies. Many people are denied rental accommodation because of their suspected or actual sexual orientation.
Kasha, the leader of human rights group Freedom and Roam Uganda, said on Wednesday in Kampala that the closure of Sappho Island arising from complaints by the landlady would not stop gays from having a social life in Uganda and promised a new bar would be opened. Kasha said “The closure of Sappho doesn’t mean it’s the end of us having a social space. The way I managed to open Sappho in the first place is the way I will open it up elsewhere.”
She said she was not giving up on her dream of creating a social space for the LGBTI community. A defiant Kasha said, “More than ever I am very determined. The next one will be bigger and even better. It’s one way of intimidating us but we shall overcome.” Sappho Island was situated in Ntinda, a middle class Kampala neighbourhood. When BTM visited the place on Wednesday afternoon, there were sign posts advertising for new tenants to come and occupy the premises.
Once a lively and cordial welcoming hide out with immense ambience, Sappho now rests in ruins. The grass thatched hut has been pulled down to make way for new tenants. The entrance gate is closed. But the Sappho Island rainbow coloured signpost continued to mark the entrance. Until last Sunday the bar was one of the best known hang out spots for Uganda’s gay community and provided a focal point for the community. It was here for example murdered LGBTI activist David Kato’s funeral party set out from. According to a BBC report filed last year it was “where gay people feel safe, where they can be themselves.”
The closure of Sappho Island also highlights the fear among some Ugandans created by the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 in which every person is meant to report a suspected gay person within 24 hours. Although the bill has stalled in Uganda’s Parliament, many Ugandans who are not keenly following the development of the bill, think the proposed bill is already law and enhances their earlier homophobic tendencies
October 5th, 2011 – Behind The Mask
Uganda’s LGBTI Finally Get Their Day In Court With Equal Opportunities Commission
Uganda’s Constitutional Court on Monday October 3 heard a petition filed by local LGBTI activists challenging a law that bars homosexuals from employment and accessing equal opportunities. Activist Adrian Jjuko, who is also the Executive Director of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), petitioned the court two years ago asking it to nullify section 15(6) d of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007. The section states that the “Commission shall not investigate any matter involving behaviour which is considered to be immoral and socially harmful; or unacceptable by the majority of the cultural and social communities in Uganda.”
While homosexuals are not mentioned by name as one of the groups in the Act, 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. Ms Bbumba was reported saying, “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,”
It is this clause that gay rights activists are disputing in the case. They say that amongst other things, the Commission is tasked with ensuring that all Ugandans have access to equal opportunities, irrespective of tribe, religion, political opinion, race or any other such considerations. The petition was heard by five judges of the Constitutional Court led by deputy chief justice Alice Mpagi Bahigeine. The other judges are Steven Kavuma, Arach Amoko, Remmy Kasule and Constance Byamugisha. In the respondent’s submission, the Attorney General maintained that such a law was necessary and justified under Ugandan constitution. Ladislus Rwakafuzi, a Kampala gay friendly lawyer is representing Mr Jjuko.
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 maintains 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. Rwakafuzi said his client wants the section of the law declared unconstitutional. A date for the ruling will be set by the court.
Uganda’s judiciary has in the past shown some level of independence when handling matters brought by groups advocating for homosexuals. One of the judges handling this petition also faulted government in another case in which local village officials and the police intruded the privacy of LGBTI activist, Victor Mukasa and searched his home allegedly to find evidence of homosexuality.
14 October 2011 – PinkNews
‘Inspirational’ Ugandan lesbian campaigner wins human rights award
by Jessica Geen
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, the Ugandan gay rights campaigner, has been honoured with a prestigious human rights award. The activist, who has risked death to speak up for other LGBT people, received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in Geneva on Wednesday. The winner of the annual award is decided by ten human rights groups. Ms Nabagesera is the founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda and award organisers commended her “rare courage” in a country which punishes homosexuality severely. She has appeared on national television and radio to call for LGBT rights and an end to homophobia, despite being physically attacked and forced to move house regularly to escape harassment and death threats.
Last year, her name and photo were published by the notorious Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone, which campaigned for gay people to be hanged. Amnesty International is one of the award’s ten judging organisations and Michelle Kagari, Amnesty’s deputy Africa Programme director, said: “This award recognises Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera’s tremendous courage in the face of discrimination and violence against LGBT people in Uganda. Her passion to promote equality and her tireless work to end a despicable climate of fear is an inspiration to LGBT activists the world over who face threats, violence and imprisonment on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
October 29, 2011 – Salon
Gay Africans flee persecution – As Uganda revives anti-gay legislation, gays seek haven in other countries
by Naomi Abraham
I first met Fred at a prayer service for gay men in an industrial part of Nairobi where even on a Sunday morning, the noise was deafening. The service was part biblical study and part support group. The other men who were worshipping with Fred in the dingy and cavernous room that day were Kenyans, but he was not.
Fred, a lanky Ugandan, became a refugee in December 2009 after he was brutally assaulted by a mob in Kampala for being gay. Fred, who asked that his last name not be used, bought a one-way ticket to Nairobi days after the assault with the intention of never returning. “It’s OK to kill me,” he said. “People would be happy to see me dead, even some of my family.” I asked what he meant by OK, and he explained that no one would ever have to pay a price for his murder.
Within the last decade, rancorous anti-gay rhetoric has infiltrated public discourse in many African countries. Just last week, the Ugandan parliament revived a proposal to legalize capital punishment for people who engage in homosexual acts. This is new for Africa. In the past, homosexuality was rarely brought up privately let alone in the public sphere. The new acrimonious tone against homosexuality espoused by politicians and religious leaders has percolated across all strata of African society including the media. It has also given rise to increasing homophobic and transphobic violence, which for a growing number of gay Africans has meant that life in their own countries has become untenable.
Fred’s journey from Uganda to Kenya followed the same logic as that of other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) African refugees I spoke to. They move to urban centers in neighboring countries not necessarily because these places are any less hostile to homosexuals but for the anonymity that comes with being a newcomer in a densely populated area.
Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, went on record last May saying that anti-gay hate crimes are increasing around the world and now account for a high percentage of all reported hate crimes. Homophobia is not necessarily a new attitude for most African societies. Being gay is a crime in 38 of the 54 countries in Africa. Many of these laws have been on the books since colonial times. But it’s a stretch to think, as some have claimed, that homophobia is simply a vestige of colonial times.
Read complete article here
October 31, 2011 – Global Cocktails
Lonely Planet Chooses Uganda as Number One Country Despite "Kill the Gays Bill"
The nearly 40-year-old publisher of guidebooks, Lonely Planet, has released their list of best destinations in the world and many are taking issue with the company’s proclamation that Uganda is the "Number One Country of 2012." Uganda has been making headlines for the country’s proposed "Kill the Gays Bill" that would effectively imprison homosexuals for life and kill repeat offenders. The country’s disregard for human rights has even prompted international sanctions against the African country with Britain leading the way. Also this year, homophobia in the country trickled down from legislatures to the people. Along with numerous attacks on LGBT organizations, the most shocking piece of news came in January when gay rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered.
So how could Lonely Planet hail Uganda as the Number One Country of 2012? Editor Tom from Lonely Planet chimed in in the comments section, which was immediately flooded with criticism of the sites selection: We chose Uganda for the experiences that it can offer to travelers, separate from its current political situation. To be very clear: we are aware of, and condemn, Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill. We hope that travellers do not judge the country in general, and most of its people, by the sentiments of its government. Many destinations across the world have political and human rights issues and travel often can raise awareness of these issues.
We also think that travel can raise awareness of "these issues," though we believe that change can come to a country by refusing to spend money in a place with such flagrant disregard to human rights. We also must continue to support those in Uganda who are working tirelessly for equality—organizations like Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (whose website appears to have been hacked). We call on Lonely Planet to rescind their choice of Uganda as the "Number One Country of 2012" and to issue an apology to gay people everywhere. Click here to comment on their website.
10 November 2011 – PinkNews
Killer of David Kato receives 30 year prison sentence
by Stephen Gray
The killer of Ugandan rights campaigner David Kato, who was murdered earlier this year, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. The sentence was handed down to Sydney Nsubuga, also known by the name Enock, last night. Nsubuga, 22, pleaded guilty to the murder of the gay rights activist on January 26, 2011 at his home in the Mukono district of Uganda. Earlier this year, Nsubuga claimed Mr Kato agreed to pay him for sex, but refused to hand over any money after the act. He says he did not intend to kill Mr Kato, he was trying to defend himself.
Police arrested Nsubuga on 2 February, and said he had been staying at Mr Kato’s house after he had bailed Nsubuga out of prison. A police spokesman had told Reuters: “He has confessed to the murder. It wasn’t a robbery and it wasn’t because Kato was an activist. It was a personal disagreement but I can’t say more than that.” Speaking today about the sentence, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “It is good that justice has been done. The man jailed pleaded guilty, so we can assume that the police got the right person. It sends a signal that sometimes in Uganda, LGBT people get justice. Of course, many times they don’t. Homophobes often get away with violence. Not in this case. “I hope it will encourage more LGBT Ugandans to report homophobic attacks and pursue the police until they, too, get justice.”
The announcement comes on the day Ugandan rights activist Frank Mugisha receives the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award for his work in the African country where he and David Kato worked.
10 November 2011 – PinkNews
Ugandan activist receives RFK Human Rights Award
by Stephen Gray
Frank Mugisha, a Ugandan gay rights activist, has been received the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Mugisha is the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, which supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community in the African state. He is one of the few openly gay activists in the country. When he spoke to PinkNews.co.uk this year about the documentary The World’s Worst Place to be Gay, Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills told said he feared for his own safety as a gay man visiting the country.
The Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato was murdered in January. Anti-gay sentiment was reportedly expressed by the pastor presiding over his funeral. The annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award was established in 1984 to honour “courageous and innovative individuals striving for social justice throughout the world”. RFK Human Rights Award Judge Dean Makau Mutua said: “Frank Mugisha’s unbending advocacy for gay rights in Uganda in the face of deep-rooted homophobia is a testament to the indomitability of the human spirit”.
Kerry Kennedy, the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights said the campaigner has “fought courageously in support of the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda, despite death threats and even exile”. She added: “He has become a leading advocate for sexual minorities in a country where they are persecuted, jailed, and their lives destroyed. We are proud at the RFK Center to begin our partnership with Mr. Mugisha to advance his invaluable work within this movement.”
Mr Mugisha said: “For me, it is about standing out and speaking in an environment where you are not sure if you will survive the next day; it is this fear that makes me strong, to work hard and fight on to see a better life for LGBTI persons in Uganda. “The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award gives me courage and hope that my work, which may not be accepted and recognized in my own country, is making a change with this international visibility.”
Ugandan rights campaigner Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in Geneva in October.
November 28, 2011 – Daily Monitor
Beyond the international outcry: is Uganda as homophobic as they say?
by Raymond Mpubani & Philippa Croome
"When Lonely Planet stated that the top country to visit in 2012 would be Uganda, the jubilation was palpable in the Ugandan media. Comments however from the international community were discouraging people from visiting saying Uganda was unsafe for gay people" Before David Bahati, Idi Amin was certainly the most infamous Ugandan abroad. It seems he might be in for some competition. Since tabling the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009, the Ndorwa West MP has been vilified around the world. “I read about it, they were all calling me the most homophobic man – I didn’t understand what they mean,” Mr Bahati told the Daily Monitor in May. “Stopping that kind of thing does not make you say that you hate or fear the person who does that. Actually we love them, but we hate what they do.”
Africa is rarely known for positive things in the West. The usual suspects—famine, Aids, poverty, war and corruption— continue to top the headlines. However, a new topic is starting to define outside opinions of the continent: anti-homosexuality, for which Uganda has become the poster child.
How it started
It can be traced to a whirlwind of events. One year after Bahati’s bill, a fledgling tabloid ran a headline that called for homosexuals to be killed. Three months after that, in January this year, one of the men pictured under the Hang them headline, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death in his home. Amin himself couldn’t have written a better script. Kato’s murder prompted a number of statements from Western embassies, which linked it to Mr Bahati’s Bill and the tabloid article. Outcry against the “Kill the Gays” Bill came to a head in May when it was expected to be tabled again after going through committee debates, but Parliament broke off without voting on it.
The murmurs that Mr Bahati intends to reintroduce the Bill before the current Parliament persist, as do the Bill’s repercussions. Just last month British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to cut aid to countries that “persecute homosexuals.” Mr Bahati has welcomed the attention his Bill has drawn, telling the New York Times in an interview that he hoped that “Uganda can provide leadership in this area of moral decadence, using… this bill as a platform.”
Uganda’s reputation certainly preceded itself when it was ranked the top country to visit in 2012 by Lonely Planet, a reputable guidebook publisher. But the negative reactions came swiftly. Most of the commenters on its online article were quick to connect Uganda with Mr Bahati’s Bill, and drew unfavourable conclusions. For many in the West, it seems Uganda has become an emblem of intolerant societies.
The first person to comment on the list agrees that Kampala could be one of the safest cities in Africa, unless: “…you’re lesbian or gay for whom beatings and murders are a regular occurrence.” Another commenter who identifies himself as a gay man says the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community “are attacked with no provocation” in Uganda, and wonders why any would visit.
Read complete article here