Uganda

On 14 June 2005 the Constitutional court ruled that although the death penalty was constitutional, its use as a mandatory punishment for certain crimes was no

The Highest Mountain Peak In Uganda Now Has A Gay Pride Flag On It

April 25, 2014

Uganda is among the most anti-gay countries in the world, and has received more attention than most during the five years it debated legislation that came to be known as the “Kill The Gays” bill. President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill — which replaced the death penalty with life in prison — into law earlier this year, sparking international outrage from the LGBT community and its supporters, and praise from the religious right.

One California man decided to protest in a unique way.

In an open letter to Uganda’s president titled, “What I did on vacation” and posted to Facebook, Neal Gottlieb writes:

April 22, 2014

Dear President Museveni of Uganda,

On April 16, 2014, after a 6-day climb, I summited your country’s tallest peak, Mount Stanley’s 16,753 foot tall Margherita Peak, and mounted a gay pride flag at its summit in protest of your country’s criminalization of homosexuality. Your country’s highest point is no longer its soil, its snow or a summit marker, but rather a gay pride flag waving brilliantly, shining down from above as a sign of protest and hope behalf of the many thousands of Ugandans that you seek to repress and the many more that understand the hideous nature of your repressive legislation.

The wiser of us understand that humans possess certain unalienable rights. These rights include freedom to express oneself, freedom to worship one’s god or none at all and freedom to live and love as one is born.

Despite this, you recently signed legislation into law that allows those born homosexual to be imprisoned for life. This is a disgusting, despicable act that threatens to ruin countless lives. If you had a son, daughter, niece or nephew that was homosexual, would you want her or him to be imprisoned for life? What if you have friends that are closeted homosexuals? Should they be locked up for the rest of their lives? If you were born gay, would you deserve to be imprisoned?

In a country that is dependent on the United States to fund the majority of its HIV/AIDS care, where less than 5% of those with cancer have access to treatment and where those with access to electricity is still a small minority of the populace, does it make any sense to devote precious and limited resources to imprison those who should be free? Does it make any sense that your administration never successfully prosecuted anybody from Amin’s reign of terror that resulted in over 100,000 murders, yet you wish to imprison for life those who have not committed atrocities but are simply born gay?

As the president of a nation you have the opportunity to be a great man and lead your country forward. Instead, you choose to hold your people back like the imperialists, the dictators and the warlords that have held Africa back generation after generation. The people that you wish to imprison are the same people who can help Uganda grow into a great nation.

When you choose to deny the people of Uganda their human rights, you are no better than Amin.

If you don’t like said flag on your highest peak, I urge you to climb up and take it down. However, you are an old man and surely the 6-day climb through the steep muddy bogs and up the mountain’s glaciers is well beyond your physical ability. Your days are more limited than most. Do you want your remaining days to be yet another blight on the history of your nation or will you find the strength to reverse your actions and allow all Ugandans to be free?

With all due respect,

Neal Gottlieb

P.S. This protest action is mine and mine alone. Neither my fellow climbers nor the Ugandan guides and porters had anything to do with it. The Ugandan guides present at the summit as the flag was mounted had absolutely no idea what the flag stands for, nor did they ask.

Gottlieb, aside from being a hero, brave, and wise, also has a day job.

Via email, Gottlieb told The New Civil Rights Movement, “I am the Founding Twin of an ice cream company called Three Twins Ice Cream that sells ice cream at our California scoop shops and nationwide through groceries.”

He adds that he’s “just a recreational climber,” but this epic act should entitle him to a far more important title.

Was this a dangerous act? Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality law provides for jail terms, some 14-years, some life in prison, for various act of homosexuality or homosexual “propaganda.”

Was Gottlieb worried?

“I was definitely concerned about the consequences, as promoting homosexuality, however that is interpreted, can result in some serious time in Ugandan prison…5-7 years I believe.”

He says he “concealed the flag within a decoy flag (Republic of California) in a pocket in my backpack that a search wouldn’t necessarily reveal and was prepared to play dumb if caught. Knowing that there would only be a handful of Ugandan guides at the summit, I figured that they wouldn’t know what the flag stood for…”

 

Uganda: President Museveni Signs Anti-Homosexuality Bill

february 24, 2014 (amnesty)

President Museveni has just signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. It is a draconian and damaging piece of legislation, Amnesty International said today.

“This deeply offensive piece of legislation is an affront to the human rights of all Ugandans and should never have got this far,” said Michelle Kagari, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

“This legislation will institutionalize hatred and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Its passage into law signals a very grave episode in the nation’s history.”

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will further criminalize consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, with some offences carrying life imprisonment. It also includes offences such as ‘promotion of homosexuality’, which will directly impact human rights defenders and healthcare providers. It makes a mockery of the rights enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.”

Uganda has become more repressive recently. In the last 6 months it has brought into law the Public Order Management Act, then the Anti-Pornography bill and now the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. 

Uganda: LGBT activists bravely stage pride parade in Kampala

LGBT campaigners staged a Pride parade in Uganda at the weekend – despite the country being known for its widespread and violent homophobic and transphobic persecution. Danish journalist Mikkel Danielsen reports for PinkNews.co.uk.

“Today I can finally be myself. Usually I have to hide my sexuality to protect myself from being abused,” 26-year-old Rachel Newumbe says, while she is attaching a rainbow coloured flag to a white pick-up truck.

She is a lesbian, but it is only her immediate family and closest friends that know. If the rest of her friends and relatives find out, Rachel is afraid that they will turn their back on her. She did not dare tell anyone that she is participating in the Uganda Beach Pride 2013.

Rachel is taking part in the celebrations together with 200-300 other transgender and gay people, of which the majority are men. The parade is the main event ending the week long Pride festival in the capital city, Kampala. Many participants say, that the parade finally gives them a chance to be themselves and wear the clothes they want to, without fearing for their security.

It’s the second time several Ugandan organisations for the country’s LGBT community have collaborated to arrange the Pride parade in the strongly homophobic country. In 2009, it was proposed in Parliament that homosexual behaviour should be punished with the death penalty, but the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is still under review. When the Ugandan police catch gay people they are often held at the police station for 2-3 days.

A study by Pew Research shows 96% of the population think that homosexuality should not be accepted in Ugandan society. To avoid confrontations with the rest of the population the parade takes place in a more sparsely populated area about 30 kilometres from Kampala. The parade is watched closely by six police officers, who shortened this years route to make sure LGBT participants would not come too close to the locals. (Pink News)

UGANDA – Prison authorities oppose death penalty

June 21, 2012 Source : http://www.newvision.co.ug

The Uganda Prisons Services (UPS) has opposed the death penalty, saying the purpose of prisons is to rehabilitate wrong-doers, and not kill them.

“We are challenging the issue of death penalty,” UPS spokesperson, Frank Baine said at the Uganda Human Rights Commission two-day Forum to promote the rights of detainees held at Imperial Royale Hotel that started Wednesday.

Baine said prisons are for rehabilitating and not hanging prisoners. “Our mandate is to have safe custody which is humane. We reform and re-integrate, not hanging.”

“Prisoners are part of our family. By the time you hang, it is like you are hanging your own,” he said.

The UPS spokesman said hanging prisoners traumatizes both staff and inmates and he pointed out that although death penalty is a constitutional matter, they are advocating for its change.

Currently there are 473 people on death row.

The interface that ends today is also intended to popularize the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012.

In his presentation on the “Condition of inmates in prisons: Achievements, challenges and recommendations” the Commissioner Custodial Services of UPS, Augustine Obura revealed that there are 242 prisoners on life imprisonment.

Another 10 are serving imprisonment for life, 266 between 20 to 30 years, 19 serving between 31 to 40 years, 24 between 41 to 50 years, one serving between 51 to 60 years and three prisoners serving between 61 to 70 years.

He cited specific instances of human rights violations arising from lack of basic provisions such as high prison congestion, prisons not complying with recommended standards, high remand population, dilapidated prisons, and more.

Obura revealed that 154 out of 226 prison units still use the bucket system, where prisoners merely use buckets to ease themselves.

He urged the judiciary to introduce judicial parole, a system where a prisoner who is remaining with a certain period of his sentence is released on condition of good discipline.

He revealed that a prisons client charter was being formulated and once completed, it would inform the public of the obligations of the Uganda Prisons Services towards them and would also make the body accountable to the public so as to reduce incidences of human rights violations.

The Director Monitoring and Inspections UHRC, Roselyn Karugonjo, Segawa gave an overview of the commission findings in places of detention in Uganda.

She urged UPS, ministry of internal affairs, Uganda Police Force and the director of public prosecution (DPP) to urgently release suspects being detained without files or charges.

However, the DPP Richard Butera wanted to know where this occurs.

Among the findings Karugonjo pointed out was that suspects in military detention facilities take months before being brought to court.

Army Spokesman, Col. Felix Kulayigye said the number of inmates in military detention centres had reduced following a Constitutional Court Ruling that stopped them from trying non-combatants.

 

Uganda: Religious leaders seek return of anti-gay bill

June 10, 2012 Source : http://www.theafricareport.com

The inter-religious council, an organisation of Uganda’s religious leaders, has called on members of parliament to pass an anti homosexuality bill that is presently before the legislature.

The controversial bill was introduced to parliament as a private members bill by David Bahati in 2009. It has since been criticised by international human rights non-governmental organisations particularly for clauses suggesting a death penalty for those found guilty of homosexuality.

“We religious leaders don’t support homosexuality and it should be condemned by legislators despite donors threatening to cut funding.” Zan Niringiye, Deputy Bishop of Kampala, told a breakfast meeting of religious leaders and parliamentarians.

Homosexuality is regarded a taboo in most of Ugandan communities, and urbanites who have embraced are considered as misfits by many. The deeply divisive anti-homosexual bill has however been [LINK=/index.php/2012022751709572/east-horn-africa/uganda-minister-s-directive-on-gays-raises-storm-51709572.html]described by some as being draconian in its present form and should not be passed[/LINK] draconian in its present form and should not be passed.

In a separate interview, a leader of Arising for Christ, an organisation of Pentecostal pastors, Pastor Solomon Male says that there is no need to pass the bill because there already are existing laws against homosexuality, which are not being implemented.

“The penal code of 2007 has harsh punishment for homosexuals. [LINK=/index.php/2011110250174130/east-horn-africa/uganda-mp-says-anti-gay-bill-must-be-debated-50174130.html]There is no need for new laws.[/LINK] If the bill is passed, the gays will challenge it in constitutional court and win,” Male said.

Despite criticism of the bill, some lobby groups insist that it should be passed, as homosexuality was an alien culture in the country. As a result a number of [LINK=/index.php/20120517501811762/east-horn-africa/ugandan-gay-activists-seek-repeal-of-anti-homosexual-penal-code-501811762.html]gay rights activists and homosexuals[/LINK] have been forced to go underground, as they fear for their lives.

“We live in fear. We fear our fellow Ugandans and security organisations who regard us as dangerous
 to society,” Timothy Wande, a gay rights activist, said.