Tag Archives: anti-homosexuality bill

Uganda’s President Says He Will Not Pursue Further Anti-Gay Legislation In The Country

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has declared that he will not pursue further anti-gay legislation, after previous attempts to strengthen the country’s anti LGBT legislation were defeated.


Museveni told reporters last week.

That law was not necessary, because we already have a law which was left by the British which deals with this issue.”

The long-standing leader signed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill last February. The law called for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and to make it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

However, the country’s Constitutional Court later struck down the bill, finding that the speaker of parliament acted illegally by moving ahead with a vote on the law despite at least three lawmakers objecting to a lack of quorum.

Uganda’s dreadfully homophobic legislation already punishes gay sex with up to life imprisonment under a colonial-era anti-sodomy law. Same-sex marriage is also banned as part of the country’s constitution.

An asylum seeker from Uganda covers his face with a paper bag in order to protect his identity as he marches with the LGBT Asylum Support Task Force during the Gay Pride Parade in Boston

The law was heavily criticised in the west, with the US announcing sanctions against Uganda, following the implementation of the law.

In July, a Ugandan presidential candidate made history – by affirming that he opposes homophobia.

With the 2016 election approaching, former prime minister Amama Mbazazi stated that he opposes homophobia – making him one of the only Ugandan politicians to ever do so.

Last month, a small but visible group of people took to the streets of Uganda to celebrate Pride – a year since the controversial anti-gay law was scrapped.



Hatred Has Consequences: Gambia Stripped of Special Trade Status Over Anti-Gay Law

Gambia will no longer be allowed to benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act due to its anti-gay laws, as the US boots them from Trade Program.

The country had previously been afforded special benefits due to its status, under the African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000, which allowed it to export goods worth $37 million each year to the US without paying duty.

However, theWhite House announced that Gambia would be removed from the scheme, after President Yahya Jammeh signed a law punishing homosexuality with life imprisonment.

“The US Trade Representative (USTR) has been monitoring the human rights situation in The Gambia for the past few years, with deepening concerns about the lack of progress with respect to human rights, rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process. 

In addition, in October, Gambian President Jammeh signed into law legislation that further restricts the rights of LGBT individuals, including life imprisonment for so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’. Reports have surfaced of arrests, detention, and torture of individuals because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Ned Price, White House Spokesperson

In response to the announcement, Human Rights Campaign spokesperson said…

“This decision is an important first step in sending a clear signal to President Yayha Jammeh and his associates about their human rights record, and they cannot be allowed to trample on the rights of LGBT Gambians.

The United States government should not move forward with business as usual with The Gambia when LGBT people are harassed, imprisoned, tortured, or even killed because of who they are. More can and should be done to hold Jammeh and his associates directly accountable for violating the basic human rights of LGBT Gambians and attacking them for pure political gain.”

Jean Freedberg

Another Battle to Fight – Gambia Law Makers Pass Bill to Imprison Gay People for Life

Gambia’s National Assembly has passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, officials said Monday, potentially worsening the climate for sexual minorities in a country with one of Africa’s most vocal anti-gay leaders.

The bill amending the criminal code was passed last month and brings life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality,” minority leader Samba Jallow told The Associated Press. That is a charge leveled at repeat offenders and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Jallow said that while his National Reconciliation Party did not condone homosexuality, he voted against the bill along with one other lawmaker.

“In our view, (homosexuals) did not commit a crime worthy of life imprisonment or any treasonable offense.”

Samba Jallow

Homosexual acts were already punishable by up to 14 years in prison under a Gambian law that was amended in 2005 to apply to women in addition to men.

The bill now awaits approval by President Yahya Jammeh, an autocratic ruler who in 2008 instructed gays and lesbians to leave the country or risk having their heads cut off.

Speaking on state television in February, Jammeh said,

“We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively.”

Yahya Jammeh

Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup and is famous for speeches condemning Western powers, has not addressed the new bill publicly.

National Assembly Speaker Abdoulie Bojang confirmed the new bill was passed last month but would not provide further details.

A draft seen by The Associated Press contains language identical to a controversial anti-gay bill signed into law in Uganda earlier this year.

In addition to “serial offenders” and people living with HIV/AIDS, both pieces of legislation say examples of “aggravated homosexuality” include when the suspect engages in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or has been drugged. The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person or is “in authority over” him or her.

It was not immediately clear whether there were changes to the draft prior to the National Assembly vote.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which drew widespread international condemnation, was overturned last month by the country’s Constitutional Court, which declared the law illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

Human Rights Watch reported in May that the legislation had triggered “a surge in human rights violations,” including arrests, police abuse and evictions.

Gambia has previously launched occasional crackdowns on the country’s gays. A 2012 raid at a poolside birthday party in the capital, Banjul, led to the arrests of 18 men, some of whom said they were interrogated and beaten before undergoing a very public trial that destroyed their reputations.

The new bill could make life even worse for Gambia’s gays, said Francois Patuel, West Africa campaigner for Amnesty International.

“It only adds to the discrimination and to the climate of fear that gays and lesbians … are living under.”

Francois Patuel

WATCH: A Secret, Illegal Gay Wedding in Uganda

In February 2014, President Museveni of Uganda signed into law one of the harshest anti-gay bills in the world. As of August 2014 the “kill the gays” bill, as it was often called in the media, is no longer valid.

The bill was overturned based on a simple technicality; there were not enough members of parliament present when the bill was passed. President Museveni has recently expressed a desire to reinstate a milder version of the controversial bill.

While the draconian nature of the original bill alienated many of the western countries that Uganda relies on for foreign aid and trade, the overturning of the original bill was not based on a shift in the government’s beliefs. Regardless, many gay rights activists in Uganda are celebrating this as a step in the right direction.

Earlier this year, while the anti gay law was still in place, Vocativ attended a secret gay wedding ceremony in Uganda. If the local police force had found out about the ceremony, everyone present, including our crew, could have potentially faced jail time. Although the marriage we attended isn’t legally recognized, the couple said that it was an important symbolic ritual for them to take part in.

A Secret, Illegal Gay Wedding in Uganda

Uganda’s Constitutional Court Could Strike Down the Anti-Homosexuality Act Today

Many LGBT rights supporters inside the Ugandan Constitutional Court this week say there are strong signs that the justices will strike down the Anti-Homosexuality Act when the court reconvenes.

For two days, the Uganda’s Constitutional Court has heard submissions from LGBTI rights activists in order to repeal the anti-gay legislation. In this ruling, the court will judge on whether parliament broke the rules.

That may sound surprising, since the Ugandan political system has seemed stacked against LGBT people since legislation imposing up to a lifetime prison sentence for homosexuality was enacted in a surprise vote on December 20, 2013.

However, the court has pushed forward with hearing the case over the government’s objections during the first day of hearings, which has left LGBT rights supporters feeling confident.

“I am very optimistic that they will strike it down. In my opinion having been in court for the past two days, I think the judges are being very independent.”

Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda

Nicholas Opiyo, one of the attorneys for the group of ten human rights activists, also felt very heartened after the first day of hearings concluded on Wednesday, tweeting…

“The constitutional court adjourns to tomorrow further hearing of the AHA petition in Ug. We believe that the court will find in our favour”

Nicholas Opiyo@nickopiyo

The petitioners also believe by regulating the behaviour of gay and lesbian Ugandans while not regulating the behaviour of heterosexuals, the Act violates article 21 of the constitution. Article 21 ‘guarantees’ equality and freedom of discrimination. Section 13 of the Act, which bans persons ‘promoting’ homosexuality, is also said to violate freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of association.

The Ugandan government is defending the law as constitutional by referring to Article 91, which says parliament has the power to legislate and to create laws for the betterment of society. Under the law, homosexuality is punished with life in prison.

Neal Gottlieb’s Open Letter to President Museveni Via Mountain Post

Neal Gottlieb has taken a brave and single act against the anti-homosexuality bill past by Uganda parliament (endorsed and signed by the countries president Yoweri Museveni). The American stunned the nation by planting a Gay Pride Flag on Uganda’s highest peaked mounting in protest of the act. Alongside the letter he wrote an open-letter to the Ugandan president

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 […]

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

Other course, this act has not been taken well by the Ugandan politicians – some seeing it as an act as colonial symbol of “planting a flag” with the fact that Museveni has framed homosexuality as a western import.

However, many have shared with overwhelmingly positivity for his stand. In response, Frank Mugisha, head of Sexual Minorities of Uganda, provided a personal reaction.

For me, its a good thing and he is showing support and solidarity , the LGBT movement in Uganda. Many people will do so many things because they are concerned about the fundamental human rights of Ugandan LGBT individuals and some solidarity messages or gestures are simply out of passion and none political like what this American man did at the peak of mountain rwenzori , I think it’s simply human.

Global Homophobia – The Shocking Truth

Global Homophobia – A recent study has revealed the true extent of homophobia around the world and established that it is illegal to be gay in a shocking 76 countries. From Africa to East Asia, the Middle East to the Americas, LGBT people run the risk of exile, forced labour, public whipping, life imprisonment and even execution.

During the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics the international community protested against Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law. However, this latest research, conducted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), makes it clear that such anti-gay legislation is not unique to Russia.

In disturbing detail the 110-page study names and shames the 76 least gay-friendly countries on Earth. The study is updated every year and we share some of its most recent findings below:

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Progress?

Despite the Coalition forces’ stated aim of restoring human rights to Afghanistan, the post-Taliban authorities continue to persecute the LGBT community. As in other countries, there is widespread confusion between the terms “homosexuality” and “paedophilia” and gay people are regularly sentenced to long periods in gaol.

Dominican Republic: Treated Like We’re Insane

It is a source of embarrassment for the Western psychiatric community that, until the 1970s, the scientific consensus was that homosexuality was a form of mental illness. This myth still persists in the Dominican Republic, where courts can order those prosecuted for “sodomy” and “gross indecency” to undergo psychotherapy to “correct” their behaviour.

Angola: Hard Labour in the 21st Century

When the great Irish playwright and wit Oscar Wilde was prosecuted for “gross indecency” in 1895, he was sentenced to two years’ hard labour. Within a year his health was ruined and he was to die a little later. If Wilde had visited Angola in 2014, he may have been given exactly the same punishment. Indeed, repeat offences of homosexuality – and even cross-dressing – in this Southern African country are punishable by long spells in labour camps.

Guyana: A Confusion of Prejudices

There’s a strange anomaly to Guyana’s anti-LGBT laws. While lesbian behaviour is perfectly legal, a same-sex relationship between men is a felony crime and anyone convicted faces the rest of their life in prison.

Iran: ‘We Don’t Have Gays’

Former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinijad infamously declared in 2007, ‘In Iran, we don’t have gays.’ People tended not to take his claim too seriously, given that Ahmedinijad also denies that the Nazi Holocaust ever happened. At any rate, there clearly are gay people in Iran because it is quite typical for them to be put to death by Shariah courts. Two men caught kissing in public can be sentenced to “60 lashes”, according to the country’s penal code.

Pakistan: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Although Pakistan’s laws are biliously anti-gay, the LGBT community tends to be left alone by the authorities so long as it observes a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. It is possible for LGBT people to congregate and even live together, providing they do so in secrecy.

Saudi Arabia: The World’s Toughest Penalties?

Despite being strongly supported by a number of Western states – amongst them the USA and the UK – who claim to care about LGBT rights, Saudi Arabia is unusually cruel to those with alternative sexual persuasions. Exile, public whippings and executions are commonplace


The United States Making Steps To Tackle Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

United States are looking in shifting money away from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, a group that has publicly come out in support of the anti-gay law and has received millions of dollars in grants from the United States to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

They are also considering funding towards tourism programs. Why? Well any LGBT person or LGBT ally who now enters Uganda is at risk of being persecuted.

As well as this, the Department of Defense had several events scheduled in the country later this spring and those will be moved to other locations. “Certain near-term invitational travel” for Ugandan military and police personnel has also been suspended or canceled.

“If aid is just cut in general terms, the local person is going to suffer. This includes LGBTI people. It will promote the isolation of the LGBTI community and we will continue to be marginalized. People like David Bahati that have been promoting homophobia are going to go on the radio and say, ‘Look, people are dying because of the homosexuals. We can’t have medicine in hospitals because of homosexuals. We can’t have good water because of homosexuals.’ These are government responsibilities but because our economy hasn’t reached a point where President Museveni can support this, we are still depending on foreign aid. We need to look at sectors where the government will feel a direct pinch. If that funding that the US gives to the army, if that were stopped, then that would have a direct effect. Donor countries should rethink and go back to the drawing table and look at how they could actually fund.”

Richard Lusimbo


Their is concern that these aid is cut due to the anti-homosexuality bill,  will have a trickle down effect on Ugandan taxpayers and effect the countries economy.

Ethiopia to Pass a Bill to Make Homosexuality Non-pardonable Offense

Last week the Associated Press reported that Politicians in Ethiopia are set to pass a bill that would put homosexuality on a list of offences considered non-pardonable under the country’s amnesty law. This bill is being endorsed by Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers, is widely expected to pass when it is put to a vote next week.

In Ethiopia, same-sex sexual activity is already illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If the bill becomes law, the President of Ethiopia Mulatu Teshome, will lose his power to pardon prisoners who faced charges. A 25-year jail term is also prescribed for anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during gay sex.

Sadly, Ethiopia is the following in the footsteps of Uganda and Nigeria, two countries which have both recently strengthened their anti-gay legislation.

Lithuanian Parliament Blocks Law Targeting Gay Pride Parades In The Country

A proposed  bill, which specifically prohibits speeches, posters, audiovisual materials, and other means of organizing in support of LGBT rights, by Lithuanian Member of Parliament, Petras Gražuli, was put before Lithuanian Parliament on Thursday.

This targetted “events such as gay pride march and parades.” It would impose a fine of up to the equivalent of about $2400 for those found guilty of repeat offenses.

Though a plurality of MPs voted to bring the proposal to a vote — 39 in favor, 34 opposed, and 20 abstentions — this was not enough to move the measure to a vote under rules of procedure.

Gražulis responded to the vote by accusing MPs from the Conservative party who did not back the bill of “changing not only their political orientation but their sexual orientation too.”

Conservative Vida Marija Čigriejienė shot back that Gražulis should not talk about family values since he had recently split with his wife.

The proposal is one of several bills targeting LGBT people, with others being presented before parliament in the coming months. This includes an explicit ban on adoptions by same-sex couples and the outlawing of gender reassignment surgery. These measures were introduced in “retaliation” for the organising of a Baltic March for Equality in Vilnius in July of 2013, while the country held the presidency of the European Union, said Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, project coordinator for the Lithuanian Gay League.

“Because of European pressure, we managed to have pride go down our center of our capital city,” he said. “Homophobes were really frustrated because they could not stop it.”

The Lithuanian Gay League describes the proposal as a “Russian style anti-gay ‘propaganda law.



Human Rights Advocates Challenge Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Law In Court

Human rights advocates and Uganda opposition politicians filed a lawsuit against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act on Tuesday. The Anti-Homosexuality Act, which President Yoweri Museveni signed into law on February 24, imposes up to a life sentence for homosexuality and criminalises advocating LGBT rights.

The petitioners include activists Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda, trans activist Julian Pepe Onziema, former Ugandan opposition leader Ogenga Latigo, and Member of Parliament Fox Odoi. The suit argues that the law violates the right to equality before the law under the Ugandan constitution, as well as the right to privacy, freedom of expression, and association. It also notes that parliament lacked a quorum when it voted in favor of the bill on December 20.

A Vatican Official Has Criticised Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said Tuesday that “homosexuals are not criminals” and shouldn’t be sentenced for up to life in prison. Speaking to reporters in Bratislava where he attended a conference on the Catholic Church and human rights, Turkson said the Vatican also calls on the international community to keep providing aid.

Uganda has been hit with substantial aid cuts in reaction to the law and the World Bank has now postponed a $90 million loan for Uganda’s health systems.

Pope Francis has made a point of reaching out to gays, famously saying: “Who am I to judge?”

Haunting Pictures Taken of Gay Men Imprisoned at Auschwitz

History never forgets and neither should we. Prison IDs of homosexual men charged with violating the German Criminal Code Paragraph 175 (§ 175)  taken at Auschwitz concentration camp.

All of the above inmates perished at either Auschwitz, or in other camps they were transferred to.

It is estimated that upwards of 15,000 gay men were charged and held prisoners in concentration camps; the majority of them did not survive.


Watch Whoopi Goldberg Calls for Global Solidarity with LGBT Ugandans and Nigerians

Today, artist and humanitarian Whoopi Goldberg released a video with the Human Rights Campaign with a message for the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria, “you’re on the wrong side of history.”

“It isn’t right to imprison someone for who they are, for who they love.”

Whoopi Goldberg

In her message, Goldberg highlights the disturbing reality that members of LGBT NGOs “like the Human Rights Campaign” could now be subject to prison sentences in both Uganda and Nigeria. She also criticizes Ugandan and Nigerian officials for listening to the rhetoric of anti-LGBT hate mongers from the U.S. who have promoted these policies abroad.

“I’m asking people to show their solidarity. Share this – let people know what’s going on in the world because you can’t stand by.”

Whoopi Goldberg


The UK has confirmed no aid will go to Ugandan Government

The Department for International Development has confirmed that the only aid money spent by Britain in Uganda will go to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organisations, rather than the Ugandan Government. This means the aid money is spent on helping the people of Uganda without funding the country’s legal and political system.

“We ended all budget support payments to the Ugandan government last year. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds and Justine Greening has been clear that governments receiving UK aid need to meet a specific set of principles, including human rights.”

– DfID spokesman:

DfID confirmed that aid was cut to Uganda’s Government last year due to a corruption scandal, but reiterated that the human rights concerns raised by the Anti-Homosexuality Act would most likely deem it ineligible to receive aid.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have also confirmed they will cut their aid to Uganda following the decision to sign the bill by Museveni.

The United States and Sweden have said they are now reviewing their relations with Uganda, following the President’s decision to sign anti-gay legislation. Also, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for an end to a political agreement with Uganda over the law.


Sad times – Ugandan President has signed an anti-homosexuality bill

Post Update – Please visit www.allout.org and sign this petition 

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed an anti-homosexuality bill that includes harsh penalties for homosexual sex.

The new law says that first-time offenders will be sentenced 14 years in jail. Offenders of “aggravated homosexuality” will receive a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Although the government officials applauded the bill’s signing and despite its apparent popularity among Ugandans, some European countries have threatened to cut aid to the country because of the bill.

The White House released the following statement..

Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality. As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda, it reflects poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world.

We now wait to hear what other countries have to say about this