Tag Archives: uganda

World Bank Refuses To Fund To Projects That Endanger LGBT People Lives

The President of the World Bank has opened up about a decision to cut off lending to projects in developing countries, which could endanger LGBT rights.

Speaking at the Economist’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ conference, taking place in London, New York and Hong Kong, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim discussed a proposal to reign in lending to projects that could end up harming LGBT rights.

Explaining why the bank cut off lending after Uganda passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act, he said:

In 2014 the Ugandans had passed a law, and it was quite a bit more draconian than a lot of the laws that exist: it said homosexuality would be punished with life imprisonment, but it became a requirement that anyone who suspects others of homosexuality had to report that also.

Right at that moment we were about to approve a $90 million loan to support health clinics in Uganda.

I worked as a doctor, and this is an important issue for me… but we looked carefully and we found out that it was possible that active discrimination could happen in these clinics, and because of the requirement to report homosexual behaviour, gay men and women could go to these clinics… and we could actually endanger people from the LGBTI community, so we had to stop that loan.”

He added:

A lot of people came out and told me I was crazy. The critiques made a lot of sense to a lot of people… a lot of my own staff were [against it].

At the time there were 81 countries with these laws, so what does this mean for our ability to loan to any country in the world that has these kinds of laws?

We are not allowed to make political judgements, and that’s not what we’re doing.

We’re trying to look at another principle that is important, that that principle is that if something we support leads not only to discrimination but endangerment, don’t we as an institution have to stand up and say ‘no’?”

He continued:

There were a lot of countries who condemned Uganda… but the money still flowed. We were the only ones who stopped the flow of money.

The Ugandans were very angry about this… but [I told the board] I felt it was very important to take this stand.

One of the questions was, what would be the implication of taking that kind of action? Well, our business has exploded since then. The Ugandans have repealed that law – the court found it unconstitutional.

But probably the most encouraging thing was a minister of finance from a developing country came and insisted on seeing me one-on-one, and I didn’t know what it was… he came in and said the Prime Minister wanted me to know there was draconian legislation on homosexual activity going through the Parliament, but he wanted to assure me he would veto it, and it would never become law.

I had to take my own stand on this, and use the rules and regulations of the institution to push the agenda as far as I could.”

Speaking about progress to draw up a consistent policy, he said:

One of the things that we’ve done is that we’ve put into a new version of the draft safeguards explicit language that says discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated.

This is new and it’s not passed yet – I push as far as I can, but I have to step back because this is a 70 year old institution with laws and regulations and procedures, and so this is a decision that will ultimately be made by the board.

But we’ve put them in there, and we are committed to continuing to look at every single thing that we do, to see if our lending is leading to discrimination or even endangerment [of LGBT people].”

He said:

It’s not done yet – but we’re looking at every possible way to increase our surveillance, so that we know when something we do is leading to discrimination or endangerment.”

He compared the issue to existing measures to prohibit lending to corrupt countries, recalling that opponents argued “so many countries are corrupt that if you start talking about corruption, we’ll have no more countries to lend to.”

The exec added:

It’s exactly the same argument… you can’t do it all at once.

But over a 20 year period, we’ve refined and refined and refined and now have a whole system for detecting corruption in our projects.

We have no illusion that we’ve eliminated corruption from every project… but we have a good system in place. That first step was important.”

He said:

As a minimum, we have to stop a loan that can either discriminate or endanger – and we’ve never had that discussion before inside the World Bank.

It’s a first step… we definitely have not got the data we would like to have, but we’re going to contribute and participate, and work with others who are doing this kind of research and move forward this agenda.”

He also spoke about the risks that countries may opt to get lending from other sources – with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe pledging to reject filthy aid money” that comes with strings attached on LGBT rights.

Jim Yong Kim said:

The kinds of things we do are a result of our very specific strengths – not only knowledge about the specific aspects of development, but also the know-how to get projects from here to there.”

He added that the World Bank also works to provide benefits and safeguards for LGBT employees anywhere in the world.

The exec explained:

There are some challenges in some of these countries – and any country that we open a new office in, we negotiate very aggressively that we have certain standards about how we treat same-sex partners, and we need to come to some agreement with the host country in terms of how to handle it.

It’s not perfect – we have to often do things informally, but our a very strong commitment to all of our employees is that we will treat same-sex partners in the same way that we would treat opposite-sex partners.”

The World Bank is an international financial institution that specialises in provides loans to developing countries for projects, assisting in their development and creating infrastructure to help tackle poverty.

Ugandan LGBT Rights Activist Awarded The ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, the founder and executive director of an LGBT rights charity Freedom & Roam Uganda, was announced the winner of an Right Livelihood Award for her “courage and persistence, despite violence and intimidation, in working for the right of LGBTI people to a life free from prejudice and persecution.”


The international Right Livelihood Award is known as the Alternative Nobel Prize for honouring people who would not gain conventional recognition – honouring and supporting those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.

Kasha has risked jail and violence to fight for LGBT rights for decades, in spite of the country’s anti-gay laws.

Both male and female homosexuality is punishable by up to 7 years’ imprisonment in Uganda under the country’s anti-sodomy laws.

statement says:

Fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is one of the most courageous and outspoken human rights activists in Africa.

Operating within a hostile and repressive environment, Nabagesera has shed light on human rights violations, and has successfully used the judicial system to advance LGBTI rights.

She has overcome threats to campaign against repressive laws and uses a range of creative and innovative tools to continue breaking myths and stereotypes surrounding LGBTI people in Uganda and elsewhere.”

It also notes:

Nabagesera is one of the few activists in Uganda who has engaged in the judicial process to advance the rights of the LGBTI community.

When a Ugandan tabloid published the names and photos of (alleged) gay and lesbian people, she was one of three individuals who took the newspaper to court and won.

When in 2012 the Minister of Ethics shut down a workshop involving several LGBTI organisations claiming that such a gathering was illegal, Nabagesera was among those who sued the minister for violating their freedom of assembly.

These court actions are slowly helping to shift public opinion in Uganda towards the notion that LGBTI people have constitutionally guaranteed rights.”


Uganda LGBT Activist and Out Lesbian is the New Cover for Time Magazine

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, an out lesbian and co-founder / editor of Uganda’s first LGBT publication, Bombastic, is on the cover of Time Magazine‘s European edition.


She told Advocate Magazine she hopes the cover will not only bring awareness to the plight of LGBT Ugandans, but also help people around the world realise that LGBT people are their friends, neighbours, and family members.

It’s a great honour for me to be on the cover because it brings attention to the global LGBT struggle. Now many people will know about the struggles LGBT people go through in Africa and the world over. They will realize that the people they hate most are actually the people they love most when they get to read the article. They could be hating on their beloved family and friend without knowing they are LGBT.”

The move to feature what’s being celebrated as a monumental moment of visibility for Uganda’s harassed LGBT community.

More than ever, the world shouldn’t neglect the human rights of LGBT people, because we are here to stay — and part and parcel of the development of this world. All we need is respect, and protection from violence, and our basic inalienable human rights. Speaking out and bringing attention to the plight of LGBT people is life. I will not be silenced by anyone.”

Nabagesera became engaged in the very “controversial” issue of gay rights in Uganda when she was just 21, and has since played a leading role in the Ugandan LGBT rights movement. After being expelled from several schools, Kasha decided to study the law in Uganda.

Time magazine has history of featuring LGBT heros; here are some of the best covers

an_ugandan_lesbian_activist_debuts_on_the_cover_of_time_magazine_1924263487.jpg_resized_552 Time-Magazine-LGBT-01 Time-Magazine-LGBT-02 Time-Magazine-LGBT-04 Time-Magazine-LGBT-05

HBO’s VICE Links Uganda’s Lesbian Corrective Rapes Back to American Anti-Gay Christians

The plight of the LGBT community in Uganda has largely dropped out of the headlines, but in the latest episode of VICE on HBO, correspondent Isobel Yeung travels to Uganda and shows that they’re as persecuted as ever.

Not only does the documentary highlight how churches and schools are lying to children and adults about the “evils” of homosexuality, but that American missionaries and politicians are part of the problem too.

A Prayer for Uganda highlights the teachings of people like Pastor George Oduch, a Christian Fundamentalist who has taken his lead from anti-gay American Pastor Scott Lively.

They attempt to educate Ugandans about how there’s “no difference between a terrorist and a homosexual,” and that homosexuality is just like paedophilia.

The propaganda is so distorted that children are taught that there are ‘10 different cancers that attack only homosexuals’.

Girls are also told that sleeping with another women will lead to lesbian infertility.

If a woman gets homosexuality with another woman, she cannot give birth.”

The young Ugandans repeat what they are lectured in school and in church, but also in their communities, as the adults are even worse.

In one scene, Yeung interviews poor, working class men. The men tell her that the first thing she needs to know about their culture is “we hate is homosexuality.” That is the first thing of which they are proud. Not arts, science, their families, their heritage – not even their perverted interpretation of Christianity.

“We hate that one [homosexuality] completely. If we find a woman with a woman, we will pull out one and we will do it to her.” He’s of course talking about rape. “We cannot allow a woman to have sex with a fellow woman.”

Yeung asks, “Have you ever raped a lesbian?”

“Yeah,” the man replies. “Serious raping.”

Then Yeung asks, “So what would you do if you saw a gay man?”

“Kill! Kill! You kill that one! Kill! I just kill them. Woman and woman we rape, but man and man we kill.”

She wrote later, “I don’t ever recall feeling as heartbroken as the week we spent shooting this.”

Yeung is able to speak with a Ugandan gay woman on camera, although her face is blurred and voice distorted as to not reveal her identity. The woman had a secret girlfriend, but was found out by a group of men who raped her. When she found out she was pregnant soon after, her girlfriend left her. Now she says her child is “a blessing in disguise,” because now people won’t assume she’s a lesbian so quickly. In a heart breaking moment, she shares that she won’t even tell her son she’s gay because she’s worried he will reject her.

A Prayer for Uganda 02

Last year, the government of Uganda passed a bill making homosexuality–already a crime–punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The legislation was overturned, thanks largely to the international fury it provoked, but homosexuality remains illegal and massively stigmatised.

Now, less than a year after the “Anti-Homosexuality Act” (nicknamed the “Kill the Gays” bill in Western media) was struck down, Ugandan officials are working to revive it.

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 President Urges Parliamentarians Not to Rush Reintroduce Anti-Gay Law

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is urging parliamentarians not to rush to reintroduce a controversial anti-gay law that was invalidated earlier this month, saying the measure is not a priority and could hurt the country’s economic development.

Museveni, who held a meeting Monday with lawmakers from his party, urged parliamentarians “not to cause chaos” by quickly reintroducing the bill, according to Medard Bitekyerezo, a lawmaker who strongly supports the anti-gay measure. He said Museveni formed a committee, to be chaired by Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, to look into the concerns of rights activists who challenged the constitutionality of the law.

“The law may come back with some small modifications, but I can tell you that it will come back.”

Medard Bitekyerezo

The panel of judges on Uganda’s Constitutional did not rule on the substance of the anti-gay measure, which allowed for jail terms of up to life for homosexual offenses, but jettisoned it because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum. The court ruled that there would be no further hearings, leaving the door open for lawmakers to try to reintroduce a similar law or a version of it.

The government-controlled New Vision newspaper reported Tuesday that Museveni warned lawmakers that the bill could hurt the country’s economic development. Museveni asked the parliamentarians to debate the law “without any emotional feelings,” the paper reported.

A Ugandan lawmaker says he has collected signatures from more than 200 parliamentarians who have promised to vote in support of the bill, which has wide support among Ugandans despite Western condemnation of it.

The U.S., the World Bank and some European countries delayed or redirected tens of millions of dollars in funding to Uganda’s government over the anti-gay measure, piling pressure on this East African country that depends on foreign aid to implement about 20 percent of its budget.

Museveni, who has said he supports strong legislation against what he calls the promotion of homosexuality in Africa, is a long-time U.S. ally who has held power here for nearly three decades. But he faces domestic pressure to step down amid growing allegations of official corruption and rights abuses – one reason local analysts believe he is increasingly sensitive to international attention on this East African country of 36 million people.

Watchdog groups said the invalidated anti-gay measure was draconian and unnecessary in a country where homosexuality has long been banned.

A colonial-era law that criminalizes sex acts “against the order of nature” remains in force.

Power to Uganda LGBT Community as They Hold Pride Parade in Entebbe

Members of Uganda’s LGBT community and their supporters are held a gay pride parade on a beach in the lakeside town of Entebbe.

The parade is their first public event since a Ugandan court invalidated an anti-gay law that was widely condemned by some Western governments and human rights watchdogs.

About 200 people attended the event, said Ugandan gay activist Moses Kimbugwe. He said participants were waited for police protection before they marched through sprawling botanical gardens in Entebbe, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital of Kampala.

Many marchers wore masks, signaling they did not want to be publicly identified in a country where gays face discrimination. Others waved rainbow flags as they danced and frolicked on a sandy beach.

This is the third annual gay pride event, said organizers. The first one, in 2012, turned violent after local police tried to break it up, said Ugandan lesbian activist Jacqueline Kasha. This time they were expecting full protection from the police, she said.

“We are a group of people who have suffered enough. We are Ugandans who have the right to gather in a public place … and we are going to have fun.”

Jacqueline Kasha

United Nations Hails Annulment of Uganda’s Anti-homosexuality Law

United Nations officials have welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Court of Uganda to annul the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, hailing it as a victory for the rule of law and social justice.

The law, which drew condemnation from the UN when it was promulgated in February, called for a 14-year jail term for a first conviction, and imprisonment for life for ‘aggravated homosexuality’. Challenged by 10 petitioners, including civil society, parliamentarians and academics, the law was annulled by the Court over a lack of quorum when the bill was passed.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to all those who contributed to this “step forward,” particularly the human rights defenders in Uganda who spoke out, at times incurring great personal risk.

“The Secretary-General calls for further efforts to decriminalize same-sex relationships and address the stigma and discrimination that persist in Uganda against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.”

UN Spokesman

Also welcoming the decision to annul the law was the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), which had warned that the legislation may obstruct effective responses to the virus.

“This is a great day for social justice. The rule of law has prevailed.”

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

UNAIDS noted that while homosexuality remains illegal in Uganda, annulling the law could have positive public health implications. Studies show that when gay men and other men who have sex with men face discrimination, including abuse, incarceration and prosecution, they are less likely to seek HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.

“[Ugandan] President Yoweri Museveni had personally indicated to me that he wants Uganda to accelerate its AIDS response to ensure all people have access to life-saving services.”

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

UNAIDS urged all Governments around the world, to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people through repealing criminal laws against adult consensual same sex sexual conduct; implementing laws to protect people from violence and discrimination; promoting campaigns that address homophobia and transphobia; and ensuring access to health services, including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

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.

Ugandan Lesbian Asylum Seeker is Finally Released

Margret Nazziwa, a lesbian activist and asylum seeker who was due to be deported to Uganda from the UK, was released yesterday.

Nazziwa, who fled Uganda in 2012 after experiencing persecution because of her sexual orientation, had been detained in Yarls Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire, and told she would be deported on last Sunday.

Today the Home Office told campaigners that her deportation would be ‘deferred’.

“I feel great and I am so happy. I am grateful and I would like to thank all the people who have been supporting me. I’m so happy that UKBA are releasing me, and that they have agreed to hear my case again.”

Margret Nazziwa

A Home Office spokesperson said it does not routinely discuss individual cases, but said:

“The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and we consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits. When someone is found not to need our protection, we expect them to leave the country voluntarily. Where they do not we will seek to enforce their departure.”

Home Office spokesperson

The Home Office has come under renewed criticism over its policy on processing LGBT asylum claims. Last week, the High Court ruled that fast track detention, a system used to process the vast majority of LGBT asylum cases, was ‘unlawful’.

A review of UK LGBT asylum policy by Sir John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, will be published this month.

Protest in London for Ugandan Lesbian Asylum Seeker due to be Deported Sunday

A protest will take place outside the Home Office on Friday in support of Margret Nazziwa – a lesbian asylum seeker who is due to be deported to Uganda on Sunday.

Ms Nazziwais, an LGBT activist, is currently being held at the Yarls Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire. Her reason for being in the UK is due to being forced to flee Uganda in 2012 after experiencing persecution because of her sexual orientation. It’s claimed she was forced into a heterosexual marriage, was a victim of rape, and tortured by her community and the Ugandan authorities.

She is due to be deported to Uganda on Sunday 13 July at 8pm.

“Margret’s safety is paramount and she is highly needed in the gay rights movement. She has fought hard to defend the voiceless and now she needs us to defend her.”

The African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group

The Home Office has come under renewed criticism over its policy on processing LGBT asylum claims. This week, the High Court ruled that fast track detention, a system used to process the vast majority of LGBT asylum cases, was “unlawful”.

Decisions to deport are often made before a claimant’s legal appeal has been fully exhausted. Mr Justice Ouseley said the system carries an “unacceptably high risk of unfairness.”

The Home Office has again rejected claims of deporting LGBT asylum seekers. Conservative minister Baroness Susan Williams recently admitted that the UK Government did not know how many asylum claims from Uganda were made on the basis of sexual orientation.

A review of UK LGBT asylum policy by Sir John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, will be published this month.

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.