President Museveni will Reject "Fascist" Anti-Gay Bill; Plans to Introduce New Legislation
Uganda, 18 January 2014
A delegation from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) met with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni today at State House in Entebbe, Uganda, to discuss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Uganda's parliament on December 20, 2013. Last month Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote to the President to express their concern over the bill, requesting further discussion on the matter.
The delegation--comprised of Ms. Kennedy, Santiago A. Canton, Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights, and Wade McMullen, Staff Attorney for the RFK Center--expressed their grave concern over the legislation that would further criminalize homosexual conduct, censor freedom of expression, and ban civil society organizations working on LGBTI issues in Uganda. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who joined the conversation via telephone, similarly expressed his concern, stating that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reminiscent of oppressive laws passed under apartheid in South Africa.
President Museveni pledged to reject the bill as currently drafted, calling the legislation "fascist." The President stated that he will consult with his party and plans to introduce a new piece of legislation aimed at protecting minors from being coerced into sexual activity.
The RFK Center reiterated that the government should focus on enforcing the Ugandan Penal Code provisions that already outlaw both opposite-sex and same-sex sexual abuse of minors. Should new legislation be introduced along the lines of the President's suggestion, the RFK Center strongly advised that any bill should only focus on strengthening current child protection measures, may not discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and must fully respect the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.
"I welcome President Museveni's decision to reject this hateful bill," said Archbishop Tutu. "It is time for our African brothers and sisters to move past the antiquated notion that someone could be a criminal for who they love."
In a March 2013 meeting at the President's personal residence in Rwakitura, President Museveni promised the RFK Center that he would not sign any bill that discriminates against any individual.
"I am pleased that President Museveni has upheld his promise to reject any piece of discriminatory legislation," said Ms. Kennedy. "While we are concerned with plans to move forward with a new bill, we urge the President to ensure it will not discriminate against LGBTI people nor imperil the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the country."
Iranti honors the memory of LGBTI activists in South Africa, Africa and the World, who like Mandela stand up each day and fight against homophobia and transphobia. Long live the spirit and legacy of Nelson Mandela, Simon Nkoli, David Kato, Duduzile Zozo, Eudy Simelane, FannAnn Eddy, Thapelo Makhutle, Vuyisa ‘’Norizana’’Dayisi and many, many more...
We thank Bev Ditsie, Mrs Nkoli, Mrs Zozo, Emilia Potenza, Zethu Matebeni, Pregs Govender, Ayanda Magoloza and Nhlahlan Moremi, Pearl and Pride Kaygee Mashaba for sharing their honest reflections on the passing of Mandela and his lasting legacy on our lives.
Rest in Peace Madiba.
Third International Intersex Forum
Malta, 1 December 2013
Between 29 November and 1 December 2013, the Third International Intersex Forum, supported by ILGA and ILGA-Europe, took place in Valletta, Malta. This event brought together 34 activists representing 30 intersex organisations from all continents. The statement starts with, "We affirm that intersex people are real, and we exist in all regions and all countries around the world. Thus, intersex people must be supported to be the drivers of social, political and legislative changes that concern them," and goes on to set some several demands. Download the statement to read the demands.
GALZ Chairperson summoned
Zimbabwe, 4 December 2013
GALZ Chairperson, Martha Tholanah summoned to appear In the Rotten Row Magistrate Court for running an 'unregistered' organisation, says Tonderai Bhatasara, member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Read the official GALZ Alert.
Sunila Abeysekera, Human Rights Activist in Sri Lanka, Dies at 61
Sri Lanka, 13 September 2013
Sunila Abeysekera, a prominent human rights advocate who sought to bring the world’s attention to myriad acts of violence in her country, Sri Lanka, despite threats against her own life, died of cancer on Monday in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital. She was 61.
Her death was announced by Human Rights Watch. Until recently she had lived in the Netherlands because of the latest round of threats against her. Abeysekera, a single mother and a lesbian, was also a champion of women’s rights throughout South Asia, working for reproductive rights and economic parity and to end violence against women. Read more at New York Times...
Pic by Patricia Williams, Article by Margalit Fox for New York Times
JUSTICE PREVAILS - LEGABIBO JUDGMENT
Botswana, 17 March 2015
On the 12 March 2012 LEGABIBO was denied the right to register as an NGO. According to the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration, Botswana does not recognise homosexuals and that the objectives of the organisations are contrary to section7(2) of the law.
On 14 November 2014 LEGABIBO won the case. The judge ruled that they had the right to be registered. According to Anneke Meerkotter from the Southern African Litigation Centre, "This judgement was a historical one that would help other similar cases in Africa." Watch the report...
LEGABIBO repetitioning the Botswana courts 14 October
Botswana, 9 October 2014
The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, LEGABIBO are back in court on 14 October 2014, to petition the court for registration based on the fundamental rights enshrined in the Consititution of Botswana. Please attend, and find out more...
Lesbian murdered in Ventersdorp
Sout Africa, 16 August 2014
Lesbian is brutally killed in Ventersdorp. The perpetrator has been arrested. "Continued silence from the State about hate crimes has to stop. The Hate Crimes Task Team needs to upscale its work." says Jabu Pereira, Iranti. Read the entire press release.
22 years in jail for the man who raped a lesbian to “show her she was a woman”
South Africa, 27 November 2013
In 2011, in Cape Town, Andile Ngcoza raped Millicent Gaika, a lesbian, to force her to have a baby so that she would recognise her role as a woman. Ngcoza showed no remorse in court and has a slew of previous convictions, including rape and anal rape. Free Gender, a lesbian advocacy group, supported Gaika throughout the trial.
Read more at the Cape Times.
The major themes of Sunila Abeysekera's work include issues of equality and difference in understanding women's human rights and in promoting equal treatment for women; problems of re-conceptualising the nation-state and principles of good governance from a feminist perspective; problems of representation of women in art and culture; and feminist film criticism.
In Sri Lanka, Abeysekera worked with the Women and Media Collective, which does national level organising on women's issues, with a special focus on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. The political participation of women and ending violence against women are two key areas of her work. She also worked with cultural workers and cultural groups to develop and create new ways of expressing themselves through the media and the arts, including work on critical cultural theory.
United States. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center) was founded in 1968 by Robert Kennedy's family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. RFK Partners for Human Rights engages in strategic long-term partnerships with RFK Human Rights Award Laureates, augmenting the effectiveness of grassroots leaders to support sustainable social justice movements.
Germany to become first European state to allow ‘third gender’ birth certificates
Germany, 17 August 2013
German parents will no longer be legally obliged to register their newborn child as male or female, and will instead be officially allowed to assign the baby a “third gender” if the sex cannot be clearly identified at birth. The new law will come into force on November 1. Read more...
Historic Ruling Confirms LGBTI Rights as Internationally Recognized
United States, 14 August 2013
Springfield, MA – Today, in a first-of-its kind case brought by a Ugandan LGBTI advocacy organization against a prominent U.S. anti-gay extremist, a federal judge ruled that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a crime against humanity and that the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people are protected under international law. The ruling means that the case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), a Uganda-based coalition of LGBTI rights and advocacy groups, can move forward over defendant Scott Lively’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. Read more...
Duduzile Zozo murdered, officials silent
South Africa, July 7, 2013 Duduzile Zozo was 26 years old. She lived in Tokoza, east of Johannesburg. Her body was found on 30 June 2013 in her neighbour's yard, her pants was pulled down to her ankles, a toilet brush was forced into her vagina. She was beaten with a concrete brick and clearly suffered as she died. Read our plea for action. Below is a media file we prepared to give context to the situation.
Patricia Mashigo murdered, still no investigation
South Africa, 26 June 2013
Iranti is documenting the death of Patricia Mashigo, a lesbian mother murdered on 21 April 2013 in Daveyton, Johannesburg. The SA Police Services have not yet investigated the case. Instead, the police had stopped Iranti from documenting the case and created bureaucratic obstacles.
We are working with the LGBTI community in Daveyton. We are are holding community workshops on media advocacy training and ways of documenting violence. Produced by the Iranti staff, Jabu Pereira, Kelebogile Nltadi, Selogadi Mampane, Zikhona Gqozo and Ayanda Msiza. See complete story...
If you have any thoughts or views on how we can take our advocacy further we would love to hear from you.