Posts Tagged 'David Bahati'

Further U.S. Efforts to Protect Human Rights in Uganda

Statement from The White House
Written by Grant Harris and Stephen Pomper

Our hopes for a more peaceful and just world depend on respect for the rights and dignity of all people. It is for this reason that our foreign policy champions human rights and opposes violence and discrimination that targets people because of who they are and whom they love. President Obama’s groundbreaking Presidential Memorandum of December 6, 2011 reflected this commitment by directing the federal government to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT people abroad.

We have seen extraordinary advances for LGBT rights in the United States and in many countries around the world. But some governments have challenged this progress, with results that not only endanger local LGBT communities, but also pose a setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice, and equal rights.

The Government of Uganda’s enactment of the “Anti-Homosexuality Act” is precisely such a step in the wrong direction. As President Obama made clear in February, the enactment of the AHA is more than an affront to the LGBT community in Uganda — it calls into question the Government of Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all its people, and complicates our bilateral relationship.

After thorough consideration, the U.S. government is taking a number of actions to underscore the critical importance we place on human rights and fighting against discrimination, protecting vulnerable populations, respecting freedom of expression and association, and advancing inclusive governance. In particular:

  • Restricting entry to the United States. We want human rights abusers, worldwide, to know their misdeeds are not unnoticed and would-be human rights abusers to understand that there are consequences for engaging in such actions. The State Department is therefore taking steps consistent with its current authorities (including Presidential Proclamation 8697) to restrict the entry into the United States of specific Ugandan individuals involved in serious violations or abuses of human rights, including those determined to have committed such violations or abuses against LGBT individuals. While we will not identify the individuals whom we have watch-listed in line with confidentiality requirements, this step makes clear our commitment to sanctioning individuals determined to have perpetrated human rights abuses or who are responsible for such acts in the future. In addition, the United States will also take steps consistent with current authorities to restrict entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption.
  • Ceasing support for Uganda’s community policing program. We are very concerned about the extent to which the Ugandan police may be involved in abusive activities undertaken in the name of implementing the AHA. These concerns relate to the April 3 raid on a U.S.-funded public health program at Makerere University, as well as credible reports of individuals detained and abused while in police custody. Therefore, even as we continue to press the police at every level to fulfill their responsibility to protect all Ugandans, we will also be discontinuing a $2.4 million program in support for the Uganda Police Force community-policing program.
  • Redirecting certain financial support for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to other partners. We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the health needs of the Ugandan people, but we seek to invest in partners and programs that share our commitment to equal access and our evidence-based approach to medicine and science. We are accordingly shifting a portion of our financial support for MOH salaries, travel expenses, and other items to health-related activities being undertaken by non-governmental partners in Uganda. These modifications will focus on MOH central headquarters staff in order to avoid negatively affecting health care workers and direct service providers in Uganda.
  • Relocating funds for a planned public health institute and other measures relating to health programming. For similar reasons, we are relocating to another African country the planned establishment of a National Public Health Institute, for which we would have provided approximately $3 million in funding. We have also relocated a National Institutes of Health genomics meeting from Uganda to South Africa.
  • Cancelling a military aviation exercise. We have also cancelled plans to conduct the Department of Defense’s Africa Partnership Flight exercise in Uganda. This was intended to be a United States African Command (AFRICOM)-sponsored aviation exercise with other East African partners.

These steps are in addition to the measures that we announced in March. Among other things, we took steps at that time to redirect funding away from program implementers whose actions called into question their willingness to serve all people in need, to shift certain military and intelligence engagements to other locations, and to suspend certain near-term invitational travel for Ugandan military and police officials.

In taking the measures that we have described, the U.S. government is mindful of the wide range of issues encompassed by our relationship with Uganda — including our development and humanitarian support for the Ugandan people, our efforts to counter the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, and a partnership that advances our security interests in the region. We will seek to advance these interests while also working with both governmental and non-governmental partners to end discrimination against LGBT people in Uganda and around the world — a struggle central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.

Grant Harris currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Council. Stephen Pomper is the Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council.

Commentary by Rev. Canon Albert Ogle: An eyewitness to homophobia, from Uganda to the UN

Rev. Albert Ogle

Photo credit: Albert Ogle/Facebook

repost from SDGLN

The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle – Special to SDGLN
June 10th, 2011

Editor’s note: Albert Ogle writes: “This week, I travelled from Kampala, Uganda to the United Nations where the global community is debating its priorities for HIV in the next five years. My week began with the homophobic celebration of Ugandan Martyrs Day in Kampala, talking and working with the persecuted LGBT community and praying at the grave of David Kato. It has ended in the UN General Assembly where the role and existence of the LGBT global community is not only questioned but has not even been mentioned in the draft Declaration that will be voted upon this Friday.”

Interpretation of history, particularly religious history, must always be done with the meticulous skill of a surgeon, or the patient may die. Left to the devices of amateurs or God forbid, politicians, lots of people will remain seriously wounded or die.

Interpretation of history, at its highest calling, must be to enable the healing of the past and repair some kind of communal “wound.” The Jewish concept of “repairing the world” while avoiding humanity’s most dangerous sin – amnesia — remains a constant theme engrained in holy Scriptures and epic stories.

“Remembering rightly” is ultimately about community health and survival. Simply put, when history is deliberately distorted, we get in trouble and repeat the mistakes of the past. Continue reading at SDGLN

“Kill the Gays” Bill Author Vows To Push Bill In New Parliament

repost from Box Turtle Bulletin

Uganda’s independent Sunday Monitor this morning has published an interview with MP David Bahati, sponsor of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, in which he reiterated that the close of the 8th Parliament was simply “pressing the pause button.” He told Monitor reporter Philippa Croome that the bill’s death penalty “is something we have moved away from,” despite the fact that the death penalty has not been removed at all. In fact, the recommendation from the Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Committee, which was given jurisdiction over the bill, recommended striking the phrase “shall suffer death” and replacing it with the phrase “shall suffer the penalty provided for aggravated defilement under Section 129 of the Penal Code Act.” Section 129 itself calls for the death penalty, which means that if the committee’s recommendations were adopted the death penalty would remain in place. It just wouldn’t be so obvious to those who don’t know what Section 129 specifies. Continue Reading.

Take action against the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda.

Ugandan Embassy, London. (AFP/Getty Images)

From our Friends at AllOut.org

Conservative lawmakers in Uganda are working to advance a bill that would sentence LGBT people to death. That’s right, death for countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda.  We just learned the “kill the gays” bill could come up for a vote in the next 72 hours (1) if we don’t act now.

A conservative leader recently presented the Ugandan parliament with 2 million signatures in support of the law (2). They are trying hard to push the bill forward before the millions like us who oppose it have a chance to speak out. We need to create an international outcry to stop this bill and we need to do it fast.

We have 72 hours to act: can you sign this petition to President Museveni demanding that he publicly vow to veto this hateful bill?  As soon as you sign, please pass it on to everyone you know. Our best chance at stopping the bill is each other—if thousands of us spread the word we can make clear that the world is watching and we will not allow this to stand.

www.allout.org/uganda

While some conservative members of parliament have staked their political careers on this bill (3), Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni has shown himself to be sensitive to international pressure.  Last year, a massive response from people around the world pushed him to stop the bill in its tracks.

A broad coalition of human rights activists, including Bishop Christopher Senyonjo (4), an internationally respected religious leader and outspoken supporter of LGBT equality in Uganda, will deliver our petitions directly to the President.  Will you please take a moment to speak up for what’s right:

www.allout.org/uganda

This terrible bill is part of a pattern from conservatives in Uganda to marginalize pro-democracy forces – in recent weeks, opposition activists have been beaten, teargassed, jailed and even killed (5).   And In the last year LGBT Ugandans have been repeatedly targeted, attacked, and murdered—like beloved activist David Kato (6), murdered just months after a local tabloid published his picture under the headline, “Uganda’s Top Homos: Hang Them.”(7). Others have been driven out of the country as refugees, and sometimes even threatened abroad by the government (8).

Enough is enough.  Please sign this petition to Ugandan president Museveni, demanding that he veto the bill should it be passed in Parliament–and then pass it on to all of your friends.

www.allout.org/uganda

This is so important.  Thank you.

All best and All Out,
Andre, Erika, Guillaume, Jeremy, Joseph, Prerna, Nita, Oli, Tile, Wesley and the rest of the team at All Out

PS – The bill won’t just target LGBT Ugandans – Nurses and doctors could be jailed for failing to “turn in” their patients. And neighbors would be obliged to “report gay activity.” (9) Please sign and share the petition now: http://www.allout.org/uganda

Is Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill being used to blind the World?

Press Release from Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional law Uganda (CSCHRCL)

Just days after opposition leader Colonel Kizza Besigye was deliberately blinded with pepper spray while on his way to work, the internationally reviled Anti-Homosexuality Bill was brought back to Parliament for public hearings in preparation for the second reading. Speculation is rife that the Bill, once believed to have been permanently shelved by Cabinet in light of its many absurdities, is being used to blind the world to everything else that is going on in Uganda right now. Alternatively that re-opening the discussion about a backwards looking and harmful proposal is symptomatic of a more general problem of weak governance.

Whatever the case may be, Uganda is struggling to come to terms with rampant inflation, teargas and mass arrests on an unprecedented scale: As civil society protests the draconian crack-down on protesters and opposition, it is clear that if the hate-filled Kill the Gays Bill is passed, it will finish the process of burying alive not just the sexual minorities of Uganda, but also all those who support the principles of constitutionalism, human rights for all, inclusivity, and democratic governance.

Continue reading the press release here.

More information on the Anti-Homosexuality bill can be found here

David Bahati continues to push for Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill

AP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi

The Council hopes that this is just a last desperate act by MP Bahati as the curtain closes on the current parliament in Uganda.  We urge the United States to hold President Museveni to his assurance that this bill will not become law, even if the death penalty is removed.

Read reports about recent developments from the Associated Press and Box Turtle Bulletin.

Ungandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill may be debated again

NTV, a Ugandan television station, reports that the Ugandan Parliament may again begin debates of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality bill during the parliaments lame duck session which is set to begin on March 22.

see also: Frank Amendment on the Persecution of Sexual and Religious Minorities Passes the House Financial Services Committee


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