Posts Tagged 'David Kato'

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

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

Laws criminalizing homosexuality are incompatible with international human rights standards and fuel homophobia

repost from UNHCR website

Laws criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults remain on the statute books in more than 70 countries. They are an affront to principles of equality and non-discrimination and fuel hatred and violence—in effect giving homophobia a State-sanctioned seal of approval. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon have both called for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality and for further measures to counter discrimination and prejudice directed at those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). In recent months, a series of incidents and developments have underscored the extent and the urgency of the challenge. Continue reading the story.

The Sudden Rise of a Pro-Gay Foreign Policy in the United States

repost from Huffington Post

by Javier Corrales | Professor of Political Science at Amherst College

The Obama administration is often criticized for betraying gay rights. Despite having helped repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, critics still charge that the White House continually reneges on its pledge to work hard to end marriage bans and gay bashing. Yet, on another unnoticed front, the administration has actually gone far beyond anything ever promised. The administration is taking steps to establish the first pro-gay foreign policy in the history of the United States.

So far, this foreign policy effort is off to a good start. But unless a more systematic approach is taken, the administration’s baby steps will remain just that: a decent impulse with little reach.

Arguably, the administration’s first steps have been laudable. In January, President Obama issued a public condemnation of the killing of gay activist David Kato in Uganda and of five members of the LGBT community in Honduras. In reality, Obama is merely treading behind the footsteps of Hillary Clinton, whom the The Advocate, a magazine covering LGBT news recently described as the “fiercest advocate” of gay rights in the administration. In fact, Clinton was the first first lady to march in a gay pride parade eleven years ago. Today, she intends to become the first secretary of state to make the State Department pro-gay.

Clinton’s mission is simple: eliminate “violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” anywhere in the world. She declared this in a speech in June 2010, in which she also called on U.S. ambassadors and foreign governments to join this battle. She even designated staff to work on ways to advance LGBT rights, created funds to help victims of hate crimes abroad, and even came up with a new slogan — “Human rights are gay rights, and gay rights are human rights,” an adaptation of a similar slogan she once used on behalf of woman’s rights. Continue reading article on the Huffington Post

Congressman Payne Joins LGBT Caucus to Honor the Life of Ugandan Human Rights Activist David Kato

Donald Payne (D) New Jersey

Congressman Donald Payne

Tenth District – New Jersey

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2011
Contact: Algene Sajery or Natalie Chwalisz (202) 226-7812

Congressman Payne Joins LGBT Caucus to Honor the Life of Ugandan Human Rights Activist David Kato

Calls on the Government of Uganda to Protect the Basic Human Rights of All its Citizens

Washington, DC –Yesterday, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and Congressman Barney Frank, Jared Polis, David Cicilline, together with Congressman Donald Payne, sponsored a briefing to highlight violence against sexual minorities in Uganda and honor the life of human rights activist and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) Advocacy Officer, David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home last month.

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights released the following statement:
“My condolences go out to the friends and family of David Kato, whose courage and devotion in the face of adversity will forever be respected by defenders of human rights around the world. David dedicated his life to advocating for the universal human rights of Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.   Through dedicated and brave public service, he worked to improve the lives of minority populations in Uganda and was an inspiration to human rights defenders around the world”.

“David’s work was just beginning to bear fruit when he was tragically taken from us.  In October 2010 due to the steadfast advocacy of David and other courageous Ugandan activists, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) determined that Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” violates international human rights standards and the Ugandan Constitution.  On January 3, Uganda’s High Court determined that the publication of names and photographs of individuals suspected to be gay or lesbian by local media violates Ugandan’s constitutional right to privacy and human dignity”.

Now Ugandan authorities must work to ensure that David’s death was not in vein. I call on Ugandan authorities to actively investigate David’s murder and to take immediate steps to protect its citizens from future discriminatory acts and campaigns rooted in misperception, fear and ignorance. Ugandan authorities should speak out against hate speech that contributes to discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community and other minorities.
“During my many years of travel across the African continent, I have met hundreds of human and civil rights activists like David Kato.  Impressed by their courage and strength, I am always sure to let them know that America stands with them and that they should never give up on their commitment to justice and equality for all.  We all share a responsibility to denounce violence against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity wherever it may occur.  We must respect the basic human rights of all people.”
###

NYC Vigil to Remember David Kato

When: February 3, 2011 4:00 pm
Where: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (E 47th street and Second ave). Vigil will be followed by a procession to Uganda House 336 East 45th Street.

Who: The keynote speech will be delivered by Val Kalende, Board Chair of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an LBT organization in Uganda.

Recently added speakers include:
Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council

Additional speakers include:
* Cary Alan Johnson (International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission)
* Reverend Kapya Kaoma (Public Research Associates)
* Amanda Lugg (African Services Committee)
* Kagendo Murungi (Wapinduzi Productions)
* Pastor Joseph Tolton (Global Justice Initiative)
* Dr. Cheikh Traore
* Invited guests include United States and New York City government officials.
* Speaker list in formation.

On Thursday, February 3rd, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and other concerned organizations* will hold a peaceful vigil near the Ugandan Mission to the United Nations in New York City to remember the life of David Kato, Ugandan LGBT human rights defender, murdered on January 26 in his home. View the facebook event page.

The vigil will honor his struggle for human rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or g ender identity. Join us in mourning David and showing the Ugandan government that there must be no more violence and discrimination against LGBT Ugandans.

Co-sponsors include:
ACT UP/New York
African Services Committee
American Jewish World Service
Amnesty International
amfAR
The Foundation for AIDS Research
ARC International
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies
Center for Women’s Global Leadership
Council for Global Equality
Freedom and Roam Uganda
Gay By God
The Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Global Forum on MSM & HIV
Global Justice Ministry
Health Global Access Project (GAP)
House Of Rainbow Fellowship
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Immigration Equality
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch
National Black Justice Coalition
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
The New York City Anti-Violence Project 
None on Record
Political Research Associates
The Queer African Youth Networking Center
Queers for Economic Justice
Sexual Minorities Uganda
Stonewall Community Foundation
St. Paul’s Foundation For International Reconciliation
Wapinduzi Productions

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