Iran campaign seeks end to coerced LGBT sex changes

Click image to read "Pathologizing Identities, Paralyzing Bodies: Human Rights Violations Against Gay, Lesbian and Transgender People in Iran"

Click image to read “Pathologizing Identities, Paralyzing Bodies: Human Rights Violations Against Gay, Lesbian and Transgender People in Iran”

Iranian activists are making a new push for recognition of the human rights of LGBT people in Iran, in particular for an end to the nation’s coercive advocacy of sex-change surgery for LGBT people.

Shadi Amin, coordinator of the Iranian lesbian and transgender network 6Rang, writes:

As you are aware, Iran is one of the countries where homosexuality is criminalised. Its state policies, media, health care and education are designed to demonise and deny the very existence of homosexuals.

The Islamic Republic authorities take pride in the medical provisions for gender reassignment surgeries and reparative procedures, while the very medical experts involved with the system admit to procedures involving misinformation and malpractice harming thousands of citizens whose identity and inalienable rights hinge on forced policies and procedures. For more than three decades now, the Iranian LGBT community have suffered horrific violations of their rights in silence, even losing their lives, all because of their sexual identity.

Marjan Ahouraee, a 29-year-old Iranian transsexual refugee, hoped to be resettled in Canada but never made it, 6Rang reports. She died due to lack of access to proper health services and of complications from pneumonia in April 2013 in Turkey.

Marjan Ahouraee, a 29-year-old Iranian transsexual
refugee, hoped to be resettled in Canada
but never made it, 6Rang reports. She died due to lack of access
to proper health services and of complications
from pneumonia in April 2013 in Turkey.

During Istanbul Pride 2014 the Iranian LGBT community emerged on world stage. This was in no small part due to two factors. First, the launch of a ground-breaking report on legal and medical human rights violations of lesbian and transgender citizens in Iran [Pathologizing Identities, Paralyzing Bodies (June 2014)] and, second, the first-ever participation of an Iranian LGBT organisation in a Pride march.

Following our success in Istanbul, we plan to hold our next panel during Stockholm Pride on Aug. 1, 2014. We hope to draw greater attention to the plight of an entire community in desperate need of getting out of a closet that has been locked up in their faces unless their bodies are torn away by doctors who fail to recognize their inherent dignity.

The new report, as part of Justice for Iran (JFI) and 6Rang’s joint campaign “No to Forced Sex Change,” was launched on Thursday, June 26, 2014, with a panel presenting in Farsi, English and Turkish. The march took place on Sunday, June 29, joining thousands from all corners of the globe. Both were sponsored by the 6Rang Iranian lesbian and transgender network, and Justice for Iran, two non-governmental organisations fighting for access to human rights for all citizens living under the Islamic republic of Iran.

Pathologizing Identities, Paralyzing Bodies documents in-depth interviews with more than 80 lesbian, transgender and gay Iranians. The report findings illustrate that Islamic Republic policies on forced sex change and criminalisation of same-sex relations are in fact supplementary policies that leave LGBT citizens with no choice but to undergo unnecessary, and often uninformed and unwanted reparative procedure and reassignment surgeries, in order to access their most basic rights. One female-to-male transgender describes his experience of gender reassignment surgery in Iran as follows:

“It was the worst night that I have ever experienced in life… removing my breasts, ovaries and uterus all at once. I was in pain and bleeding. And then came the section’s nurse, the one who was responsible for changing the urine bag. He forced the urinal tube inside my vagina and said in a sick voice, “don’t you like this? Why did you have an operation? Wasn’t it such a waste?”

Rage, pain, cruelty, abuse — I experienced them all that night.

The next morning, I told the head of the ward about my experience. He asked, “They didn’t rape you, did they?”

I said: “No, but they did all those other things to me.”

He said: “Go and thank God that you weren’t raped!

This and other cases involving humiliation, abuse and torture haunt thousands of citizens in Iran at the hands of governmental and medical authorities. For those who have no means of leaving Iran, they have no choice but to face such dire adversities in order to survive. For others, they must bid farewell to all they have ever known in order to make a new home in a different land and live with their true gender identity.

Islamic Republic policies, Iranian cultural norms and familial standards leave transgender and lesbians in Iran among the most neglected and abused segments of the Iranian population. Theirs is a cause that has yet to receive the urgent attention they deserve.

Our initial experience at Istanbul 2014 has proven that now the conditions are propitious for championing this cause.

Following our success in Istanbul, we plan to attend Stockholm Pride with a panel on Aug. 1, at RFSL [the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in] Stockholm.

For more information, see the report “Stop Reparative Therapies & Mandatory Sex Reassignment Surgeries: Homophobia, Transphobia and Health Care Abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran,”  (in PDF), prepared by 6Rang and JFI with support from Hivos.

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Iran data show growing coercion of LGBT sex changes

Logo of 6Rang

Logo of 6Rang

Iran’s coercive advocacy of sex-change surgery for LGBT people has become a growing problem in recent years, says the Iranian lesbian and transgender network 6Rang, which has launched a campaign against the practice

These timelines demonstrate the magnitude of the problem:

1973: Iranian press reports on the first case of sex reassignment surgery.

1976: Iran Medical Association declares sex-reassignment operations ethically unacceptable, except in intersex cases.

Ayatollah Khomeini (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Ayatollah Khomeini (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

1985: Ayatollah Khomeini issues fatwa sanctioning sex-reassignment surgeries.

2005: Dr. Mir-Jalali, a Tehran-based general surgeon, states in an interview with the Guardian that he has performed 320 sex-reassignment operations between 1993 and 2005, around 250 of which involved male-to-female transitions. He said that, in a European country, he would have carried out fewer than 40 such procedures over the same period. “The reason for the discrepancy … is Iran’s strict ban on homosexuality,” he says.

2008: Iran reportedly performs more sex-reassignment surgeries than any other country except Thailand, leading some Western journalists to describe Iran as “a paradise for transsexuals.”

2014: In an interview with the Ghanoon Daily, Dr. Mehrad Baghaie, general surgeon specialized in plastic and reconstructive microsurgery, states that he has performed “over one hundred” male-to-female
surgeries.

2014: Dr. Soudabeh Oskouyee, a general surgeon in the field of sex reassignment surgeries, states that since 2001, she has performed between 30 and 40 surgeries every month.

Growing numbers of applications for sex-change permits
(Latest available figures)

  • 2006 — 170 applications.
  • 2007 — 297 applications.
  • 2008 — 294 applications.
  • 2009 — 286 applications.
  • 2010 — 319 applications

Source: Legal Medicine Organization of Iran

Scene from "Be Like Others," a 2008 documentary about sex-change operations in Iran. (Photo courtesy of nteractive.wxxi.org and www.al-monitor.com)

Scene from “Be Like Others,” a 2008 documentary about sex-change operations in Iran. (Photo courtesy of nteractive.wxxi.org and http://www.al-monitor.com)

Increasing proportion of requests for female-to-male sex-change permits

2006
59.4% male-to-female applicants
40.6% female-to-male applicants

2007
67.7 % male-to-female applicants
32.3% female-to-male applicants

2008
59.5% male-to-female applicants
40.5% female-to-male applicants

2009
46.5% male-to-female applicants
53.5% female-to-male applicants

2010
49.5% male-to-female applicants
50.5% female-to-male applicants

6Rang states that the frequency of female-to-male operations is much higher in Iran than in Western European and North American countries, where the number of male-to-female transsexuals is 5 to 8 times higher than that of female-to-male candidates. Legal, social and cultural constraints experienced by women such as compulsory wearing of the hijab create a strong incentive for lesbians and female-to-male transgenders to opt for a sex change.

Official process for changing gender in Iran

In order to change their legal gender, transgender people in Iran are required to:

  • Obtain a psychiatric diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder.”
  • Receive an official sex reassignment permit, provided by the Prosecutor on the recommendation of the Legal Medicine Organization of Iran (LMOI).
  • Undergo Hormone therapy, sterilization and genital reassignment surgeries
  • Apply to Court and the National Organization for Civil Registration for name change and identification.

These data come from the report “Stop Reparative Therapies & Mandatory Sex Reassignment Surgeries: Homophobia, Transphobia and Health Care Abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran,”  prepared by 6Rang and JFI with support from Hivos.

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In Ugandan court, ‘tomorrow is the big day’

Scene at Ugandan Constitutional Court hearing on challenge to the Anti-Homosexuality Act. (Photo courtesy of HRAPF via MambaOnline.com)

Scene at Ugandan Constitutional Court hearing on challenge to the Anti-Homosexuality Act. (Photo courtesy of HRAPF via MambaOnline.com)

Judges in the Ugandan Constitutional Court have scheduled a key ruling for tomorrow in the challenge to the legitimacy of the country’s harsh new Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Yesterday the signs had seemed to point to a ruling today, as noted in yesterday’s  blog post, “Ugandan court might overturn anti-gay law tomorrow.” But instead today’s court session was devoted to legal arguments over whether the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was passed without a quorum present in parliament and whether that was cause to overturn the law.

“Tomorrow is the big day,” says Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda (HRAPF).

Principal State Attorney Patricia Mutesi argued today that the plaintiffs had not proven that a quorum was lacking. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga failed to perform her duty of ascertaining whether a quorum was present when the issue was raised.

One gay-friendly observer in the courtroom — Ugandan anthropologist and social science researcher Stella Nyanzi —- reported on the scene and on the government’s forceful response to the plaintiffs’ arguments:

Lead Justice Steven Kavuma

Lead Justice Steven Kavuma

Principal State Attorney Patricia Mutesi is brilliant! She made a strong argument in her REALLY convincing submissions. I am standing with the petitioners in this case, but I was impressed by the twists, turns and thinking that this Counsel unleashed. Powerful bulb-moments in her argument included:

1) The petitioners’ allegation that Parliament flaunted the Constitution and the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure is a matter of fact that requires evidence.

2) The evidence that the petitioners provided proves that the Speaker of Parliament did not ascertain that there was quorum, however this cannot be translated to amount to evidence that there was no quorum.

3) The Prime Minister’s statement is not evidence of the existence or absence of quorum, but rather it is evidence that he raised a challenge to the Speaker of Parliament that there was no quorum.

4) The Evidence Act requires even the Constitutional Court to exercise judicial power in accordance with the law and established principles of court.

5) The allegation of lack of quorum is a hypothetical question that cannot be answered based on the evidence provided. Doing so would be very speculative.

The rejoinder made by Counsels Caleb Araka, Jane Francis Onyango and Nicholas Opiyo strongly reiterated the gist of our petition, as well as the gist of our prayers. It was all like an episode from those captivating movies about legal suits. Court was adjourned until tomorrow at 09:30AM when we shall receive the decision of the judges on this first tier of issues in this amazingly historical petition. Aluta Continua!

Jjuuko’s report on today’s proceedings provides additional information with less personal commentary:

Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)

Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)

Today court opened with the State submitting on the issue of quorum. PSA Patricia Mutesi argued that the Petitioners had not proved that there was no quorum that day since the Hansards [records of parliamentary debates] on which they seek to rely only record proceedings and not attendance. That the fact that the Speaker did not ascertain quorum as per the Hansards does not prove that there was no quorum that day. The burden of proving that there was no quorum squarely lay on the petitioners and they had not discharged it on a balance of probabilities. She prayed that the court dismisses the petition with costs against the petitioners.

The Petitioners were given an opportunity to respond to this, and they argued that it was the duty of the Speaker to ascertain quorum when the issue was raised. By not doing so, she flouted the Rules of Procedure of Parliament. Parliament cannot deliberately ignore the conditions of law making that are imposed upon them by the Constitution which is the Supreme law of the country. That this was an illegality that nullifies the outcomes of the procedure. As such the law should be struck down for it was passed in a manner inconsistent with the Constitution.

The Court then adjourned until tomorrow at 9.30am when they will make a ruling on the issue of quorum.

The significance of this is that a ruling in favour of the Petitioners effectively disposes of the petition since there would be no need to consider the issues of non-discrimination, privacy, freedom of expression, etc., since the law would have been struck down. A ruling in favour of the state would mean that the Court will continue hearing the matter on the other substantive grounds and make a decision as to whether the law is unconstitutional.

The [plaintiffs'] legal team remains ready to proceed on all the legal issues.

The next steps to take will also be determined by the ruling tomorrow. …

Tomorrow is the big day.

This article was revised July 31 to correct an error in the caption of the photo of Steven Kavuma.

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Ugandan court might overturn anti-gay law tomorrow

Ugandan Constitutional Court session today. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson/Facebook)

Ugandan Constitutional Court session today. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson/Facebook)

Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament (Photo courtesy of In2eastafrica.net)

Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament (Photo courtesy of In2eastafrica.net)

Ugandan opponents of the harsh new Anti-Homosexuality Act are hoping for an immediate victory tomorrow in their Constitutional Court challenge to the legitimacy of the law.

The court is expected to rule tomorrow on whether parliament acted  unlawfully last December when Speaker Rebecca Kadaga called for a vote on the bill when a quorum was lacking.

If the court agrees with that argument, the law is likely to be struck down. If the court disagrees, it will proceed to consider whether the law violates the Ugandan constitution.

The law provides for imprisonment for five to seven years for anyone convicted of “promoting homosexuality” or who “in any way abets homosexuality and related practices.”  (See more provisions of the law in the article “Draconian details of Uganda’s misguided new anti-gay law.“)

The current challenge was brought by LGBT and human rights activists, legal experts and opposition politicians.

Nicholas Opiyo

Nicholas Opiyo

If the court agrees that Parliament broke procedural rules, plaintiffs’ attorney Nicholas Opiyo told BuzzFeed, “it appears … it will dispose of the entire case,” and “it looks likely” that it will decide that tomorrow (Thursday).

The following report on today’s proceedings was prepared by Adrian Jjuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda (HRAPF), who chairs the legal committee of the gay-friendly Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law.

Today, the Constitutional Court of Uganda heard the Petition against the Anti Homosexuality Act as planned.

Five of the Petitioners were in court: Prof. J Oloka-Onyango, Hon. Fox Odoi, Frank Mugisha, Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera and HRAPF. They were represented by five counsel: Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, Caleb Alaka, Francis Onyango, Nicholas Opiyo and Fridah Mutesi. The Attorney General was represented by Principal State Attorney (PSA), Ms. Patricia Mutesi.

Ugandan member of parliament Fox Odoi (Photo courtesy of  ekimeeza.com)

Ugandan member of parliament Fox Odoi (Photo courtesy of ekimeeza.com)

Five Justices of the Constitutional Court [were present]: Hon. Justice S.B.K Kavuma, Hon. Justice A.S Nshimye, Hon. Justice Mwanguhya, Hon. Justice R Opio Aweri, and Hon. Lady Justice Solomy Balungi Bbossa.

The case started with the lead Counsel for the Petitioners, Mr. Rwakafuuzi introducing the legal team and the case for the petitioners, and informing court that the petitioners were ready to proceed.

The PSA raised an objection that the state was not ready to proceed since they had been granted up to 10th September to finalise preparations on the matter. She submitted that they intended to file supplementary affidavits. She wanted the heaing to be restricted to the applications for an interim injunction.

The Justices adjourned court for 20 minutes to deliberate on this. They returned with a ruling that since the state has not filed any application to file affidavits out of time, there was no basis for the PSA’s assertion. They ruled that the hearing of the Petition should go on.

The PSA then asked court to stay the hearing since they intended to appeal the ruling. The Court heard arguments on both sides and once again decided to proceed with the hearing. Court asked Counsel for the Petitioners to submit on Issue no. 1.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted on Issue No. 1 which is on quorum arguing that the Constitution requires the Parliament to have quorum as laid down in the Rules of Procedure before they can pass a bill into law. The Rules of Procedure require the Chairperson (Speaker) to ascertain quorum when the issue is raised. That this was not done in this case, and this makes the procedure through which the Bill was passed unconstitutional.

After submissions, Court adjourned the case for tomorrow July 31st at 9.30am.

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World health agency: Fight AIDS by repealing anti-gay laws

Logo of the World Health Organization

Logo of the World Health Organization

In an understated report, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this month that nations should work to stop the spread of AIDS by removing obstacles to HIV prevention efforts that are caused by laws against homosexual activity, transgender status, sex work and drug use.

Those laws limit health care access for groups that are most at risk for HIV infection, WHO stated — “key populations” that include men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and drug users.

Those groups, along with prisoners, are “disproportionately affected by HIV in all countries and settings,” WHO stated in its report “Consolidated Guidelines on HIV Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Care for Key Populations.”

Those groups are most affected by HIV and get the least attention from  anti-AIDS programs, WHO noted:

“In an analysis of six countries in West Africa, for example, the proportion of new infections occurring in the sexual partners of people considered at “higher-risk” ranged from 20% in Burkina Faso and Nigeria to around 30% in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana and possibly as high as 49% in Senegal.

“Meanwhile, the proportion of HIV prevention expenditures devoted specifically to programmes for sex workers, their clients, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs was 1.7% in Burkina Faso, 0.4% in Côte d’Ivoire and 0.24% in Ghana, whereas the percentage of new infections estimated to occur in these population groups was 30%, 28% and 43%, respectively.”

In addition, the report stated, “Epidemics of HIV in men who have sex with men continue to expand in most countries. In major urban areas HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men is on average 13 times greater than in the general population.”

Alloys Orago, former director of Kenya's National AIDS Control Council.  (Photo courtesy of KenyaForum.com)

Alloys Orago, former director of Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council. (Photo courtesy of KenyaForum.com)

In East Africa, where many countries have laws that are condemned by the WHO report, people looked for ways to accomplish the WHO’s goals without following its recommendations. For example, an article in Africa Review quoted a former leader of Kenya’s anti-AIDS effort:

“The former director of Kenya’s National Aids Control Council (NACC), Alloys Orago, said East Africans should be cautious in implementing the guidelines.

” ‘We should be cautious in implementing the guidelines the way they are expressed given our cultural background. Nonetheless, we can still achieve our objectives without radically changing our laws,’ said Prof Orago.

“The former NACC official added that East African countries should accept that homosexuals, drug users and commercial sex workers do exist and should have access to medical services just like other groups of people.”

The WHO report makes clear recommendations for the repeal of HIV-enabling laws, but only deep inside the body of the text, not in the executive summary. The summary only states:

“Laws, policies and practices should be reviewed and, where necessary, revised by policy-makers and government leaders, with meaningful engagement of stakeholders from key population groups, to allow and support the implementation and scale-up of health-care services for key populations.”

In the body of the report, the recommendations are much less vague:

  • “Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize same-sex behaviours.”
  • “Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration.”
  • “Countries should work toward decriminalization of sex work and elimination of the unjust application of non-criminal laws and regulations against sex workers.”
  • “Countries should work towards legal recognition for transgender people.”
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Cameroon: Slain activist mourned; the fight continues

Memorial mass for Eric Lembembe. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

Memorial mass for Eric Lembembe. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

Ceremony at Eric Lembembe's grave (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

Ceremony at Eric Lembembe’s grave (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

Friends and family of activist journalist Eric Ohena Lembembe gathered in Yaoundé earlier this month to mark the one-year anniversary of his murder by celebrating his life and vowing to continue his fight against AIDS and for justice for LGBTI people in Cameroon.

The mass and memorial celebration was held on July 15 at the headquarters of Camfaids (the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS), which Lembembe co-founded and led. The event, organized by Camfaids, began with a wreath-laying ceremony at Lembembe’s grave in the Etoudi cemetery.

Those who gathered for the Eric Lembembe memorial service include (from left to right) Désiré Claude, Lembembe's former boyfriend; Eitel Ella Ella Joris, executive coordinator of Camfaids; and a representative from the U.S. embassy. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

Those who gathered for the Eric Lembembe memorial service include (from left to right) Désiré Claude, Lembembe’s former boyfriend; Eitel Ella Ella Joris, executive coordinator of Camfaids; and a representative from the U.S. embassy. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

It was attended by Lembembe’s mother, his sister, his former boyfriend Désiré Claude, diplomatic representatives from the embassies of the United States and France, LGBTI-friendly attorneys Alice Nkom and Michel Togué, and supporters from allied associations Humanity First, Lady’s Cooperation, and Adepev (Action for the Development and Fulfillment of Vulnerable People), where Lembembe also worked.

A priest from Kong chapel at Essos celebrated the thanksgiving mass, which featured music by the Sacred Heart choir.

Eitel Ella Ella, executive coordinator of Camfaids, welcomed visitors and recounted some of his memories of Lembembe, as did family members, friends, and representatives of Adepev and Humanity First.

Ella Ella said Lembembe was a lively, enthusiastic person who inspired love and respect as a “crown prince of the LGBT community” while his professional achievements made him one of the world’s greatest activists.

The family of Eric Lembembe visits his grave. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

The family of Eric Lembembe visits his grave. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

“We, your comrades and brothers in arms, hold dear the memory of this brave gladiator who died in defense of those who considered him part of their family,” said Ella Ella.

“With your sacrifice, you were able to change people’s attitudes and move mountains that were obstacles to the oppressed.”

Lembembe was the executive director of Camfaids. He worked in collaboration with several Cameroonian human rights and anti-AIDS organizations such as Alternatives Cameroon and the Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (Adefho). He contributed to a Human Rights Watch report on Cameroon in March 2013 and to recommendations made in May 2013 during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Cameroon before the U.N. Human Rights Council. He was also a reporter for the blog Erasing 76 Crimes and one of the authors of the book “From Wrongs to Gay Rights.”

He was found beaten to death at home in Yaoundé on July 15, 2013.

A year after his murder, investigators have not found his killer. Human rights activists in Cameroon and abroad are calling for a renewed investigation into his death.

Cameroonian authorities’ mishandling of the investigation has been so incompetent and disrespectful that it might lead to new homophobic attacks on innocent LGBTI people by those who conclude that such crimes would not be punished, the activists say.

Mourners at the memorial mass for Eric Lembembe. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

Mourners at the memorial mass for Eric Lembembe. (Photo courtesy of Camfaids)

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Uganda: U.S. picks AIDS contractor, ousts anti-gay group

Cardno provides health services through its Uganda Health Initiatives for the Private Sector project (Photo courtesy of Cardno)

Cardno provides health services through its Uganda Health Initiatives for the Private Sector project (Photo courtesy of Cardno)

The United States has replaced the anti-gay Inter-Religious Council of Uganda as a contractor for HIV / AIDS services in Uganda.

Effective Aug. 1, the work will be done by the international health, infrastructure and environmental services firm Cardno Emerging Markets, the Ugandan New Vision newspaper reported.

Both the United States and Sweden recently announced new aid awards for Uganda.

Shortly after the signing of Uganda’s harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act in February, the United States announced that it was cutting its $6.4 million  funding for the IRCU because of that group’s strong support for the act.

At the same time, Sweden announced that it was redirecting about $1 million  in aid from Uganda’s government to pro-LGBT organizations.

Until now, anti-AIDS funding from the United States continued to flow through the IRCU — “close to $10m for anti-retroviral drugs, HIV prevention and care services for AIDS patients, orphans and vulnerable children annually,” according to New Vision, which said that the “IRCU has been channeling the HIV/AIDS funds from USAID into 19 health facilities and 82 faith-based organizations under the scaling-up comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment program through the faith-based network.”

Leslie Reed, USAID mission to Uganda (Photo courtesy of New Vision)

Leslie Reed, director of the USAID mission in Uganda (Photo courtesy of New Vision)

New Vision cited Leslie Reed, Ugandan mission director for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as the source of the information about the new contract.

Cardno, based in Australia, has affiliated Cardno Emerging Markets companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Africa.

Cardno has previously worked with USAID to encourage income-generating activities for 2 million orphans and families affected by AIDS in Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. It also has been USAID’s contractor for the $17 million Uganda Health Initiatives for the Private Sector project, which helps the Ugandan business community find affordable methods for providing health care to employees, their families and their communities.

Separately last week, the Swedish government announced $200 million  in “development strategy cooperation” for Uganda over the next five years. The money is designated for improving employment, economic growth, and child and maternal health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In making the announcement,  Reuters reported, Hillevi Engstrom, Swedish minister for international development cooperation,  said, “I will specifically monitor the situation of women’s rights and LGBT rights. It is important that LGBT people and others do not become scapegoats because of changes in Swedish aid.”

 

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