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How to help victims of anti-gay laws in Zambia

Map of Zambia shows Kapiri Mposhi, where the men were arrested, and Kabwe, where they are currently jailed.
Map of Zambia shows Kapiri Mposhi and Lusaka, where recent anti-gay arrests have occurred.

How can people help those who are facing criminal charges in Zambia on the basis of their sexual orientation or their advocacy of LGBT rights?

The Southern Africa Litigation Center has a suggestion — write to your government to find out what your embassy in Zambia is doing on this issue.

“Embassies are involved in behind-the-scenes lobbying, but this could be stepped up. … Even if the embassy cannot call on the government to intervene in the trial, it can call on the government to ensure that the trial is speedily concluded,” an SALC activist says.

That strategy would probably be more effective than writing directly to the Zambian government, she says.  After all, Zambian officials are wary of outside pressure and many of them think that the idea of LGBT rights is part of a Western conspiracy.

The defendants in known court cases involving LGBT rights in Zambia are:

  • Philip Mubiana and James Mwape, two young men from Kapiri Mposhi, who have been  jailed for nearly six months without a conviction on charges of homosexual behavior, although no eyewitnesses have emerged.  They are victims of continuing legal delays and the country’s public campaign against homosexuals.
  • AIDS activist Paul Kasonkomona, who is charged with “soliciting for immoral purposes” because he said on television last spring that Zambia should repeal its law against homosexual activity.
  • Two unidentified men who were arrested in Lusaka in August on charges of engaging in consensual sex.

Contact information for several embassies is below.  Readers who have additional information or corrections are invited to share it.

United States.  The embassy’s website lists only an email address for U.S. citizens to use — acslusaka@state.gov.

United Kingdom. The website of the British High Commission in Lusaka lists this contact information:

5210 Independence Avenue, P.O. Box 50050
15101 Ridgeway, Lusaka 10101
Zambia

Email: LusakaGeneralEnquiries@fco.gov.uk

Enquiries by telephone +260 211 423 200

Enquiries by fax +260 211 423 278

European Union. The website of the delegation of the European Union to Zambia lists this contact information:
P. O. Box 34871

Physical address:
Plot 4899, Los Angeles Boulevard, Longacres
Lusaka

Telephone: +260 211.25.07.11 / 25.11.40 / 25.01.79 / 25.55.83 / 25.55.85

Fax: +260 211. 25.23.36 (Reception) / 25.09.06 (HOD)

Email: Delegation-Zambia@eeas.europa.eu

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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