LGBT Ugandans: Here’s how you can help us

Logo of Uganda's Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law

Logo of Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law

Ugandan supporters of human rights, including LGBT rights, have published  guidelines for their local and international allies on how best to fight against the country’s new Anti-Homosexuality Law.

Travel advisories; advocacy by celebrities, businesses and churches;  strategically targeted aid cuts, but not general aid cuts, are among the actions endorsed by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL), the Ugandan coalition of organizations opposed to the law.

Here is the CSCHRCL’s press release:

Updated guidelines on how National, International and Regional partners can support Ugandan LGBTI Persons and their allies

March 3, 2014

Dear Partners, Friends and Colleagues,
We thank you for all the support you have accorded the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL) in its fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (the Bill) over the years. We specifically thank you for the support since the Parliament of Uganda passed the Bill on 20th December 2013.

Unfortunately, despite the intensive work that has been done since 2009 to stop the passage of this draconian bill into law, President Yoweri Museveni Kaguta of the Republic of Uganda on Monday 24th February 2014 signed the Bill into Law. We now have to work with the reality of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (2014).

These guidelines are intended to all our partners on how to support the CSCHRCL in this new context:

1. Speaking out: It is very critical that we continue to speak out against the law and its implications in terms of security of the LGBTI community, their allies, and the general implications of the Act on the work around public health and human rights in general. Important to Note: In all communication about the impact of the law, please refer to the shrinking and deteriorating policy space that civil society is experiencing; not only about this human rights issue, but about “mainstream” human rights as well: Uganda’s track record is bad, and is getting worse, and these issues are related. In this regard please also be aware of the Anti-Pornography Act and the Public Order Management Act when discussing the situation of civil society activists in Uganda.

During this Global Day of Action protest in London, Amnesty International staff handed over 86,169 signatures to the Ugandan High Commission in London, calling for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be scrapped. (Photo courtesy of Amnesty International)

During a recent Global Day of Action protest in London, Amnesty International staff handed over 86,169 signatures to the Ugandan High Commission in London, calling for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be scrapped. (Photo courtesy of Amnesty International)

2. Worldwide demonstrations. We call upon all partners, friends and allies to organize demonstrations in different cities around the world now as this Act is set to have detrimental effects for all of us. We all MUST continue to speak out. These could include demonstrations at the Ugandan embassy in your country, or asking your place of worship to organize a vigil.

heineken-logo3. Call on multinational companies that have businesses in Uganda to go public about their concerns on the Act and their future economic engagements in Uganda. For example Heineken, KLM, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Barclays Bank, and other companies with important interests in Uganda and that already respect and value LGBT rights in their own internal policies, should note the risk that these laws pose for the safety of their own employees, as well as the impact on their brand image of continuing to do business in Uganda.

4. Issue statements condemning the passage of the Bill into Law. We need the Government to know that they shall not get away with their actions. These statements should reflect the other human rights violations in the country, not just about LGBTI rights. Please always alert us to any such statements, whichever language they are written in, such that we may either post them on our website (ugandans4rights.org) or a link to your website.

Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch minister of  foreign trade and aid, announced that €7 million (US$9.6 million) in aid to the Ugandan judiciary system would be stopped, but €16 million (US$22 million) for food and improved human rights would continue.

Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch minister of foreign trade and aid, announced that €7 million (US$9.6 million) in aid to the Ugandan judiciary system would be stopped, but €16 million (US$22 million) for food and improved human rights would continue.

5. The question of cutting donor aid has arisen. Our position on this is very clear. We do not support General Aid Cuts to Uganda. We do not want the people of Uganda to suffer because of the unfortunate Political choices of our government. However, we support Strategic Aid Cuts to specific sectors, such as the Dutch Government’s decision to withdraw funding from the Justice Sector. We encourage urgent review of aid to organizations and government institutions that have failed to demonstrate respect for Human Rights and those that have been actively supporting this bill. We DO NOT support cuts in support to NGO’s and other civil society institutions that offer life saving health services or other important social services to the People of Uganda.

6. Partners should expand investment in funding for service delivery and advocacy in defiance of the law, targeting LGBT populations, to attempt to mitigate the harmful impact this law will have on access to services, and on human rights.

7. We encourage you to lobby your Government’s Immigration Services to adjust their asylum policy with regard to LGBTI persons from Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, Cameroon and other countries in which levels of state-sponsored homophobia are rapidly rising.

8. We further request that you send us information on which organizations can be helpful in assisting the individuals who are at risk if the situation gets worse and they have to get out of the country and seek asylum or relocation elsewhere.

Facebook logo

Facebook logo

9. We request you to prepare for Urgent Actions given that LGBTI people or people doing work around LGBTI rights are increasingly liable to being arrested. Urgent actions could include sending messages to the Uganda Government to protest such arrests, use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, to raise awareness that arrests have happened, contacting your own embassies in Uganda to voice your concerns.

10. Call for your governments to issue travel advisories on Uganda, and remind them that they have a duty to protect and therefore should take responsibility for alerting their own LGBTI citizens to the risks of traveling to Uganda.

11. Contact travel companies to urge them to also routinely issue such travel advisories to their customers (on the same principle that tobacco products must have a health warning visibly displayed, so flights and package holidays should have warnings of the risks of traveling to Uganda!)

12. Get more foreign leaders in foreign governments to say something about the Act as they have not come out strongly as it was expected.

Whoopi Goldberg to the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria: "You're on the wrong side of history." (Click image to watch the video.)

Whoopi Goldberg to the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria: “You’re on the wrong side of history.” (Click image to watch the video.)

13. Get celebrities to say something against the Act. We need more voices that Ugandans recognize and revere socially to speak out against this Law.

14. Get more international aid groups especially those responding to HIV/AIDS work to say something for example: USAID, Pepfar, CDC, Global Fund and others.

15. Use your influence and work or networks to encourage and pressure more African leaders to speak out against the rising levels of homophobia through state sanctioned Anti Gay laws.

16. Engage with any non-LGBTI partner organizations in Uganda that you may collaborate with or whom you fund to issue statements condemning the passage of the AHB and its implications to the work of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Remind them that this Bill is going to further shrink NGO spaces and is bound to affect the work they are doing.

17. Draw international public attention to issues such as corruption, human trafficking, nodding disease in northern Uganda, land-grabbing, as well as the suppression of media freedom and civil society space, the Public Order Management Act so that attention shifts to where it properly belongs; in the best interests of the country’s population as a whole. We need to step up public criticism to other negative trends in Uganda and remind the world that this Act is being used as a tool to divert attention from other pertinent issues that Ugandans are facing.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, in January called on leaders of the whole church, as well as the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, to support and care for all people “regardless of sexual orientation.”

18. Get religious leaders of all faiths (Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Protestant, Seventh Day Adventists, Quakers, etc.) to issue statements encouraging tolerance and respect for human rights for all Ugandans and Africans.

19. Call for your governments to ‘recall’ ambassadors back to their respective Capitals for at least one week for strategic consultations on how to move forward when dealing with Uganda and Nigeria in regards to the two draconian laws. This will give the Ugandan government food for thought.
20. Contribute physical, financial, or technical support to the Coalition and the LGBTI community as well as the exposed Human Rights Defenders working on LGBTI rights who are likely to begin to be arrested and charged or otherwise persecuted. Financial and technical support for challenging the Act in the Constitutional Court and the East African Court of Justice.

For More information Contact:
Jeffrey Ogwaro : jogwaro@gmail.com /ahbcoalition.coordinator@gmail.com Tel: +256 782176069
Clare Byarugaba: clarebyaru@gmail.com /ahbcoalition.coordinator@gmail.com Tel:+256 774068663
Kasha Jacqueline: jnkasha@gmail.com Tel: +256 772463161
Frank Mugisha : frankmugisha@gmail.com Tel: +256 772616062
Pepe Julian Onziema: onziema@gmail.com + Te: +25 772370674

Related articles

 

About Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart, a 40-year journalism veteran, is publisher and an editor of the "Erasing 76 Crimes" blog. More profile information on Google+. Colin Stewart, un vétéran du journalisme de 40 ans, est éditeur et rédacteur en chef du blog "Erasing 76 Crimes." Plus d'informations de profil sur Google+.
This entry was posted in Africa (Sub Saharan), Anti-LGBT laws and legislation, International pressure for LGBT rights and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to LGBT Ugandans: Here’s how you can help us

  1. Pingback: 2 scary tales of Ugandan gay activists; you can help | 76 CRIMES

  2. Pingback: Europe targets anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria | 76 CRIMES

  3. Pingback: Europe targets anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria | MasterAdrian's Weblog

  4. Pingback: LGBT activist from Congo arrested, beaten in Uganda | 76 CRIMES

  5. Pingback: Uganda moves slowly on anti-gay law | 76 CRIMES

  6. Pingback: Family rejection, threats follow anti-gay Ugandan law | 76 CRIMES

  7. Pingback: As activists advise, no U.K. travel ban on anti-gay Ugandans | 76 CRIMES

  8. Pingback: Prominent Ugandan gay activist seeks U.S. asylum | 76 CRIMES

  9. Pingback: Ugandan activists to U.S.: Thanks for heeding our advice | 76 CRIMES

  10. Pingback: Germany blocks Ugandans’ trip to safety seminar | 76 CRIMES

  11. Pingback: Ugandan viewpoint: ‘a dead activist is not a good activist’ | 76 CRIMES

  12. Pingback: 2 low-risk ways to seek LGBT rights in Africa | 76 CRIMES

  13. Pingback: Seethingly angry at anti-gay distortions of Christian teachings | 76 CRIMES

  14. Pingback: Museveni: Put padlocks on your private parts | 76 CRIMES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s