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 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
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
Plot 4899, Los Angeles Boulevard, Longacres
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)
- No bail, no trial; 5+ months in Zambian prison on gay charges (76crimes.com)
- 43 anti-LGBT violations in Zambia; ‘accident waiting to happen’ (76crimes.com)