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Here is Video of the Court Hearing Challenging Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act: WATCH

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Yesterday we reported that Uganda's Constitutional Court heard a petition challenging the country's Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Uganda's NTV network reported on the proceedings and uploaded the segment to YouTube.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Guardian adds:

Judges have adjourned the hearings until Friday, when they are expected to rule on the quorum issue.

Ugandan state lawyers defended the law on Thursday, the second day of the hearings, asking judges to dismiss the petition. "There is no evidence about the quorum," state attorney Patricia Mutesa told the court in the capital, Kampala.

But prominent gay-rights activist Frank Mugisha, one of the petitioners, said he was optimistic that judges would rule in favour of scrapping the law. "I think that we could have a very good judgment tomorrow, and if we get that judgment then it's over – and we just have to celebrate," said Mugisha, who heads the Sexual Minorities Uganda group.

Anti-gay preacher Martin Ssempa, who was also in court, said he feared the "judicial abortion of our bill" due to international pressure.

Continue reading "Here is Video of the Court Hearing Challenging Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act: WATCH" »


Uganda Court Hears Challenge to Anti-gay Law, Could Rule As Early As Tomorrow

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The Constitutional Court of Uganda opened arguments today on a challenge to the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act that was passed by the country’s parliament late last year and signed by President  Yoweri Museveni in February.

Speaking again with Towleroad, Richard Lusimbo with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) said the arguments made against the law today centered on the controversial way the country’s parliament passed the bill without quorum – a constitutional requirement for any legislation to become law. After hearing the arguments, the court adjourned the case until tomorrow – with a possible ruling once the case resumes.

MuseveniTowleroad readers may recall that Ugandan President Museveni, who has a long history of spouting anti-LGBT comments, initially refused to sign the bill and accused parliament of lawlessly forcing it through after he recommended the law be shelved until the government could study it more clearly.

Buzzfeed adds:

If the court rules against the government, it would not be the first time that the Ugandan Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of LGBT rights. Trans activist Victor Mukasa successfully sued Uganda’s attorney general in 2006 for raiding his house while he was head of Sexual Minorities Uganda. Inspired by Mukasa’s victory, activist David Kato sued the now-defunct Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone over a series of articles outing LGBT people. Weeks after winning the case in 2011, Kato was bludgeoned to death.

The case comes as LGBT advocates renew pressure on President Obama to address LGBT rights in Africa. 


Barack Obama Must Raise LGBT Discrimination At U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: READ

Human and gay rights activists are urging Barack Obama to discuss anti-gay discrimination at next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit with 50 African leaders, reports ABC News.

2_obamaThe Human Rights Campaign and Human Rights First issued a statement saying that the summit, with the theme “Investing in the Next Generation,” is a "once-in-a-generation moment" to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans.

According to the two advocacy groups, 37 African countries have laws criminalizing LGBT relationships. Leaders of 32 of those countries - including Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, who signed harsh anti-gay laws earlier this year - have been invited to the summit.

In response to anti-gay laws, the U.S.government last month announced sanctions against Uganda including loss of funding and a ban on Ugandan citizens involved in human rights abuses entering the United States.

Shawn Gaylord, Human Rights First's advocacy counsel for LGBT rights said:

"We believe the U.S. can do more in both Nigeria and Uganda to ensure that U.S. funding is not being given to any institution or group that is abusing human rights, including actively discriminating against the LGBT community. We recognize that this is a difficult process with competing interests, made more difficult by the rhetoric espoused by some leaders that the movement for the rights of LGBT people is something invented in the West and being imposed upon African societies. "

Indicating that gay rights will be raised at the summit, Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said:

"The Obama Administration has long spoken out — including with our African partners — in support of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. We expect the summit will provide an opportunity to continue these conversations."

Read Human Rights Campaign's report The State Of Human Rights For LGBT People In Africa, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Barack Obama Must Raise LGBT Discrimination At U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: READ" »


Sweden Resumes Providing Financial Aid To Uganda

Embassy of Sweden in Kampala

Despite having previously rescinded financial aid to Uganda over their reprehensible and inhumane anti-gay laws, Sweden has relented and resumed providing aid to the African country. The Swedish embassy in Kampala says:

Sweden wants to help create better conditions in Uganda for sustainable economic growth and development. This is why Swedish aid to Uganda will remain substantial.

The Swedish embassy also said:

Sweden continues to support human rights and freedom from violence.

This will be an interesting feat to pull off given how Uganda's laws undermine human rights and freedom while encouraging violence.


'Underground Railroad' Ferries Gays Out Of Uganda

The plight of gay Ugandans is well-known here, but it hasn't gone unnoticed by the rest of the world. A group of Quakers calling themselves Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR) formed to take action and help gays and lesbians in Uganda escape persecution.

UgandaModeling themselves after the Quakers from the Civil War the Olympia, WA-based group has "conductors" guide those trying to flee in small groups along back roads to safe houses. Everyone's identities are kept secret, and even other conductors don't know each other. Even the leader of the group goes by the pseudonym Levi Coffin II, named after one of the conductors from the Civil War.

So far an estimated 107 people have been helped to escape from Uganda, but the group is not without detractors. Scott Long of Human Rights Watch said:

This is not the kind of stuff that well-meaning amateurs can do, and the money’s basically going to be wasted. I fully appreciate the good intentions here, but the organizers [should] be persuaded to subordinate their efforts to a recognized refugee NGO or to the security committee.


Ugandan Police Arrest Five For 'Promoting Homosexuality'

MuseveniSo much for that Foreign Ministry statement claim that the "Government of Uganda … will continue to guarantee equal treatment of all persons on the territory of Uganda.”

Just two days after that statement was released in an attempt to placate countries concerned about the possible human rights violations caused by the recently-passed Anti-Homosexuality Act, Ugandan police go and arrest 5 individuals - two businessmen, a teacher, and two students - for allegedly "carrying out clandestine movements in both primary and secondary schools in the district luring the pupils and students into the practice.” Because for some reason people still think that homosexuality is some dangerous lifestyle one can be "recruited" into like gangs, the Klan, or Scientology.

This is particularly bad timing for Uganda as the World Bank loan and "sinful" foreign aid sanctions that have all been put on hold may be more vital to the country's ability to function than President Yoweri Museveni originally let on.


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