Yoweri Museveni Hub




Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Recommended For Asylum In The U.S. - VIDEO

John Abdallah Wambere

Immigration officials are recommending that the U.S. grant asylum to John Abdallah Wambere, a prominent gay rights activist in Uganda who lives in fear of death threats and repression at home, reports The Boston Globe.

Wambere arrived from Uganda on February 21 on a temporary visa, three days before Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off on his country’s new law punishing gay sex and the “promotion of homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a letter on September 11th recommending Wambere for asylum, although final approval is still pending a mandatory background check.

Wambere said he has been evicted, arrested three times, beaten unconscious and has received anonymous death threats, including in 2011, after gay rights leader David Kato was bludgeoned to death.

Although Uganda’s constitutional court in August overturned the country’s anti-gay laws on technical grounds, some lawmakers have vowed to refile the overturned bill.

According to Allison Wright, one of Wambere’s lawyers at GLAAD:

“The antigay sentiment has just been rising and rising over the years. Just because the act is gone doesn’t mean that hostility is not there. That hostility is very much still alive.”

In an interview earlier this week, Wambere hailed the decision and vowed to continue advocating for gay rights in Uganda from abroad.

“I’m so excited; I’m overwhelmed. I felt like standing on the streets and shouting out to the whole world.”

On adjusting to life in Massachusetts, he said he had been shocked at the sight of a gay couple openly holding hands on Boston Common:

“To me, it was amazing. Nobody cared about it. Even they themselves were not even freaking out.”

Watch an interview with Wambere and a report on the asylum case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Signs Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission

MuseveniUgandan President Yoweri Museveni has officially criminalized the transmission of HIV, a move that many public health experts worry could ultimately exacerbate Uganda’s well documented struggles with the virus. Similar to law that sometimes appear here in the U.S. Uganda’s new HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Bill targets those individuals who willfully expose others to the virus without their knowledge. In theory provisions like these would encourage people to exercise safer sex practices. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case. Rather than fostering openness about one’s HIV status, the criminalization of HIV has been proven to be ineffective and ultimately harmful.

The circumstances under which the mandate made its way through the Ugandan legal systems are dubious at best. The law, which surfaced earlier this week, is dated to have have officially been signed in late July, closely following the nullification of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The AHA’s passing was invalidated after legal review revealed that the Ugandan Parliament did not have the quorum of its members necessary to turn the homophobic legislation into law. President Museveni has insisted that the law, which is being reintroduced the Parliament, will be gentler towards adults consensually engaging in homosexual acts. Those found in violation of the original AHA could be sentenced to life in prison but, Museveni says, the revised law focuses solely on the protection of children.

Read the full text of Uganda's law criminalizing the transmission of HIV AFTER THE JUMP...

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Obama Welcomes Ugandan President to the White House

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President Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to the White House on Tuesday as part of the U.S.-Africa leaders summit this week.

Despite announcements in June from the State Department that it would "take measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals" the man responsible for signing Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act (which this week was struck down by that nation's high court on a technicality) into law was not blocked from attending the summit in the nation's capital.

Human and gay rights activists have called on Obama to discuss anti-LGBT discrimination at this week's summit.

Ugandan media reports:

The business forum is part of an unprecedented three-day summit underway in Washington, with nearly 50 African heads of state in attendance including President Yoweri Museveni. Obama was hosting the leaders at a White House dinner Tuesday night.
 
At the meeting, U.S. companies announced $14 billion in investments for Africa. Among them: a $5 billion investment from Coca-Cola to fund manufacturing lines and production equipment; $2 billion investment from GE by 2018; $200 million in investments across Africa by Marriott, and a $66 million commitment by IBM to provide technology services to Ghana’s Fidelity Bank.
 
Obama said with the new financial commitments, he was boosting that goal to 60 million homes and businesses.
 
He also announced $7 billion in new government financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa. That includes $3 billion in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank aimed at supporting American exports to Africa over the next two years.


Ugandan President Says Foreign Pressure Had 'Nothing To Do' With Striking Down Of Anti-Gay Law

MuseveniPresident Yoweri Museveni has denied that the recent court decision to scrap Uganda’s draconian anti-gay law had anything to do with the U.S.-Africa Summit taking place this week, reports the Mail & Guardian.

In the lead-up to this week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, human rights groups had urged President Obama to discuss anti-gay discrimination in Uganda and other African countries. Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act last February, which penalizes same-sex relations with life imprisonment.

Museveni has said that the decision by Uganda’s constitutional court to overturn the country’s anti-gay legislation last Friday had “nothing to do” with the summit or with the sanctions placed on the country by the U.S.

However, saying he intends to take the issue to the country's Supreme Court, Christian evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa, who has campaigned to “kick sodomy out of Uganda”, described the court’s decision as a “judicial abortion” designed to polish Uganda’s reputation before the summit.

Under earlier legislation which is expected to return following the court’s decision, homosexuality in Uganda remains illegal and punishable by jail sentences.

 


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...

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