Government Sanctioned Persecution and Murder, the Legacy of Yoweri Museveni
Dear MEP’s for Bristol; Ms McCarthy, Ms Leslie, Rt Hon. Primarolo and Mr Williams
We are writing to you today in the hopes that you may utilise your public standing in an effort to influence change on an international level.
With the recent and shocking decision to pass the ‘Kill the gays’ bill, as it has become known in Uganda, it is now imperative that our MEP’s and prominent political figures stand with the members of their community to help support and implement strategies of change that could help save lives.
Museveni’s regime has relied on corruption and moral scapegoating to pass this law into effect and it stands to ruin the lives of his people, those who are not disimilar to ourselves. The global outcry must be deafening and seek to turn the tide back in favour of progress and toward acceptance, it is imperative that the freedoms of our brothers and sisters abroad do not suffer at the hands of petty dictators in any country or state.
We ask you, as prominent members of the diplomatic community, to voice your concerns and demand that the law be over-turned. This must not continue.
We have faith that your own ideals and goals foster an inclusive society for all regardless of race, gender, sexuality, creed or political allegiance and that this extends further than within the borders of our own county.
Please, demand that Museveni rescind the bill, that he reach out to his LGBT constituents and approach them with compassion and care. He is in a position of trust, one similar to yourselves, wherein his people hope for equality and freedom. Do not let this continue.
Be loud, make your voices and also, the voices of the city you represent, be heard…
After the JUMP is a list of the Bristol MEP’s to whom we have addressed this letter, please feel free to send this letter yourselves and help to raise the profile of this issue. I would also ask that you read the below which has handy links to Ugandan LGBT organisations such as FARUG and the SMUG who are doing amazing work and need loads of support.
With Sochi looming above the headlines, celebrating its fly in your face attitude towards LGBT rights in Russia and a global – yet somehow, half-hearted, outcry, you could be forgiven for missing the passing of a controversial bill in Uganda. The ‘Kill the Gays’ bill, as it has been dubbed, has received tremendous support from both the Ugandan Parliamentary body and the countries despicable and corrupt prime minister, Yoweri Museveni, due to be signed into effect following confirmation on the 14th Feburary 2014 – Valentine’s Day… How sweet.
To provide a bit of context here, the new law actually has its roots in a statute draughted in by the British colonial forces during the 19th Century, this particular legislation reads along the lines of a passage from Leviticus…
Section 145. Unnatural offences. Any person who—
(a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; [or]
(b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or
(c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature,
commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life
Section 148. Indecent practices. Any person who, whether in public or in private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person or procures another person to commit any act of gross indecency with him or her or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any person with himself or herself or with another person, whether in public or in private, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
The latest legislation seeks to extend the punishments outlined in the above, to death. Now, the death penalty met with international outcry, so life imprisonment seemed a little kinder for the charge of ‘Aggressive Homosexuality’, as it was put. Apparently the governing bodies weren’t too worried about their pre-existing constitutional laws such as that whole section demanding ‘Equality and freedom from persecution’ – and no, that sentence didn’t end with the phrasing, ‘except for them queers…’
A culture of anti-LGBT sentiment has been promoted by various governmental institutions in Africa for years and instances of curative rape as well as police brutality and apathy in reporting of hate crimes, has created a vocal queer civil rights underground who now face even greater challenges as the law is signed into place. Groups such as the amazing FARUG (Freedom & Roam Uganda) and SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda) have been concentrating on lobbying Musaveni and his cohorts for quite some time as well as providing resources for the community and aiding the education of the wider area regarding sexual minorities and the effects of discrimination.
It is important to remember that, whilst we are breaking tremendous ground in many areas, there is a long way to go in the fight for equality for many of our brothers and sisters at home and abroad. The Ugandan situation is a kick in the eye for all of those who have worked tirelessly to defend and speak out against human rights abuses in the African nation.
Tackling wider systems of corruption that exist in the Ugandan parliament is a dizzying task. Ministers and public officials favour aggressive anti-woman, anti-LGBTIQ sentiment, and often, this is fuelled by the sermons of right wing priests such as the infamous Pastor, Dr. Martin Ssempa (‘Eat da poo-poo’ man, you remember right?! Eat my shit, Ssempa…).
This is why support and advocacy is so important and why ensuring that the dialogue is open within our community to discuss and help implement strategies for change . Groups such as the aforementioned FARUG and SMUG as well as global lobbying organisations such as ALLOUT tirelessly work towards achieving an equal footing for the LGBTIQ umbrella.
The Psycho:Drama crew would like to ask you to take a moment and sign the following petition as organised by AllOut at; http://tinyurl.com/l33zp7v and to please spread the word regarding the difficulties facing queer people in other countries by sharing this information with your friends and family. Please also write to your local MP’s as well as to the Ugandan Embassy in London to ask them to drop the bill and begin supporting their people regardless of gender or orientation.