Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In Scathing Ruling, Court Affirms SMUG’s Charges Against U.S. Anti-Gay Extremist Scott Lively While Dismissing on Jurisdictional Ground

Historic Case Has Broken New Legal Ground, Documented Lively’s Campaign of Persecution in Uganda June 6, 2017, New York – Yesterday, a federal court minced no words in affirming that U.S.-based anti-gay extremist Scott Lively aided and abetted the crime against humanity of persecution in a ruling dismissing the lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) on a narrow jurisdictional ground. “Anyone reading this memorandum should make no mistake,” wrote Judge Michael Ponsor of the U.S. District Court in Springfield Massachusetts. “The question before the court is not whether Defendant’s actions in aiding and abetting efforts to demonize, intimidate, and injure LGBTI people in Uganda constitute violations of international law. They do.” The judge ruled that even though the evidence supports SMUG’s claims that Lively worked to deprive them of fundamental rights, the court did not have jurisdiction as a result of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling issued after SMUG’s case was filed. The ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell limited the extraterritorial reach of the Alien Tort Statute, under which SMUG brought its claim. “The much narrower and more technical question posed by Defendant’s motion is whether the limited actions taken by Defendant on American soil in pursuit of his odious campaign are sufficient to give this court jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims,” Judge Ponsor continued. “Since they are not sufficient, summary judgment is appropriate for this, and only this, reason.” “This case is a win for SMUG,” said Frank Mugisha, SMUG Executive Director. “The court’s ruling recognized the dangers resulting from the hatred that Scott Lively and other extremist Christians from the U.S. have exported to my country. By having a court recognize that persecution of LGBTI people amounts to a crime against humanity, we have already been able to hold Lively to account and reduce his dangerous influence in Uganda.” In 2013 SMUG v. Lively broke new legal ground when the court rejected Lively’s motion to dismiss the case, finding that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a crime against humanity and that the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people are protected under international law. “The ruling clearly vindicates what SMUG and the LGBTI community in Uganda have known and said all along about Lively and his role in Uganda,” said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pamela Spees. “They have shown incredible courage, dignity, and determination in the face of rising repression and persecution. No matter what happens next in this case, they have made an important difference in demanding their day in court, achieving the recognition that persecution of LGBTI people is a crime against humanity, and facing down one of their key persecutors armed only with the truth of their experience and moral courage.” Given the widespread claim that homosexuality is foreign to Africa and a corrupt Western import, the documentation of the Western role in orchestrating the persecution of LGBTI people has proven an embarrassment for Lively’s Ugandan partners. “The court recognized that Lively worked to erase LGBTI Ugandans from civil and political life – a threat to Ugandan self-determination,” said Rutgers Law professor and Center for Constitutional Rights co-counsel Jeena Shah. “The evidence surfaced in this case showed how Lively’s persecutory efforts exploited a long history of Western homophobia in Uganda, beginning with British colonization.” The court emphasized throughout the decision the illegality and harm of Lively’s campaign of persecution, finding that: “Defendant Scott Lively is an American citizen who has aided and abetted a vicious and frightening campaign of repression against LGBTI persons in Uganda.” “[Lively’s] crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause. The record in this case demonstrates that Defendant has worked with elements in Uganda who share some of his views to try to repress freedom of expression by LGBTI people in Uganda, deprive them of the protection of the law, and render their very existence illegal.” The evidence “confirmed the nature of Defendant's, on the one hand, vicious and, on the other hand, ludicrously extreme animus against LGBTI people and his determination to assist in persecuting them wherever they are, including Uganda. The evidence of record demonstrates that Defendant aided and abetted efforts (1) to restrict freedom of expression by members of the LBGTI community in Uganda, (2) to suppress their civil rights, and (3) to make the very existence of LGBTI people in Uganda a crime.” Read today’s ruling here. To learn more, visit CCR’s case page. Sexual Minorities Uganda is represented by Center for Constitutional Rights and Jeena Shah of the International Human Rights Clinic at Rutgers Law School in Newark, the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, Christopher Betke, Luke Ryan, and Judith Chomsky. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is non-profit umbrella organization for LGBTQI advocacy groups in Uganda. SMUG was founded in 2004 and the network currently comprises 18 organizations in Uganda offering counseling, health, and other services, to the LGBTQI community. As an umbrella entity, SMUG also works closely with international human rights organizations to bring attention to the persecution of LGBTI people in Uganda. Visit www.sexualminoritiesuganda.com. The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Row erupts over purchase of Shs3b sex lubricants for homosexuals

By EMMANUEL AINEBYOONA Kampala. A row has erupted between political leadership of the Ministry of Health and technocrats over the purchase of sex lubricants worth about Shs3b for homosexuals. The lid on the new purchase was opened during the ministry’s quarterly review meeting on Friday that turned rowdy after Dr Patrick Tusiime, the head of National Disease Control Programme, presented an expenditure on procurement of 964,000 sex lubricants using funds provided by the Global Funds. The Global Fund is an international financing organisation that aims to attract and disburse additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. The organisation has its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the world’s largest financier of anti-Aids, TB and malaria programmes. As of July 2016, the organisation had disbursed $30 billion to needy countries, including Uganda. According to a source who attended the meeting, Ms Sarah Opendi, the State minister of Health in charge of General Duties, quickly questioned the purchase of the lubricants for the sexual minorities, indicating that homosexuality remains illegal under the Penal Code Act. In an interview with Sunday Monitor, Ms Opendi confirmed the purchase of the lubricants and made it clear that the political leadership at the ministry did not approve the purchase of the lubricants. “We are very surprised by the progromme manager of the Aids Control Programme. We are reviewing our previous quarter work plan and during his presentation, he talked about procurement of 964,000 lubricants,” Ms Opendi said. “We have never approved any such lubricants or any such commodities to be brought into this country. Homosexuality remains an illegally activity, according to our laws and, therefore, as Ministry of Health, we cannot be seen doing the opposite….the Global Fund money is supposed to help in the fight against malaria and other diseases not buying lubricants for homosexuals,” Ms Opendi said. According to a source, each tube was bought at $0.8 (about Shs2,800), which translates to about Shs3 billion for the 964,000 tubes purchased. It’s not yet clear which type of tubes ministry officials imported into the country and from where. It’s also not clear how the disputed tubes were brought into the country without the knowledge of the political leadership. The lubricants are used during sexual intercourse or such activities to reduce friction. The source also indicated that Ms Specioza Kazibwe, who is an advisor to the Health ministry, also opposed the purchase of the lubricants. However, the former vice president declined to comment on the matter, saying she just advises the ministry. When contacted about the purchased lubricates, , Dr Joshua Musinguzi, who heads the Aids Control Programme at the ministry of Health, promised to get back to Sunday Monitor, but by press time, he had not done so. However, Prof Anthony Mbonye, the acting director general Health Services, disagreed with the minister, saying a lot of gay people go to health facilities in search of treatment for wounds caused by “friction”. Mr Kikonyongo Kivumbi, who represents key affected populations on the Country Coordinating Mechanism, the agency that oversees the implementation of Global Fund, told this newspaper that the minister is misinformed on the use of the lubricants. “The lubricants are part of the Global Fund grant and it’s not only the homosexuals who need the lubricant but also discordant couples and other normal people,” Mr Kivumbi said. The minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr Simon Lokodo, was surprised when contacted about the matter. “What! This is unacceptable and incredible. We strongly denounce homosexuality as it is unacceptable and against our cultural values and conscience,” he said.

Uganda's Obsession with Homosexuality

New Guild Prime Minister Is Homosexual – MAK FDC Chapter By David Mujuni - Apr 24, 2017 The newly named cabinet by Makerere’s new guild President has already started yielding division among FDC at Uganda’s biggest university. Immediately after swearing in, Kato Paul dropped names for his new cabinet in which he appointed former rival Mercy Lakisa (UYD) as deputy guild president and Ian Ndamwesiga as guild prime minister. His new appointments have not been welcomed by Makerere FDC chapter and they are requesting Kato Paul to drop the two immediately before matters go worse. According to Ronald Ainebyoona the chairperson of FDC Makerere chapter, the newly elected guild prime minister is alleged homosexual and needs to be dropped from the cabinet because his “sexuality is detrimental to the FDC image”. While commenting on the new cabinet last Saturday, Ainebyona also revealed how betrayed he felt especially from Kato whom he claims to have nurtured with his own hands. Through its chairperson, FDC chapter has declared its opposition to Kato’s cabinet which they termed as betrayal after all the efforts they invested throughout campaign sessions. The bitter chairperson also went ahead to reveal that Kato is NRM’s puppet who reportedly met with Gen. Kale Kaihura on Easter Monday over an unknown agenda. Obed Giu is another FDC member at Makerere who vowed to fight Kato’s leadership and affirmed the matter that a “homosexual cannot lead” while referring to the new prime minister. He revealed this when commenting about the new cabinet last Saturday.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Anti-Gay bill Annulled

PRESS STATEMENT For Immediate Release: August 1 2014 A Victory for Constitutionalism (Kampala) In the case of Prof. J Oloka-Onyango & 9 Others v. Attorney General (Petition No.8 of 2014)- the Constitutional Court has struck down Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 as unconstitutional. The ruling was delivered by a unanimous court of five members by Justices Eldad Mwanguhya and Steven Kavuma on behalf of a unanimous court made of three other justices: Justice Augustine Nshimye, Justice Ruby Opio-Aweri, and Justice Solomy Balungi Bbosa. The case was brought by a cross-section of concerned Ugandan citizens to challenge the constitutionality of the Act on the grounds that it was passed when Parliament did not have the necessary quorum as required by the Constitution and the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure and also that it violated the constitutional guarantees of freedom from discrimination and from cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, among others. Only the ground of quroum was ruled on. The Court found that the Act should be nullified because there was no quorum in parliament on the day that it was passed as required by the Constitution and the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure, and that the Speaker committed an illegality when she allowed it to be passed without ascertaining that the quorum existed as required by the Constitution and the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure. That this was an illegality and the resultant law could not stand. “The judiciary today has stood for the rule of law and good governance in striking out a law that was passed in a way that contravened the Constitution and the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure. This is a resounding victory for democracy in the country, and confirms that laws passed in violation of the Constitution cannot be allowed to remain on the law books” according to Prof. J Oloka-Onyango, the first petitioner. “This victory is for all Ugandans. It is an affirmation of the independence of the Judiciary and of a growing democracy: despite populist politicians claiming support for the law, the Court has stood up for what is right,’ said Adrian Jjuuko, Executive Director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), the ninth Petitioner. According to sixth petitioner and Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Frank Mugisha, ‘The striking down of the law removes a big yoke from the necks of many LGBTI persons who were criminalised for simply being who they are’. In the few months since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed by Parliament on 20 December 2013, activists recorded a marked increase in cases of violence against people known or suspected to be LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex). Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) documented 162 cases of rights violations targeted against the LGBTI community during the period 1st December 2013 to 1st May 2014. The court ruling also comes as a relief to civil society stakeholders and service providers who within weeks of the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February 2014 were falsely targeted as being engaged in the promotion of homosexuality. The petition was supported by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, a Coalition of 50 civil society organisations that was established in 2009 to oppose the then Anti Homosexuality Bill. Clare Byarugaba, Co-Coordinator of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law asserted, ‘As the Civil Society Coalition, we are excited about this development, and call upon the State to respect the rights of all Ugandans and to uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.’ For more information, contact: Frank Mugisha +256 772 616 062, frankmugisha@gmail.com Adrian Jjuuko, +256 782 169 505, jjuukoa@gmail.com Geoffrey Ogwaro, +256 782 176 069, ahbcoalition.coordinator@gmail.com Clare Byarugaba, +256 774 608 663, ahbcoalition.coordinator@gmail.com

MPs start process to re-table gay Bill

By SOLOMON ARINAITWE & ISAAC IMAKA Posted Wednesday, September 3 2014 at 01:00 IN SUMMARY Change. MPs had wanted the House to suspend handling of the ongoing Budget process to handle the anti-gays Bill but the request was turned down. nShare Parliament yesterday officially allowed the start of a process which will see the reintroduction of a much stricter law against homosexuality. It was revealed that MPs David Bahati (Ndorwa West) and Benson Obua Ogwal (Moroto County) have written to Parliament asking for a date to be set aside for the re-tabling of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The law was struck down by the Constitutional Court on August 1 after the judges agreed with a group of petitioners that it was enacted without quorum in Parliament. Mr Bahati regains the initiative on a Bill he had first tabled in 2009, much to the chagrin of Western countries, which denounced it as an affront to human rights and reacted by cutting donor aid when it was passed into law in December last year. Yesterday, as the House resumed from a mini-recess, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, said the two MPs have been granted leave of Parliament to allow them time to prepare the Bill, triggering excitement among members. According to the House Rules of Procedure, once the Bill is re-tabled, it will be referred to a committee where revisions are considered, brought back to the House for debate before proceeding to the third reading- the final stage before the Bill is passed. Mr Oulanyah also indicated that a drive to register MPs in support of the reintroduction of the Bill had garnered the support of 254 MPs - pushing the number much higher than the required one third of all 376 MPs entitled to vote. Shortly after the court nullification, lawmakers led by Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebagala began collecting signatures in support of a plan to immediately reintroduce the law. They wanted the House to suspend handling of the ongoing Budget process, with a proposal that the new Bill be the first on the Order Paper, a request that was turned down yesterday. “We are now focusing on the Budget process and the Bill was already here and we passed it into law. If it had still been within Parliament, it would still be property of Parliament and we would have done whatever necessary to correct the anomalies,” Mr Oulanyah said. “So when we finish the Budget and as soon as the movers of this Bill are ready, we will proceed. When it is introduced, we will handle it appropriately about those issues that were raised that caused the nullification,” he added. Under Uganda’s Penal Code Act, sexual acts “against the order of nature” are already criminalised. By press time, it was unclear whether the two MPs will work alongside a nine-member committee led by Vice President Edward Ssekandi which was proposed by the NRM Parliamentary Caucus sitting on August 12 to look into the human rights issues raised against the law. President Museveni is reported to have advised MPs to go slow in their quest since the issue was delicate. Mr Bahati and Mr Ogwal were not available for comment yesterday as they were held up by the budget debate. Promise detailed review In the letter that Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah read, MPs David Bahati and Benson Obua also promised to look into the other issues raised by pro-gays activists in their petition but which were not disposed of by court. Judges only addressed themselves to the prayer about lack of quorum. iladu@ug.nationmedia.com

Do not harm homosexuals, Archbishop Odama appeals

By Julius Ocungi Posted Monday, August 18 2014 at 01:00 IN SUMMARY The cleric says gays were created in God’s image but only deviated from a Godly lifestyle. Gulu- The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, John Baptist Odama, has asked Ugandans to avoid harming homosexuals despite the fact that the Constitutional Court nullified the anti-homosexuality law on a technicality of lack of quorum. Bishop Odama said homosexuals are also human beings created in the image of God who only deviated from the Godly way of life. “Let us learn to love God’s human creatures. It is not that I am advocating for homosexual practice in the country, but we should not take laws into our hands to harm and hate the homosexuals because we all have weaknesses,” the Archbishop said. He made the remarks at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Gulu Municipality at weekend while presiding over a wedding ceremony of Mr Patrick Omony and Ms Margret Akello. “The country has been struggling to have a law to criminalises homosexuality. However, the struggle has been frustrated by the constitutional courts. People should not take the laws into their hands and harm homosexuals, since they are also Human beings though with different sexual feelings,” he said. Archbishop Odama said the fight against homosexuality should focus on sensitising youth on the negative impacts of the practice since the vice contravenes cultural settings and norms. Earlier this month, the Constitutional Court did not rule on the substance of the anti-gay measure which allowed jail terms of up to life for homosexual offences, but threw out the law because it was passed during a session that lacked quorum. In 2012 during the installation of the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, President Museveni said “gay people should not be killed or persecuted”. editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Mrs Reine Alapini-Gansou, has taken note of the promulgation on 13 January 2014 in Nigeria of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, and is deeply concerned about the consequences this law may have on sexual minorities who are already vulnerable as a result of social prejudice. The Special Rapporteur is concerned by some provisions of the Act, in particular Sections 4(1) and 5(2) which prohibit and provide for penalties against defenders of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. These provisions undermine the work of human rights defenders and are against any public debate on this crucial issue. The Special Rapporteur is concerned by the increase, following the enactment of the law, in cases of physical violence, aggression, arbitrary detention and harassment carried out against human rights defenders dealing with sexual minority rights issues. The Special Rapporteur strongly condemns such acts which are a violation of the right to life, physical integrity, and freedom of expression and assembly of human rights defenders. The Special Rapporteur would like to remind the Government of Nigeria of its international obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government of Nigeria to ensure that human rights defenders are able to conduct their activities in an enabling environment that is free of stigma and reprisals. The Special Rapporteur would also like to encourage the Nigerian political authorities to continue their efforts towards ensuring the physical integrity and safety of human rights defenders in Nigeria. Banjul, 05 February 2014