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.