CCR Condemns Raids and Threats to Arrest LGBTI Community in Uganda
June 20, 2012, New York – Today, in response to a raid this week by Ugandan police of a workshop on the rights of sexual minorities, and yesterday’s threats by Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity to arrest the attendees, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
Both the illegal raid and the threats of arrest violate fundamental rights to speech, assembly and association, as well as the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention. As part of a pattern of harassment and rights violations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, these actions also constitute persecution, which is a crime against humanity in international law.
Monday’s raid follows a similar raid in February of an LGBTI conference. That raid was personally led by Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo, who was also behind this week’s raid. On Tuesday, Lokodo told a Ugandan news station that the authorities were still following the activists and were doing all they could do to arrest them so that “everybody else will know that at least in Uganda we have no room here for homosexuals and lesbians.”
CCR represents Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of Ugandan LGBTI organizations, in their case against U.S.-based anti-gay extremist Scott Lively for his role in the persecution of the LGBTI community in Uganda. As part of his broad-based anti-gay agenda, Lively has worked extensively in Uganda and elsewhere to criminalize advocacy on LGBTI issues. Lokodo’s actions are right in line with Lively’s goal and his advice to silence the LGBTI community in Uganda by criminalizing their exercise of fundamental rights
CCR also looks forward to the outcome of a case brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda against Lokodo in Uganda for the February raid. That case is set for a hearing in the High Court on Monday, June 25, 2012.
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.
I just want to emphasize what's taking place there. I mentioned it to C.I. and she steered to me to yesterday's State Dept. press briefing where Victoria Nuland was asked about the issue:
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: The anti-homosexuality bill is under consideration again by the parliament. What’s – we’ve talked about this before. What steps is the Administration taking to try to dissuade them from this?
MS. NULAND: Well, we’ve obviously had this on our agenda with Uganda ever since this issue first came up, not only with the government but obviously with members of the legislature. And we will continue to raise our deep concerns about this.
As you know, the Ugandan Government has taken some recent steps to make clear that they are not supportive of some of these moves that are going forward. So in particular, their own human rights commission in 2010, in their annual report, they determined that the anti-homosexuality bill violated Uganda’s own constitution and international law. Other members of the Ugandan civil society have also been speaking out, and we’ve obviously been supportive of those efforts.
So we are very concerned about this. We are resolutely opposed to the bill. We think it’s inconsistent with Uganda’s international human rights obligations, and this just sets a bad, bad precedent in the neighborhood. So we’ll continue to make those points clear, and we’ll make them clear to the individuals who are having to take this vote in the parliament.
This is LGBT Pride Month and I wanted to include something on this topic. If I had it together, I'd blog about LGBT issues in every post this month. Clearly, I don't have it together.
But, oh!, did you read the snapshot today? C.I., the Congressional reporter. That's really something. When we were on the phone, I did ask, "Did you really delay that to get information on record retention or were you just letting a day go by so that when you reported on it today everyone would wonder why the heck the paid press didn't report on it already?" She really did want background info. She also wasn't in the mood for the snapshot yesterday. Anyway, read it.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):