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Global call to protest against Nigeria’s anti-gay laws

Nigerian LGBTI activists are calling on people around the world to hold protests against homophobic legislation

11 FEBRUARY 2014 | BY ANNA D’ALESSIO

goodluckGay people in Nigeria are calling on the world to help them protest against anti-gay laws.

Signed into law by Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in January this year, the Solitary Alliance is hoping international pressure could help repeal the legislation.

The law prescribes 14 years of imprisonment for LGBTI people in the country, and also criminalizes the witnessing or aiding of same-sex relationships.

Michael Ighodaro, gay rights activist and human rights advocate, said: ‘Aside from the fact that sections of this law are in direct violation of our fundamental human rights – freedom of expression and assembly, freedom to have a private and family life – and set back the provision of healthcare services, they effectively signify that it is open season to attack the LGBT community.’

Since the signing of this law, a number of people have been arrested.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex people, as well as their friends and family, are living in fear against state-sanctioned violence.

The Solitary Alliance, Nigeria calls on the rest of the world to join in a Global Day of Action on 7 March to stand against homophobia and the violation of human rights.

Ighodaro added: ‘The world has been silent on the passage of the bill, the silence is like saying Nigeria gays are not as important as gays in Uganda or Russia.’

‘That’s why we are calling on everyone to come out on [7 March] to show solidarity to Nigeria’s LGBT community, to show that the world has not neglected us.’

- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/global-call-protest-against-nigerias-anti-gay-laws110214#sthash.dTRhsOnj.dpuf

Send a Letter to Ugandan Faith Leaders Re: Human Rights Violations

GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD TAKE ACTIONS AGAINST THE LGBT COMMUNITY

Anti-Human Rights Actions in Uganda, Nigeria, India 

This past Friday, the Parliament of Uganda passed legislation that further criminalizes the lives of LGBT people there.  The move came as a surprise to human rights organizations, but reflects a multi-year effort to enlist the Ugandan national government in efforts to target  Uganda’s growing LGBT rights movement. The Nigerian legislature took action last week to finalize a bill that would outlaw marriage for same-sex couples (including officiating at same-sex weddings), and criminalize actions the government would falsely characterize as the “promotion of homosexuality.”  The actions of these countries followed a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of India that decriminalized homosexuality. The Indian Supreme Court overturned a 2009 ruling that removed from the penal code same-sex sexual activity.  These developments must be seen as part of a larger, systemic assault on human rights violations around the world.  As people of diverse faiths and religions observe a season in which we focus on hope, peace, love, and joy, we are called to stand with those who are vulnerable to this hate and to condemn governments that would propagate negative attitudes and sanction acts of violence against them.

 

Metropolitan Community Churches joins with other world religions to condemn the recent spike in human rights violations by governments in Uganda, Nigeria, and India.  All people, including people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, have inherent worth and reflect the image of God.  Any action that seeks to deny their humanity and deprive them of liberty, the freedom of self-expression, or protection from violence (verbal and physical) is unjust and simply wrong. Therefore, we condemn actions by the Parliaments of Uganda and Nigeria that further outlaw freedom of sexual and gender expression and marriage for same-sex couples.  We recognize that one of the roots of this anti-LGBT animus is the actions by right-wing, conservative faith groups in the United States.  We name their hurtful work for what it is:  hateful and discriminatory.

 

MCC is part of an multi-faith coalition of progressive religious groups that came together to take action against the spike in anti-LGBT animus.  The coalition drafted a letter to the faith leaders of Uganda, calling on them to help end violence and oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  We call on MCC pastors and lay leaders around the world to add their names as signatories to this letter.   We must act fast. The deadline for submitting your names is this Friday, December 27th:

Ugandan MPs pass life in jail anti-homosexual law

20 December 2013 Last updated at 08:47 ET

Uganda’s parliament has passed a bill to toughen the punishment for homosexual acts to include life imprisonment in some cases.

The anti-homosexuality bill also makes it a crime punishable by a prison sentence not to report gay people.

The prime minister opposed the vote, saying not enough MPs were present.

The bill has been condemned by world leaders since it was mooted in 2009 – US President Barack Obama called it “odious”.

The BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala says the government knows there will be an international outcry, which could see some countries suspend aid to the country.

She says that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi might follow up on his complaints about a lack of quorum, while it remains to be seen whether President Yoweri Museveni will sign the bill into law.

The private member’s bill originally proposed the death penalty for some offences, such as if a minor was involved or the perpetrator was HIV-positive, but this has been replaced with life in prison.
The MP behind the bill, David Bahati, told the AFP news agency: “This is victory for Uganda. I am glad the parliament has voted against evil.”

“Because we are a God-fearing nation, we value life in a holistic way. It is because of those values that members of parliament passed this bill regardless of what the outside world thinks,” he said.

The bill also bans the promotion of homosexuality.

“I am officially illegal,” Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha said after the vote.

The bill’s supporters say it is needed to protect traditional family values, which they say are under attack from Western-inspired gay rights groups.

Its critics say the bill has been pushed by some US evangelical Christians.

Miniskirt ban

Uganda is a socially conservative country and on Thursday passed an Anti-Pornography Bill, which bans miniskirts and sexually suggestive material such as some music videos.

Human rights activists say the bill highlights the intolerance and discrimination the gay community faces in Uganda.

One gay activist was killed in 2011, although the police denied he was targeted because of his sexuality.

Meanwhile a local newspaper has been condemned for publishing the names and addresses of people it said were gay.

Holidaymakers and visiting foreigners are not immune from prosecution under Uganda’s existing anti-homosexuality laws.

A retired British man is awaiting trial in Entebbe on charges of possessing a gay sex video after thieves found images on his laptop.

Sixty-five-year-old Bernard Randall, from Kent, faces a possible two-year prison sentence if found guilty.

His friend Albert Cheptoyek, a Ugandan national with whom he shares a house, has denied a more serious charge of carrying out “acts of gross indecency”, which could see him jailed for up to seven years if found guilty.

World’s Largest Democracy Reverses Decision Upholding LGBT Equality

World’s Largest Democracy
Reverses Decision Upholding LGBT Equality
Activists Vow to Fight On

On Wednesday, December 11th, the Supreme Court of India hearing the case of Suresh Kumar Kaushal v. Naz Foundation overturned the historic 2009 Delhi High Court ruling decriminalizing the life of LGBT citizens in India and upholding the full equality of all India’s peoples.

The former February 2009 decision had been hailed as an historic victory for all nations plagued by the remnants of colonial era imposed legislation. Chief Justice Shah’s premise of “constitutional morality” and the principled belief of Dr. Ambed Kar that majorities have no right to discriminate against minorities simply because the former outnumber the latter served to embolden a decade of activism in India that changed the face of LGBT life and inspired Queer people throughout the region.

Today’s decision will, in effect, reinstate section 377 of the Penal Code dating back to 1860 and India’s days under British Imperial rule, imposing a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of “sex against the order of nature.”

Though today’s decision represents a loss, it also serves as a reminder to all of us that laws come and go with political and social climates. We must not be defeated by the momentary defeats, nor be content with singular and isolated victories, but rather keep our eyes on the prize of universal and full human equality for all people everywhere.

We must hold to the conviction that human rights are not given or taken away by courts or legislators. Human rights belong to all the people of God by virtue of our common humanity. What we fight for is the recognition of the inherent truth that we are all the valued and beloved children of God, worthy of being treated equally and with dignity in all things.

Let us all commit to living our lives openly and with heads held high, and to praying for our brothers and sisters in India who must once again summon the resolve to battle both the external forces of hatred and violence that are fueled by decisions such as today’s, and the fear and temptation to hide that become the internal battles of those under siege. Let us together pray for the day when honesty is no longer criminalized, but rather recognized and lauded as the virtue of all people who know themselves to be fully human and absolutely created in the image of God.

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Global Justice Institute
and the Public Policy Team of Metropolitan Community Churches,
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director, Mr. Kareem Murphy, Public Policy Team,
and Rev. Jim Merritt, Marriage and Relational Equality Liaison.

Help a Prisoner of Conscience this Advent

Thanks for demanding Dhondup Wangchen’s release. The Chinese Government censored his documentary, threw him in jail and tortured him – but we will not stop calling for his freedom.

The Chinese Government has heard your voice. Now, let Dhondup Wangchen know you support him by writing him a letter.

Send your letter to:
Dhondup Wangchen
Qinghai Province Women’s Prison
40 Nanshan road
Chengzhong district
Xining city 810000
Qinghai province
People’s Republic of China

Dhondup Wangchen is a ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ – a term Amnesty coined to describe people who are imprisoned solely for who they are or what they believe.

Amnesty International has spent the last 52 years freeing Prisoners of Conscience like Dhondup Wangchen – and these remarkable individuals often tell us that receiving letters from ordinary people around the world gave them strength and comfort during the most difficult days. Letters pouring in from Amnesty supporters around the world might even ensure that Dhondup Wangchen receives better treatment in prison.

Tell Dhondup Wangchen you stand with him – mail him a letter. Your letter doesn’t need to be long. It just needs to come from you.

Write your letter today.

In solidarity,

Jasmine Heiss
Individuals and Communities at Risk Campaigner
Amnesty International USA

PS – You can learn more about Dhondup Wangchen’s story and other cases you can get involved with during Write for Rights 2013 at www.amnestyusa.org/writeforrights

A Way to Help Russian LGBTQ Community

PHOTO EXHIBITION AVAILABLE FOR 2014 DATES

LIEBEration175: a personal queer performance art & collective memory documentation project
CONCEPT: The project by took place in June 2012 on the grounds of Sachsenhausen Memorial in Oranienburg, Germany. As a social statement, it’s an experiment in identity politics (dis)-engagement and embodiment of collective trauma. As an artistic endeavor, it believes in redemptive power of performance. As a photographic study, it is an inquiry into correlation among spaces, surfaces, objects and memory.

175 simple actions alongside 175 camp views by Alexey Timbul (Russia) and Giada Cotugno (Italy)

# 8 Rest … with Svyatoslav

# 8 Rest … with Svyatoslav

# 67 Listen to a favorite song … with Martin

# 67 Listen to a favorite song … with Martin

WHEN: We propose to exhibit LIEBEration175 during the Winter Olympics in Sochi/Russia (February 7-23, 2014) in solidarity with the Russian LGBTQ community and as an exploration of complex power dynamics between state, culture and an individual. However, you may choose other dates more suitable to your programming.

HOW: Please, inform us of your decision to exhibit LIEBEration175 and we’ll provide you with a link to download all images and the statement from the artists in one zip-file. You may curate and print your selection of images. We ask you to provide dates and venue information as well as any publicity materials generated in relation to the exhibition. These will be shared on the project’s website. An honorarium is welcome, but not required. Artists are available for Skype or in-person conversation with your audience.

# 140 Wear a rainbow … with Santiago

# 140 Wear a rainbow … with Santiago

# 154 Play in the sand … with Xavier

# 154 Play in the sand … with Xavier

Contact: lieberation175@gmail.com and via www.alexeytimbul.com/lieberation