Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Action Alert, Africa LGBTIQ, Human Rights, Queer Politics

Gay Hunt Uganda

The repression and harassment of gays, lesbians and transgender people is getting worse and worse by the day in Uganda and in Ghana.

“The situation for lesbians and gays in Uganda is getting highly threatening. To give you an abstract, the Red Pepper – a Ugandan newspaper – published a list of gay men in Uganda, on the 8th August 2006. The advertisement of the names was followed by arrests and hate crimes. As you might be aware of, homosexuality is illegal and fined with drastic punishments in Uganda. Latest news talk about hunted gays, please read the attached scanned article!

We got informed that the Red Pepper is probably going to publish a list of Ugandan lesbians and bisexual women by tomorrow , Friday 8 September . As an highly homophobic country, the situation for lesbians can easily become even worse than for gay men. Being doubled discriminate against, as women and as lesbians, Ugandan lesbians struggle towards an independent life; most of them depending on their families, relatives and particularly on their friends or are homeless. If the Red Pepper is going to publish their names, their situation is getting horrifying.”

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Naming and Shaming of Red Pepper

On August 8th the Ugandan weekly paper Red Pepper published an article titled “Gay Shock!” This article had a list of names, places of work and areas of residence of 45 men alleged to be homosexuals.

In the article Red Pepper denounced homosexuality as “an abominable sin, in fact a mortal sin that’s against nature”, The paper is entitled to express any view about homosexuality it wishes, but to steep so low as to make allegations against Ugandan civilians is another matter altogether.

Being homosexual is still stigmatized in the society, and acts of same sex sexuality are criminalized. That is why Red Pepper can use allegations of homosexuality to cause sensation. Even if one accept that human sexuality is diverse, it should be an individual’s own choice how and when to share information about their sexuality with family, friends and colleagues.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) every person has a right to privacy (UDHR, Article 12). This right has clearly been broken by Red Pepper’s article. It is difficult to imagine that this article is anything but a salacious and malicious act of defamation that will cause hurt and damage to the lives of these individuals. Further, the article that Red Pepper has printed amounts to inciting violence against these people. Article 7 of UDHR guarantees the right to equality and freedom from discrimination; these rights are being undermined by Red Pepper’s article.

It may be argued that these rights do not pertain to homosexuals, as acts of homosexuality are considered to be criminal offences in Uganda. We do not know the truth about the sexuality of the 45 men named in Red Pepper. The point we want to make is that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights do not make exceptions; “Human rights are the inalienable rights that a person has simply because he or she is a human being.” This means that you cannot lose these rights any more than you can cease being human. Human rights are also defined as those basic standards that people need to live in dignity. To violate someone’s human rights is to treat that person as less than a human being.

It is our opinion that Red Pepper is violating the human rights of the 45 men, whose names were published, breaching both Ugandan law and International law. The editor, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, should take his ethical and social responsibility seriously and make a public apology for the damage he has caused.

For further information on actions you can take – contact: annika at skeivsolidaritet dot no

12 Comments

  1. johnblaze

    I do agree that outing those men is a dangerous thing especially since some of them may be innocent.
    But what else can lesbians and gays in Uganda do but lie low like envelopes, as long as the actions of the government are approved by the majority the situation isnt going to change soon.

  2. JKE

    Didn’t they learn anything from Idi Amin’s dictatorship? That’s so sick…

  3. Although I think johnblaze is partially right, the acts of individuals and small groups can sway a lot of people, facing them toward their own actions, actions which they are happy to engage in surrounded by people who egg them on. Sokari: Why not set up a petition that goes straight to the editor in chief?

  4. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Thanks Curt there is a petition going around for organisations. I will put details up.

  5. Annika

    Thanks for publishing our letter of protest! We are asking for organisations to sign it, and next week the letter will be sent to the editor of Red Pepper as well as other main Ugandan media.
    Please ask your organisation to sign – send an e mail to the address above with name of organisation, contact person and contact info.
    In solidarity
    Annika W. Rodriguez, Queer solidarity

  6. Kenyan Gay

    Thanks for highlighting the plight of our ugandan brothers and sisters. I have a Kenyan gay friend who lives in Kampala and wants to come back to work In Nairobi after being harrased for being gay

  7. i posted this up on my site sokari, and will post the petition too when ever you have it up…

  8. sokari, is there any way that people in the U.S. can dial those numbers? I’ve never made an international call before, so i don’t know–and i’m sure others don’t as well…let me know, ok? I’m going to post it on my blog–

  9. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Thanks the best thing to do is to email

    annika at skeivsolidaritet dot no

    as she is coordinating the peititon and other forms of protest from the international community.

  10. sea

    Found your posting through brownfemipower and have emailed annika. I’ll look for the petition as well. thx.

  11. ivan

    you people pretending not to be knowing what is right. homosexuality is wrong and outrightly wrong against humanity. why do you want to change natural order do you think you would be doing what you were doing if we were living in a world full of gays and lesbians. think up stop the evil you are preaching turn to JESUS CHRIST who will set you free from this evil you are propagating.
    remember men were created to inter marry with women.
    not men for men and not women for women.
    you know the truth so stop pretending.
    THE LORD IN HEAVEN DID NOT MAKE A MISTAKE IN CREATION THATS WHY HE CREATED MALES AND FEMALES.
    REMEMBER THERE IS A JUDGE IN THE UNIVERSE ALL THAT WE DO WILL BE UNEARTHED.
    THE LORD LOVES YOU ALL EVEN WHEN YOU DELIBERATELY CHOOSE TO GO AGAINST HIS WILL.

  12. Ug Bros

    Whats wrong with you people?? For as long we Ugandans are still sane we shall NEVER allow this crude, inhuman, disgusting behaviour to take root in our country. The President is behind us, hte police and even the Army. We shall lock up any Homosexual and lesbian we come across and you whites will do nothing about it. We are sick and tired of you controlling us.
    “FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY”