Amnesty condemns targeting of GLBT Ugandans
Amnesty International has issued a condemnation of 'the ongoing targeting and intimidation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda.'
The organization cited new problems after the Red Pepper tabloid newspaper published in its Aug. 8 issue the first names, workplaces and other identifying information of 45 men it claimed are gay.
'In at least three cases, people named by the Red Pepper magazine subsequently suffered harassment from and were ostracized by colleagues and families,' the group said. 'This article ... encourages discrimination and puts those named at a high risk of violence. Furthermore, Amnesty International is concerned that those named may be arrested on the basis of their alleged sexual orientation and could face humiliating and degrading treatment in custody.'
Gay sex is illegal in Uganda under Penal Code articles 140, 141 and 143. The punishment for 'carnal knowledge against the order of nature' is up to life in prison.
The Red Pepper article stated, in part: 'To a majority of us, straightthinking citizens, it [ homosexuality ] is an abominable sin, actually a mortal sin that goes against the nature of humanity. We are talking about men in this nation who are walking closely in the footsteps of Sir Elton Hercules John and the like by having engines that operate from the rear like the vintage Volkswagon cars. To show the nation how shocked we are and how fast the terrible vice known as sodomy is eating up our society, we have decided to unleash an exclusive list of men who enjoy taking on fellow men from the rear. We hope that by publishing this list, our brothers will confess and go back to the right path.'
In 1999, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said of gays: 'These few individuals [ who became known ] were either ignored or speared and killed by their parents. They wouldn't just go and wed another man publicly.'
He also said: 'I have told the CID [ Criminal Investigations Department ] to look for homosexuals, lock them up and charge them. Even the Holy Bible spells it out clearly that God created Adam and Eve as wife and husband, but not men to marry fellow men.'
Polish PM says
nation is gay-friendly
To the astonishment of activists and others, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Aug. 30 that the nation is gay-friendly.
Speaking with European Union officials in Brussels, Kaczynski said: 'I ask you not to believe in the myth of Poland as an anti-Semitic, homophobic and xenophobic country. ... People with such [ homosexual ] preferences have full rights in Poland; there is no tradition in Poland of persecuting such people.'
He added that Poland has many gay bars and magazines as well as 'people of such a persuasion holding high public positions, on the right and not just on the left.'
In reality, Poland's gay community has been under attack from national and local officials in recent years—both before, and especially after, the conservative Law and Justice Party came to power last year.
President Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw's twin brother, was mayor of Warsaw when the 2004 and 2005 gay pride parades were banned. He reportedly called gays 'perverts.'
Speaking last March in Germany, Lech added: 'I don't agree to see this issue in a way that there is a heterosexual culture and a homosexual culture and that they are equal. I see no reason to promote such attitudes, because if they were common, the human race would have to die out.'
Jaroslaw has complained that Polish 'gay people are allowed to conduct perverse demonstrations in the streets, but it is forbidden to discuss the issue of moral censorship.'
Previous Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said that if a homosexual 'tries to infect others with their homosexuality, then the state must intervene in this violation of freedom.'
Human Rights Watch said in February that the Law and Justice Party 'brings to power officials with long records of opposing gay and lesbian rights.'
In response to Kaczynski's remarks in Brussels, Robert Biedron, president of Poland's Campaign Against Homophobia, commented: 'Maybe Jaroslaw Kaczynski and I live in two different countries? ... This government is trying to use even such measures as drawing a [ link ] between organized crime, drugs, pedophiles and gay rights organizations!'