Archbishop Desmond Tutu, alongside three other Nobel Laureates, has called upon world governments, in particular Russian and Ugandan lawmakers, to safeguard the rights of LGBTI citizens.
Says the statement:
“Collectively we represent a diverse array of countries and cultures. Today more than ever, we wish to express that the same cultural values, which have fostered and supported our lifelong quests for peace, also command us to speak out against the violence and discrimination our fellow human beings are enduring every day solely because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.
In many of our countries the influence of colonial era laws still makes outlaws of LGBTI people. Recent legislative efforts like those underway in Russia and Uganda could pose even more sinister sanctions on LGBTI people as well their allies, ourselves included. The criminalization of adult, consensual homosexuality in any form is unacceptable. And, we must remain vigilant even in countries that rightly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, to ensure that LGBTI citizens are effectively protected from the hatred and bigotry that persists.”
The statement was released via the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights in conjunction with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and is co-signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Jody Williams, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, and Professor Muhammad Yunus.
This message comes less than a week after Simon Lokodo, Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity, closed down a gay rights conference and announced a ban on 38 human rights organizations for “promoting homosexuality.”
The Ugandan administration issued a statement on Friday saying that homosexuals are not persecuted in Uganda and are free to assemble, which international media took as a sign of an act of contrition on Lokodo’s part–this, as I explained in this piece, was false.
There have also been widespread calls from Uganda’s religious leaders for Parliament to move on a bill, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, that carries the death penalty for repeat offenders.
“It is clear that our government and Christian leaders are escalating their campaign of intimidation and harassment against the LGBTI community in Uganda,” Frank Mugisha, executive director of SMUG and 2011 RFK Human Rights Award Laureate, is quoted as saying. “We welcome the moral courage of Archbishop Tutu and other world leaders, echoing their call to allow LGBTI people to live in peace in Uganda.”
“Uganda’s efforts to enshrine homophobia in law could ignite a chain reaction through governments worldwide, putting the rights and safety of LGBTI people and their advocates in danger,” warned Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center, in a press release. “The Nobel Laureates’ concern is a direct response to those, who misappropriate cultural values to justify a growing attack on human rights.”
The statement, as noted above, also expressly fingers Russia for its move to create “homosexual propaganda” bans, laws that are so vague they have been used to prevent peaceful protests.
The full statement issued by the Laureates can be read on the next page.
Read more: africa, anti-homosexuality bill, david bahati, desmond tutu, gay, hiv prevention, human rights, kill the gays bill, lgbt, lgbt rights, lgbt Russia, lgbt uganda, Museveni, russia, simon lokodo, uganda
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