Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity has announced that a decision has been taken to ban 38 non-governmental organizations accused of destroying the traditions and culture of Uganda by ‘promoting’ homosexuality. This includes any organization receiving international support to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide essential services that government agencies are ill-equipped, unable or unwilling to do; and more often than not non-governmental organizations work in tandem with government bodies in-country to ensure that the needs of all its citizens are met. The banning of non-governmental agencies in Uganda is not only a severe setback for the rights of LGBTI people but sets a precedent that does not recognize the invaluable contribution that NGOs make to the vibrancy and fabric of any society. Although these organizations have yet to be named, this list will inevitably include organizations that support not only LGBTI Ugandans – but those that promote a culture of rights for all Ugandans.
IPPF Director-General Tewodros Melesse said:
“The right of individuals to choose and to practise what they are has to be embodied in every culture. The State should not interfere in an individual’s life and must respect their right to privacy. Sexual rights are human rights, and are universal.
“They encompass a range of issues related to sexual health and sexuality. They are fundamental to wellbeing, health, equal opportunity and development. Although they are implicit in human rights principles, too often they are ignored by governments. This is evidenced by the 78 countries that continue to criminalize same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults. Even where this is not illegal, LGBTI people are among the most marginalized and discriminated against in society.”
Individuals are often targets of exclusion and violence on account of their real or perceived sexual orientation. This reality was underscored in January 2011 with the brutal murder of a Ugandan, David Kato. In recognition of his life and courage and the continued struggle of LGBTI individuals around the world, IPPF and other partners established the David Kato Vision & Voice Award dedicated to those fighting violence, stigma and discrimination.
Despite recent advances in some countries adopting legislation to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and others legalizing gay marriage, this continuing battle in Uganda highlights that the fight for the sexual rights of LGBTI people around the world is far from over.
IPPF is both a service provider and an advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights. We are a worldwide network of 152 Member Associations active in over 170 countries. IPPF works to ensure that all people – particularly poor, marginalized and under-served communities – have the opportunity to exercise their rights and to make free and informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
David Kato Vision & Voice Award
David Kato – human rights activist, friend, and colleague – was murdered in his home in Kampala, Uganda on 26 January 2011. Inspired by his work, the David Kato Vision & Voice Award recognizes the leadership of individuals who strive to uphold the sexual rights of LGBTI people. The inaugural recipient of this award was Maurice Tomlinson, gay rights activist and lawyer from Jamaica. http://www.visionandvoiceaward.com.
For further information contact Jennifer Woodside on tel +44 (0) 20 7939 8227, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org