Authorities again shut down Uganda Pride

  • by Heather Cassell
  • Wednesday September 28, 2016
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Ugandan police blocked LGBT activists' second attempt to host Uganda Pride this year, stopping the September 24 event before it even started.

Getting ahead of activists, police arrived at Entebbe, by Lake Victoria in southern Uganda, near the capital city Kampala, where the event was relocated.

More than 100 people were gathering when they were confronted by police, who rounded them up and placed them into buses without explanation, according to media reports.

"The police arrived at the venue before the event organizers," human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told BuzzFeed News.

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera refused to leave the event, and confronted authorities, asking them, "On what grounds should we leave?"

"We are people who have come to have fun," said Nabagesera, pointing out that celebrants were gathered in a public park. "Until he gives us reasons and any legal offenses that we've committed we aren't going anywhere."

Nabagesera's car was eventually towed by police.

Last month, police raided a Uganda Pride pageant, arresting and detaining movement leaders and participants. One man was so scared he jumped out of the four-story building and was hospitalized. The unnamed participate sustained serious injuries but is doing well, Richard Lusimbo, a 29-year-old gay man who is the research and documentations officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda, told the Bay Area Reporter earlier this month.

Authorities claimed neither event was authorized. Ugandan LGBT rights leaders dispute authorities' claims, and have posted documents showing that authorities approved the event.

Homosexuality is currently criminalized in Uganda.

Simon Lokodo, minister of Uganda's ethics and integrity cabinet, defended blocking Uganda Pride, stating that the parade was designed to promote homosexuality to young people.

"We wish to emphasize that whereas the promotion of homosexuality is criminalized under the penal code, there is no violence against the LGBT community in Uganda �" contrary to some claims made loosely by proponents of this movement," Lokodo said in his statement banning the event.

Ugandan LGBT activists disagreed. They said both efforts to stop Pride events serve as examples of the types of violence LGBT Ugandans face. SMUG outlined the types of violence Uganda's LGBT community experiences in a report released earlier this year.

To read the report, visit


Obama highlights LGBT rights at last UN meeting

President Barack Obama made one final stand for LGBT people around the world when he addressed the United Nations' 71st General Assembly in New York last week.

In his last speech to the U.N. as president, Obama warned against preserving identities that "dehumanize or dominate another group."

"If our religion leads us to persecute those of another faith, if we jail or beat people who are gay, if our traditions lead us to prevent girls from going to school, if we discriminate on the basis of race or tribe or ethnicity, then the fragile bonds of civilization will fray," he said.

"The world is too small, we are too packed together, for us to be able to resort to those old ways of thinking," Obama continued.

He expressed hope talking about people in remote corners of the world who have been standing up and "demanding respect for the dignity of all people" without regard to disability, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

"Those who deny others dignity are subject to public reproach," Obama said, noting the effect of social media for better or worse in displaying human rights atrocities to being a social enforcer for dignity of all people.

"And so I believe that at this moment we all face a choice. We can choose to press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration. Or we can retreat into a world sharply divided, and ultimately in conflict, along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion," he said. "I want to suggest to you today that we must go forward, and not backward."


UN event promotes LGBT rights

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined more than 20 world leaders to discuss the future of global LGBT rights and the challenges ahead during a U.N. side event during the General Assembly.

The event followed Obama's speech.

The world leaders attended #Path2Equality: Global Leaders Discuss Progress Toward LGBT Equality hosted by OutRight Action International.

"Every year, hundreds are killed, thousands are badly hurt, and millions live their lives under a shadow of discrimination and disapproval. This is an outrage," said Ban.

Ban has been a champion for global LGBT rights, after facing criticism when he was first appointed in 2007. He has supported historic U.N. resolutions to protect LGBT people around the world and launched the U.N.'s Free and Equal campaign. This year, he supported the U.N. Human Rights Council in appointing its first-ever U.N. independent expert of LGBT individuals.

Ban's tenure leading the international governmental organization ends next year.

"Many governments refuse to acknowledge human rights abuses against LGBT people �" or accept responsibility for ending them," Ban said. "These abuses will only end when countries take concrete steps to protect people: new laws, policies and programs. This takes leadership and a commitment to work with affected communities."

Belizean LGBT activist Caleb Orozco, who was a guest of honor of OutRight Action International at the event, was a prime example. Orozco successfully challenged Belize's sodomy law, which led to the country's high court striking it down last month.

Throughout the week Orozco participated in other LGBT U.N. side events hosted by OutRight, an international LGBT human rights organization, such as the panel discussion, "Gender Identity at the United Nations."

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said, "Defending, protecting and broadening the spectrum of rights for the LGBT community is a duty that our nations must assume."

"Fighting for LGBT rights is fighting for human rights. ... We must fight every kind of violence, especially the brutal acts that on a daily basis pose a threat for members of the LGBT community, and many of which, remain unpunished," she continued.

Progress has been made by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council. More than 100 countries have accepted recommendations aimed at protecting LGBT people from discrimination, Ban pointed out.

Next month, the U.N. reported that its Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights will release a study on more than 200 initiatives in 65 countries.

Ban commended the countries such as Mozambique, the Seychelles, and Nauru that have followed the U.N.'s recommendations to decriminalize homosexuality.

"These major advances happened thanks to brave individuals who stood up for what is right," said Ban, adding that the U.N. is "committed to action" for LGBT rights alongside global LGBT human rights organizations, like OutRight.

"The U.N. system is moving forward together. This progress was hard-fought and hard-won," he continued, noting the criticism he has weathered for his support of LGBT rights.

Ban didn't waver, in spite of the criticism.

"All countries have accepted the principle �" enshrined in international law �" that human rights are universal. Consensus is ours. Let's insist on action," he said.


Anti-gay US pastor arrested in Botswana

Anti-gay U.S. pastor Steven Anderson was arrested in Botswana September 20 and deported from the country after government officials declared he was a "prohibited immigrant."

Four to five other preachers traveling with Anderson, including the pastor who was appointed to start a church in Botswana, were also deported, Anderson said in a September 22 video post to YouTube.

The Botswana government didn't provide any other details about decision.

However, President Ian Khama personally ordered Anderson's arrest following a radio interview where he said homosexuals should be "stoned to death," reported Gay Star News.

"We don't want hate speech in this country. Let him do it in his own country," said Khama.

Anderson was also barred from entering South Africa to host his "Soul-Winning Marathon" in Johannesburg.

The ban was the result of a successful campaign spearheaded by GaySA Radio and All Out.

The United Kingdom didn't want him passing through its country on his way to Africa either and banned him.

Anderson was in the news in June for celebrating the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead. He reportedly told congregants at his Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church that there are now "50 less pedophiles in this world."

LGBT activists were pleased with the Botswana government's action.

"This a great day for Africa," Pamela Adie, senior campaigns manager at All Out, a global LGBT rights organization, told the Associated Press. "This decision sends a strong message to international evangelists that hate messages are not welcome in Africa and by its people."

Anderson arrived in Botswana September 15 and preached at a Sunday event, according to a post on Facebook.

"Obviously the church is not going to be founded at this time. Faithful Word Baptist Church is going to have to wait till some future date," said Anderson in a September 22 YouTube video titled, "Botswana Update #7 �" What a Failure!"

However, he said he wasn't giving up. In the video he sent a message to the "sodomites" cheering his failed mission, but he declared the mission a success and outlined ways he was still going to start his church in Botswana.

Homosexuality isn't widely accepted throughout Africa. Many African countries criminalize homosexuality and it's a taboo subject. LGBT rights in Botswana are currently undergoing some legal challenges. This year, an appeals court ruled in favor of LGBT organizations officially registering with the government, which opposed it.


Got international LGBT news tips? Call or send them to Heather Cassell at Skype: heather.cassell, or [email protected].