Uganda's Constitutional Court Strikes Down Anti-Homosexuality Law
August 1, 2014 -- The Council for Global Equality welcomes the decision today by Uganda's Constitutional Court to strike down that country's odious "Anti-Homosexuality" Law. The Court determined that the passage of the law was not in keeping with correct democratic procedures and struck it down on technical grounds involving the lack of a quorum to pass the bill. The civil society leaders who led the challenge to the law, and stood firmly in support of human rights for all Ugandans, won a remarkable victory for human rights and democracy today. We applaud them, along with those in the international community who have steadfastly opposed this anti-democratic and discriminatory law.
The Council urges that Ugandan officials not reintroduce the bill and instead move forward toward equality for all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We also hope that President Museveni of Uganda will use the occasion of his official visit to Washington next week for the first-ever Africa Leaders Summit to demonstrate a stronger appreciation of the principle that all citizens, including Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender minority, deserve equal respect and treatment under the law.
Council Calls for President Obama to Raise LGBT Issues at Africa Summit
In August, President Obama will host the first-ever U.S.- Africa Summit. The theme, “Investing in the Next Generation,” raises the hope that the next generation of LGBT Africans will have an equal opportunity to participate, as equal citizens, in the future of the continent.
To promote an LGBT perspective, the Council wrote to President Obama to ask that the official program include LGBT individuals, organizations and experiences to enrich both the Summit and the generational advance to which it aspires. The letter also highlights opportunities to make the business case for inclusion during business and trade forums at the Summit.
See a copy of the letter here.
The Council for Global Equality Welcomes the White House Efforts to Protect Human Rights in Uganda
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The Council for Global Equality welcomes today’s White House announcement of new, concrete steps in our country’s bilateral relationship with Uganda in response to President Museveni’s decision to sign into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act earlier this year. These steps reaffirm the importance the U.S. attaches to a foreign policy that prioritizes respect for the human rights of all people, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – an important legacy of this Administration.
We take note in particular the announcement of new visa restrictions aimed at restricting entry to those deemed responsible for human rights abuses, including those enabled by this heinous law, and other corrupt practices. In taking this action, the Administration has placed responsibility where it should lie – with those individuals who have enacted the new law, not the broader Ugandan people. We urge that a speedy review of visa eligibility be the template for prospective U.S. responses whenever human rights are abridged, or corrupt practices undertaken, in any country.
US Department of State LGBT Human Rights Fact Sheet
The United States Department of State recently released a fact sheet on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) human rights issues. The statement notes that "The U.S. Department of State has significantly expanded efforts to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons over the past year." The State Department has focused on five areas of engagement under the Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.
- Combating Criminalization of LGBT Status or Conduct Abroad
- Protecting Vulnerable LGBT Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- Foreign Assistance to Protect Human Rights and Advance Nondiscrimination
- U.S. Responses to Human Rights Abuses of LGBT Persons Abroad
- Engaging International Organizations in the Fight Against LGBT Discrimination
Click here to learn more
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
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This past week we joined with the worldwide LGBT community in celebrating IDAHOT – the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Visit our blog for more information.
Join Global Actions in Support of LGBT Human Rights
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The release of the U.S. State Department's 2013 Human Rights Reports highlights continued human rights abuses directed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations around the globe. Here is a short list of ways that you can stay informed and lend your voice to the global LGBT community. More generally you can show your support by using the power of social media to send messages of support to those communities that are facing the harsh reality of discrimination.
Council for Global Equality Urges Coca-Cola To Do More
Coca-Cola's Super Bowl ad, which will also air for U.S. audiences during the Sochi Olympics, paints a picture of an inclusive and diverse America. Despite many months of discussion and dialogue with the LGBT community, we are disappointed that Coca-Cola has not sought to air a genuinely LGBT-affirming ad in Russia or in other countries where that message so desperately needs to be heard. Values, after all, should not stop at water's edge. We urge that, as a major sponsor of the Sochi Olympics, Coca Cola affirm its values to Russian audiences and to the entire Olympic community.
CGE and other human rights advocates have been asking Olympic Corporate sponsors to stand up for LGBT rights all year.
View the letter signed by 40 international human rights organizations here.
Why Does the Sochi Olympics Matter?
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The Olympic Charter celebrates equality – equal opportunity both on and off the ice and snow. The Olympics are about fair competition and respect for fellow athletes. They provide a unique opportunity to build bridges – celebrating that, wherever we come from, we are one. Laws like Russia's anti-LGBT law sully that spirit – they’re not fair, they’re not democratic, and they divide. They have no place in the Olympic Village, and they have no place in today’s world.
Uganda Passes Odious Anti-LGBT Law
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The Council for Global Equality joins our colleagues in Uganda and around the world in condemning the adoption today of a harsh, anti-gay law that sentences LGBT Ugandans to life in prison. President obama condemned an earlier version of the bill – substantially quite similar to the bill that now has passed – in simple and forceful terms as “odious.” With global condemnation and the weight of history in the balance, we urge Uganda’s president to reject this assault on the fundamental rights of his fellow citizens. Passage of this legislation is all the more shocking because a sweeping, anti-gay law also moved forward this week in Nigeria, while Russia continues its own legal assault on its LGBT citizens in advance of the Sochi Olympics. At year’s end, when people around the world are celebrating the blessings of the year past and the promise of the year to come, we mourn that such intolerance prevails.
Open Letter to President Putin on Russia’s Discriminatory Anti-LGBT Laws
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November 15, 2013
Dear President Putin:
Washington DC - Like many of our generation, we have applauded Russia’s 20-year turn toward democracy, confident in the prospect it lays not only for closer relations between our countries, but for the freer and more prosperous future that the Russian people deserve. In that light, we write to express grave concern at recent legislation – signed by you into law, or otherwise under consideration in the Duma – that demonizes and discriminates against Russian citizens who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).