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Joint CSO Letter to World Bank on Discrimination in Uganda’s Health Sector

Dr. Jim Yong Kim
The World Bank
Washington DC

Dear Dr. Kim:

We write to follow up on our letters of April 1 and May 6, 2014, regarding concerns about discrimination in Uganda’s health sector and the World Bank’s delay of its US$90 million loan.

We, once again, welcome your commitment to ensure that there is no discrimination in World Bank financed projects in Uganda and public recognition that discrimination is not only wrong, but undermines economic growth.

Six months after your decision to delay the health sector loan, we remain concerned that there are still not sufficient safeguards in place to prevent discrimination in health service provision for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) patients, or for women, among other groups in Uganda. In this letter, we share recommendations for the World Bank’s next steps in Uganda and request a meeting with your office as you chart a strategic way forward to ensure that World Bank funding does not entrench discrimination via its loans and other financial instruments. On August 26 during a meeting with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Uganda’s former minister of health and new prime minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, made comments that reinforce this concern: he agreed that there is discrimination in the health sector, and that the government is not equipped to monitor the health sector for discrimination or to respond to discrimination when it occurs.

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Uganda's Constitutional Court Strikes Down Anti-Homosexuality Law

royalmile-ugandaAugust 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.
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Council Calls for President Obama to Raise LGBT Issues at Africa Summit

whitehouse-400pxIn 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

the white house washingtonThe 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.

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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.

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International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

idahot-cge-hpThis 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.

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Join Global Actions in Support of LGBT Human Rights

candle-bkThe 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.

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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?



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. 

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Uganda Passes Odious Anti-LGBT Law

candle-bkThe 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.

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