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Uganda: Make war on AIDS, not on gays or HIV-positives

publié en ligne : 5 June 2008

Act Up-Paris condemns Wednesday’s arrest in Kampala of thirteen militants from the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda. The militants were taken into custody during an AIDS conference while they spoke out against the exclusion of sexual minorities from management of the epidemic. They were charged with “promoting homosexuality” and “behavior against the laws of nature.” The Ugandan constitution forbids homosexuality, and the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, openly encourages discrimination against homosexuals. The arrested militants risk imprisonment for life.

Uganda has one of the world’s most homophobic legislations. Human Rights Watch placed the country’s president at the top of their list of worldwide leaders guilty of discrimination against homosexuals. One tabloid has for several years repeatedly published the names of supposed homosexuals by the tens: these publications give way to police suppression and serious legal repercussions. Homosexuals simply do not have the right to live in Uganda.

After more than twenty years of the epidemic, there is no doubt that the fight against AIDS cannot tolerate discrimination against sexual minorities, and that this principle cannot tolerate any exception.

France must respond by following up on the agreements of Rama Yade [1]and publicly condemning the Ugandan legislation, police practices, and judicial discrimination against homosexuals.

Act Up-Paris urges the French government and the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People (l’OFPRA)—just as the Geneva Convention of 1951 permits by law—to grant refugee status to all those leaving Uganda as victims of discrimination against their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and appealing to France for asylum.

Notes

[1] 2008/05/17 - International Day Against Homophobia (Idaho).
- Official press release from Mme Rama Yade, French State Secretary for Human Rights : Meeting with Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender NGOs.

- Press release from Act Up-Paris : Journée mondiale de lutte contre l’homophobie : après la reconnaissance, quels engagements ?.

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