Gay Crackdown Warning in Uganda

More news from Uganda, where key Bush ally and evangelical favourite Yoweri Museveni presides over an increasingly repressive country. Human Rights Watch reports:

In a country where a sodomy conviction carries a penalty of life imprisonment, a Ugandan tabloid’s decision to publish the names of alleged homosexuals is a chilling development that could presage a government crackdown, Human Rights Watch said today.

…”For years, President Yoweri Museveni’s government routinely threatens and vilifies lesbians and gays, and subjects sexual-rights activists to harassment,” said Jessica Stern, researcher in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program of Human Rights Watch.

And as with recent developments in Ghana and Nigeria (which we blogged here and here), even talking about gay rights can bring down the wrath of the state:

…The government has also silenced discussion of gay and lesbian rights and lives. The Broadcasting Council, a board of government censors, fined a radio station 1.8 million shillings (more than US$1000) for hosting a lesbian and two gay men on a talk show, where they protested against discrimination and called for repeal of the sodomy laws. In February 2005, the Media Council – a state censorship board – banned a staging of the play, “The Vagina Monologues,” by the U.S. author Eve Ensler, because it “promotes illegal acts of unnatural sexual acts, homosexuality and prostitution.”

The report comes just days after Museveni’s prime minister, Apolo Nsibambi, praised the efforts of religious groups in opposing homosexuality:

“There is a lot of international pressure for Uganda to back down from its position on marriage between one man and one woman,” Nsibambi said on Wednesday.

This was at the opening of the 18th Provincial Assembly of the Church of the Province of Uganda at Uganda Christian University in Mukono.

…”Importing values from the western world is inimical to our culture. I am glad to mention that the Church of Uganda, the Catholic Church and the Muslims joined hands to resist homosexuality in Africa,” Nsibambi said.

The Anglican meeting where Nsibambi spoke also discussed formally breaking links with parts of the Anglican Communion that hold more liberal views on homosexuality. The Living Church Foundation reported:

In his presidential address to the biennial assembly of the Church of the Province of Uganda held Aug. 30 at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Archbishop Orombi asked the assembly to revise its constitution to state the Church of Uganda “shall be in full communion with all churches, dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion that receive, hold and maintain the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God written.”

…Delegates to the meeting last month were also given copies of California mega-church pastor Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life, with a commendation from Archbishop Orombi.

Warren is a well-respected and influential figure in Uganda, where he has worked to improve AIDS awareness and treatment. As someone who is known for his various development plans for Africa, will he be willing to suggest to Museveni that persecuting people for their sexual orientation is not the right way to go about things?

UPDATE: No, Warren most certainly will not.

2 Responses

  1. […] American who has reportedly backed Museveni’s crack-down is Rick Warren, the media-savvy and “safe” Christian right leader whom Barak Obama and […]

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