Monday, December 23, 2013


It is most definitely not on my travel agenda and it shouldn’t be on any LGBT people travel agenda.
Ugandan parliament passes tough anti-gay law
LA Times
By Robyn Dixon
December 20, 2013

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Uganda's parliament on Friday passed tough anti-gay legislation that will punish those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality" with life in jail.

While same-sex marriage has been enshrined in a growing number of Western countries, human rights advocates say gay rights are receding in much of Africa.

Homosexual acts have long been illegal in Uganda and many other parts of the continent, where gays and lesbians are at risk of being beaten up, jailed and even killed. Supporters of Uganda's bill argued that tougher measures were needed to protect family values.

The original legislation introduced by lawmaker David Bahati in 2009 contained a clause providing the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality." However, this was dropped in the wake of an international outcry. The bill was repeatedly shelved and revived because of the controversy.

Under the bill approved Friday, "aggravated homosexuality" includes sex acts between adults and minors.
I cannot even imagine what life in Ugandan prisons would be like especially if you are gay.

There is a case here in the U.S. about this Ugandan law and the Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively. Is being sued under the Alien Tort Statute, the according to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR),
The Alien Tort Statute (ATS), also known as the Alien Tort Claims Act, has been a powerful tool through which foreign victims of human rights abuses can seek civil remedies in U.S. courts. Adopted as part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, the ATS allows non-U.S. citizens to sue for violations of the “law of nations” or customary international law, or of a treaty of the United States, in U.S. courts. It has been used to bring claims for human rights violations against government officials, non-state actors and multi-national corporations. Since Congress adoption of the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) in 1991, which President George H.W. Bush signed into law in 1992, the TVPA has be a mechanism for both U.S. and non-U.S. victims of torture and extra-judicial killing to seek redress in U.S. courts.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is handling the case against Lively on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBTI advocacy groups in Uganda. The case is being heard in Springfield MA and according to the CCR,
On March 14, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBTI advocacy groups in Uganda, against Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively. Filed in the United States District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, the suit alleges that Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the conspiracy to strip away fundamental rights from LGBTI persons, constitutes persecution. This is the first known Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The CCR goes on to describe the ATS,
The case is brought under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”), 28 U.S.C. §1350, which provides federal jurisdiction for “any civil action by an alien, for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”  United States Supreme Court has affirmed the use of the ATS as a remedy for serious violations of international law norms that are widely accepted and clearly defined.  Persecution, as a crime against humanity that is universally proscribed and clearly defined in international law, is such a violation.   Persecution is defined in international law as the “intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity.” [Their emphasis]
One thing to bear in mind is that if this is successful that this same law could also apply to “family coalitions” that have gone to Russia to speak to President Putin.

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