LGBT in Africa - It is no fun.
The newest arrests in Gambia show defiantly its stance on Homosexuality and its desire to become the Iran of Africa, superseding anti-gay laws of its neighbouring African states, including Uganda and Liberia.
The plights of Gambian LGBT’s is becoming precarious, as these arrests are becoming more frequent, and Gambia is taking a similar stance on Homosexuality as other African states, and putting the safety and lives of African LGBT’s in danger.
Yet the western world and its governments stand by and do nothing in regards to the plight of African LGBT’s and the violation of their basic human rights.
And lest we forget, Gambia’s, President Yahya Jammeh, told a political rally that gay people had to leave the country. Gay rights activists have also condemned Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's threat to behead homosexuals.
He promised "stricter laws than Iran" on homosexuality and said he would "cut off the head" of any gay person found in The Gambia. Yahya Jammeh said “The Gambia is a country of believers... sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country”. What president Jammeh fails to realise is that there are a significant population of Gambians who are gay, and he has no right to ask them to leave. He's fighting to maintain his control over the country; he finds the weakest group and lays all the problems at their door.
According to the British gay rights activist Peter Tatchel ,"Jammeh has a long history of homophobia,”
The country is predominantly Muslim and President Jammeh cultivates an image of being a devout Muslim. In 2007, he was condemned by campaigners when he claimed to have cured people of HIV and Aids. His "cure" was a mixture of herbs that patients ate and spread on their bodies.
Taking into consideration, Gambia’s denial that male-to-male sex occurs or that their occurrence is significant to be taken seriously, has also another aspect. Denial of the reality of male-to-male sex is an enormous obstacle to efforts at AIDS prevention .
Because HIV education emphasizes only heterosexual transmission, men may be ignorant of the risks of male-to male sex or consider that the risks don’t apply to them – and may therefore be less likely to protect themselves. Many homosexuals engage in casual, fleeting and anonymous sexual encounters, in a clandestine, underground environment.
They may also not think of themselves as having sex with men. The combination of these factors makes them difficult to reach for prevention work. Male sex workers can be particularly difficult to access especially where the work is clandestine and where the workers are not organised into establishment.
By: Omar Kuddus.
My name is James Wandera. I am Executive Director of WEZESHA, a registered
human rights organization in Dar es salaam, founded in 2009 to stand up
for LGBT rights and increasing acceptance. (In Swahili, WEZESHA means "to
We work very hard in the field of LGBT legal rights, and among our
successes is that we managed to convince our government to include LGBT needs in our nation's HIV Prevention and Control Act of 2008 and its Gender Operational Plan for 2010-2012. As well, we have influenced our government, just this year. to create a formal Stigma Reduction Strategy.
We believe that partnering with Castle Gay Guide readers can help us build
up our capacity to serve our three million open LGBT in Tanzania and to
create a safer environment for all in which to understand and act on our
THE STANDING STUATION OF LGBT IN TANZANIA (HUMAN RIGHTS AND HIV)
WEZESHA promotes and protect the rights of LGBT in Tanzania; WEZESHA was formed to respond to the Homophobia we face in everyday life.
Homophobia against LGBT in Tanzania is well known. The challenges vary from everyday personal hardships to high-level factors such as hostility from civil society organizations, religious bodies, government, and law enforcement. In many cases, homophobia is perpetuated by policies that criminalize Homosexuality or neglect our basic human rights. Harassment, rejection, and violence lead many of us to actively hide our feelings and relationships, denying ourselves the social support that could improve our health and quality of life.
Here in Uganda the conditions for LGBT citizens
remains terrible and we are trying to get well-wishers who could help in terms
of health facilities, advice and access us to human rights by providing us
with pamphlets and books both for human rights and health education. Our
people need to be kept up-dated and equippedwith proper information.
Even as I make this request, our conditions are worsening because members
of parliament have introduced a bill which would inflict on us heavy
punishments such as the death sentence, life imprisonment, and other, similarly
harsh and untoward punishments.
Member of Parliament, the Hon. BAHATI DAVID, proposed such a bill and we
are, understandably, frightened. If it passes we are in serious trouble.
Some other groups who are against us include pastors such as MARTIN SSEMPA, KYAZE MICHEAL of Omega healing Centre, and Cardinal WAMALA EMMANUEL of the Catholic Church of Uganda.
If we get access to human rights we shall challenge them in the courts.
These kinds of bills, e believe, are more deadly to our community than is
HIV. In addition, we need health education at all levels.
We are willing to die for our rights.
Yours faithfully Mr. M (identity known at Castlegayguide)
Jonas is 19 years old. Francky is 20. And a judge in Cameroon just sentenced them both to 5 years in prison for being gay.
Cameroon has several laws that criminalize homosexuality -- at least 10 people have been arrested this year alone. Last July, Jonas and Francky were arrested outside a club on suspicion of violating these discriminatory anti-gay laws.
“Violence against gay people in Cameroon has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels: the situation is quickly becoming a crisis," says human rights attorney Alice Nkom. “The president of Cameroon can put a stop to this and, if he feels enough pressure, he will do so."
Stephane Koche is a Cameroonian LGBT rights activist working with the organization ADEFHO (Association of Defence of Homosexuals) to free Jonas and Francky. Stephane started a petition on Change.org demanding that Cameroonian president Paul Biya free Jonas and Francky immediately. Please sign Stephane's petition today.
The good news is that Cameroonian leaders have been responsive to pressure in cases like Jonas and Francky's. Indeed, pressure from local activists has already helped to free 3 of those 10 individuals who were arrested, and this past May, global pressure on the president of Malawi compelled him to release a gay couple who had been jailed after they got married.
If President Biya feels international pressure to release Jonas and Francky, he will do so, but time is of the essence.