Globe, Human Rights, In Focus

Institutionalised homophobia in Africa

In late January this year gay rights activist David Kato was murdered at the door of his house in Uganda, following an incident in October 2010 in which a Ugandan newspaper published the photographs, names and addresses of 100 gay citizens.

According to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) since the publication of these details a number of gay people have been attacked and during the past year 20 people have been assaulted and a further 17 have been sent to prison for their sexual orientation.

In 2009 a group of Ugandan Members of Parliament tried to change the law so that ‘offending’ homosexuals could be sentenced to death or to life imprisonment, an initiative that wasn’t accepted thanks to the opposition movement in favour of gay rights in Uganda and the pressure of Western governments.

Presently, you can be convicted with up to 14 years in prison for homosexual acts and in countries such as Mauritania, Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria the sentence is the death penalty.  A total of 38 African countries have laws against homosexuality.

David Kato
David Kato

To deal with this complex subject, the Frontline Club in London has organised a roundtable discussion on gay rights in Africa.  During the talk the debate that will be broadcast by the BBC World News in a program called ‘Is Homosexuality un-African?’ will be shown. 

Both African gay rights activists and principal legislators for each of the different states that have proposed the most drastic measures and legislations against gay people from this continent will feature in the debate.

During the talk at the Frontline Club the debate will be discussed from the British perspective.  They will also assess the case of asylum seekers in the United Kingdom who don’t want to return to their countries for fear of being persecuted for their sexuality along with the paradox and contradictions that emerge between those who defend the cultural understanding of African countries and the human rights defenders.

Date and Location: March 9, 2011 8.30pm at 13 Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ

(Translated by Emily Russell – Email: )

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