Humanity is Under Attack in Uganda, IPPF Says
By Henry Neondo
KAMPALA---The International Planned Parenthood Federation has urged the Ugandan government to reconsider its decision to ban non-governmental organisations accused of destroying the country’s tradtions and culture.
In a statement issued Wednesday, IPPF said the banning of the 38 NGOs will not only affect the rights of gay Ugandans but the rights of all its citizens.
The statement came following a move by Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity to finally ban 38 non-governmental organizations accused of ‘promoting’ homosexuality. This includes any organization receiving international support to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda.
IPPF Director-General Tewodros Melesse said the right of individuals to choose and to practise what they are has to be embodied in every culture. The State should not interfere in an individual’s life and must respect their right to privacy. Sexual rights are human rights, and are universal.
“They encompass a range of issues related to sexual health and sexuality. They are fundamental to wellbeing, health, equal opportunity and development. Although they are implicit in human rights principles, too often they are ignored by governments,” he said.
Melesse said evidence from 78 countries that continue to criminalize same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults is a case in point. “Even where this is not illegal, LGBTI people are among the most marginalized and discriminated against in society”.
Reaction by the IPPF follows that voiced earlier by AIDS advocates who last week said the banning of non-governmental agencies in Uganda is not only a severe setback for the rights of LGBTI people but sets a precedent that does not recognize the invaluable contribution that NGOs make to the vibrancy and fabric of any society.
Advocates said LGBT individuals are often targets of exclusion and violence on account of their real or perceived sexual orientation. This reality, they point out, was underscored in January 2011 with the brutal murder of a Ugandan, David Kato.
In recognition of his life and courage and the continued struggle of LGBTI individuals around the world, IPPF and other partners established the David Kato Vision & Voice Award dedicated to those fighting violence, stigma and discrimination.
Despite recent advances in some countries adopting legislation to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and others legalizing gay marriage, this continuing battle in Uganda highlights that the fight for the sexual rights of LGBTI people around the world is far from over.