foreign relations

How Did Rwanda’s Own Homosexuality=Crime Bill Arrive Under Everyone’s Nose?


With so much focus on Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill, how did the international human rights community — or, say, the U.S. State Department — miss the news that Rwanda’s lawmakers are today voting on making homosexuality a crime?

Of course, some 80 countries around the world have laws on the books outlawing the “lifestyle” you are born with. In Africa, a whopping 38 out of 53 do. And Rwanda wants to join the list. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission writes in an email:

On December 16, 2009, the lower house of the Rwandan Parliament will hold its final debate on a draft revision of the penal code that will, for the first time, make homosexuality a crime in Rwanda. A vote on this draft code will occur before the end of the week. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned that the proposed Article 217 of the draft Penal Code Act will criminalize “[a]ny person who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relation or any sexual practice.” Rwanda’s Chamber of Deputies will vote on the draft code December 16, 2009. If the Chamber of Deputies approves, the draft code will go before the Rwandan Senate most likely in early 2010.

Article 217 violates Rwandans’ basic human rights and is contradictory to the Rwandan Constitution as well as various regional and international conventions. IGLHRC, the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), and Rwanda’s Horizon Community Association (HOCA) will shortly issue a call to action to demand that the Rwandan Parliament withdraw this article. We urge the international community to act against this proposed law and support the equality, dignity, and privacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Rwanda.

Curiously, as Box Turtle Bulletin points out, none other than Rick Warren has a close, personal relationship with Rwanda.

Huh. At least there’s no death sentence portion?

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  • terrwill

    Rick Warren and his ilk are far more dangerous than the
    old firebreathing frightwing nut bags of old such as the
    recently departed Oral Roberts. Warren and his minions with
    their smiles and low key demeanor makes one think they are
    less dangerous than their predeccesors. Be afraid Gays, be
    very afraid…………

  • rainfish2000

    What, did they run out of endangered Mountain Gorillas and Tutsi to exterminate in Rwanda?


    From Global Issues:

    “At least half a million people perished in the Rwandan genocide,” the report notes. “Perhaps as many as three quarters of the Tutsi population. At the same time, thousands of Hutu were slain because they opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it.”


    Rainfish2000 adds:

    It is really tragic how some people have to act sub-human in order to “prove” they are “superior” to one group or another. There is no race, religion, or ethnicity which is exempt from this perversion of human nature. Mankind’s biggest “sin” is his obsessive and irrational lust for the destruction of the diversity found in his own species. Tragic indeed.

  • Ann Garrison

    I was trying to talk about Rwanda on KPFA Radio News on Sunday, but there wasn’t time for conjecture about how this slipped past. I’m still trying to get the text of the actual bill.

    It didn’t get press because there was no death penalty included, for one. If Rwanda had a death penalty of any sort, it couldn’t extradite exiled Rwandans to go on trial in its abusive Gacaca courts.

    It didn’t get press, for two, I suspect, because Rwanda was trying to get into the Commonwealth, as they did, on 11.30.2009, thanks to the championship of Gordon Brown and Stephen Harper, who knew very well that this legisltion was in the works, but howled only about Uganda’s proposed legislation, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

    Human rights abuse of all sorts in is so wholesale in Uganda and Rwanda that I’ve been getting a bit embarrassed by the international community’s singular focus on this one particular human rights abuse, to the exclusion of all the others.

    Here’s the news segment I was on Sunday, 12/13/2009, with a video overlay:

    Hysterics and Hypocrites: Anti-gay Laws, War, Rape, and HIV in Africa,

  • Monte

    Gay people & most western brothers & sisters amuse me!!, now you talking about abuse of human rights in Rwanda, what is so different now huh?, ooh let me guess, bcoz Kagame is threatening to punish those demons(gays). People of Rwanda suffered under Kagame’ s regime, & you never complained about violation of human rights & now that is trying to do the right things you’re shouting!!. Gays must go to hell, that’s where they belong or they must go to europe where everyone is gay, not here in Africa. Fags are hated in africa & they must get life setences or death penalities.

  • FakeName

    Hell or Europe. Decisions, decisions, decisions…

    Could we just, I don’t know, seal off all these African countries like Uganda and Rwanda from the rest of the world until all of the murderous monsters who live there finish killing each other off and then start over again?

  • schlukitz

    Queerty said:

    Of course, some 80 countries around the world have laws on the books outlawing the “lifestyle” you are born with. In Africa, a whopping 38 out of 53 do.

    And 38 countries, out of 80 countries around the world, constitutes nearly half of the nations in which homosexuality is a crime.

    Would someone please tell me again that blacks do not hate queers OR VOTE ON LEGISLATION AGAINST THEM?

  • mathew

    Hey,am Rwandan.Gay is not part of our culture.Go f**K yourselves. Keep your Western perverted ways to yourselves and we dont care a bit about you. You suck, you smell.We will kill all of you and that will be the next genocide…f**kin bastards!!!Kagame and Museveni rock and Rick Warren of course!!

  • Daniel

    Rwanda is in the unstable part of Africa where men rape men, women, and children and then gay people get the blame when it is straight men doing it. Also, poor education means many Africans do not differentiate between gay people and child abusers, even though most child abusers self identify as heterosexual regardless of their victim’s gender. It is a scapegoat situation in a region where corruption is widespread; it is taken out of the Nazi handbook: whenever times get bad, start scapegoating groups you think won’t retaliate. But just like the ending of WW II, technology has advanced to where governments should not violate human rights.

  • Daniel

    The tragic thing about Rwanda is that the name means Land of a Thousand Hills, and under those grassy hills are buried hundreds of thousands of people murdered in the 90’s genocide. You would think that such a mass grave that people walk upon every single day would lead people to appreciate other people’s human rights but then you remember that most of the people in Rwanda are the people who committed genocide since the victims didn’t survive.

  • Tackel

    #6 Schlukits

    A Queerty poster once AGAIN lumping all blacks togeather!
    You would think by your commit that all blacks live in Rwanda. I guess in your twisted mind every single black person on the planet is an agreement with Rwanda and the rest of the 38 African countries in their treatment of GLBT people.

    You cannot hold every black person accountable for the actions of Rawanda or other African countries anymore than i can hold whites for the actions of Maine. The state is 97/98 percent white and voted against same sex marriage.

    Or white men in the U.S. who make-up over 90 percent of the murders and bashings of GLBT people since the start of the modern Gay rights movement, 1969.

    But on second thought, if you have a racist mentality, i guess you can and will hold every black responsibe for the actions of some.

  • schlukitz

    No. 10 · Tackel

    You cannot hold every black person accountable for the actions of Rawanda or other African countries anymore than i can hold whites for the actions of Maine. The state is 97/98 percent white and voted against same sex marriage.

    Red herring. We are talking the percentage of black people within the black community who hate gays. The percentage of white people within the white community who hate gays is another matter altogether.

    Or white men in the U.S. who make-up over 90 percent of the murders and bashings of GLBT people since the start of the modern Gay rights movement, 1969.

    Um…could you show some sources for those statistics please?

  • Tackel

    @ Schlukits

    When has Rawanda become the black community?? The last time i checked, i lived in the U.S.! And why is the percentage of black and white hate on GLBT two different matters?? Hate is hate!!

    I guess when SOME blacks hate, it gives you reason to express your racism!

    As far as the stats, type in race reguarding hate crimes against GLBT. Check the FBI reports and other crime stats reguarding this matter. It’s all there!

  • schlukitz

    No. 12 · Tackel

    You know, the more I think about your comments, the angrier I get.

    Like so many other apologists that find their way onto these threads, instead of being outraged by the pending legislation calling for homosexual genocide in Uganda, you pull a Godwin’s law out of your hat and play the racist card.

    Not one word against President Musaveni, however. People like you are quick to point out our hatred, while ignoring that of countries like Uganda and Rowanda.

    And, in your quest to be ever so politically correct, you aid and abet the very people who are looking to destroy us while condemning the victims. In fact, people like you are part of the problem. You are the enablers who make it possible for such laws to be passed.

    You can turn the other cheek if you like, but I will damned if I will allow myself to be herded into the railroad cars or allow myself to be one of the millions killed in either of those god-forsaken countries withbout a protest.

    And, if mhy protest is not politically correct, well then, you can just kiss my white ass because what people like you think of me is not important.

    What is important to me, is my civil-rights and the right to live on this planet, despite whoever thinks I am not entitled to either and I will continue to speak out and protest until my dying breath wherever these injustices are happening.

  • Really fake name

    Unbelievable what sort of word we live in.
    People people, I don’t care what you do who you are but when you make a decision to suck another man’s d#!k or worse don’t bullshit that you were born like that.
    It is a fact that when people want to justify their behaviour there is no lack of evidence.

    don’t try to make us understand (Rwandans) that we have to agree with your perverted ways.
    We were not born to conform. So what if Rwanda wants to deal with yet another scourge.

    Soon pedophiles will make us understand that it is their right to behave as they do just as you are trying to do here.

    Coming to think of it, who give you the right to comment on a sovereign nation conduct of business?
    We see your governments making policies that affect us every day, but do we get the right to express our dissatisfaction?

    Leave your nose out of Rwanda, the Rwanda you used to is no more.
    It will be business as usual, just keep barking.

  • schlukitz

    No. 14 · Really fake name

    just keep barking.

    The only people barking here, are mad dogs like you.

  • Really fake name


    Keep your white ass beliefs with you wherever that may be…
    just don’t try to convince everyone else to share them.

    You are right mad dogs we may be but we will actually bite you while you will keep barking.

  • schlukitz

    No. 16 · Really fake name

    Up yours, homophobic racist.

    The only scourge here, is people like you.

  • Really fake name

    Schlukitz playing the racist card are we???
    I am only copying your language.
    Other than that hating your disturbing choices has nothing to do with hating you.All love for you my fellow but I don’t have to like what you stand for.
    So enough with your antics and playing victim.

  • Habari gani?

    To my fellow Africans:
    Homosexuality is not caused by culture. It’s not Western – it’s something that people face in every corner of the world. The rich countries just don’t put people in jail for it. It’s just the way some people feel love and attraction, and most gays and lesbians hate the way they feel and try to change but can’t. Since it’s their own private lives and it doesn’t hurt other people, unlike pedophelia, the government shouldn’t make being gay a crime. Yes, it’s not traditional, but neither is family planning, cell phones, cars, or even Christianity. People should be allowed to live their lives the way that makes them happy so long as they don’t harm other people, even if the majority prefers to live differently.

  • Habari gani?

    To clarify – Christianity is not “traditional” in most of Africa. It’s hypocritical that we claim to cling to our traditions and revile the West when in fact it is the prudish and oppressive values of our 19th Century colonizers that we are clinging to. We need to decolonize our minds.

  • Reason

    Habari Gani is correct – homophobia in Africa is the fruit of colonialism, which itself was an expression of what we now call fundamentalism, the belief that domination and coercion are THE way to express spirituality.

    Every Rwandan, every Ugandan, every Jamaican who embraces anti-gay prejudice is a willing slave to the ideology that colonized and oppressed their countries.

    Mathew: You wrote “We will kill all of you and that will be the next genocide…f**kin bastards!!!” Christ said that to sin in one’s mind is the same as sinning with the body, and so you have sinned here, you have broken “thou shalt not kill”. That one sentence alone is enough to earn you eternal damnation if you do not repent. To be right with God, you must repent here of your sin against GLBTQ people, apologize and beg for forgiveness for threatening the lives of millions of God’s children.

    One more thought for you and your peers/sockpuppets:
    Proverbs 29:11
    A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

  • schlukitz

    No. 19 · Habari gani?

    I join No. 21 · Reason in saying that you are correct. Would that more of your fellow Africans were as open-minded and accepting as you are.

    The only thing you said that I would take issue with, was your comment that most gays and lesbians hate the way they feel and try to change but can’t.

    While this may, indeed, be true for some gays, who have allowed religion to imbue them with self-hatred and thus become the victims of fundamentalist brain-washers who claim that they can cure these unfortunate and unhappy gays, most of us accept who we are and embrace/celebrate our differences.

    Thank you for your thoughtful commentary.

Comments are closed.