Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, hopes to fast-track anti-gay legislation in her country that would sentence those convicted of “”the offense of homosexuality” to life imprisonment.
So it’s a little surprising she was selected to chair a human-rights conference in London.
This week Kadega oversaw the International Parliamentary Conference on Gender and Politics in Westminster, where attendees discussed the lack of political power and representation felt by women around the world.
At the conference British MP Margot James spoke on behalf of the LGBT community, which knows something about disenfranchisement: “As a gay woman I would not be able to even stand for election in many of the countries represented here today, and the situation is even more dire for gay men in so much of the Commonwealth,” she said. “I urge the women legislators here today to stand up for the gay minority in your country and remember those who, like women, are discriminated against.”
But James’ words fell on Kadega’s deaf ears, as the Ugandan politician has promised to speed up the debate on the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill (formerly known as the “Kill the Gays” bill) which has been bouncing around the Ugandan Parliament since 2009. (Debate was reopened in October 2011, with Kadaga saying it would be sent to committee.)
It’s believed President Yoweri Museveni would probably bow to international pressure and veto the bill, but speaking to religious leaders last week, Kadega said, “If the price of aid is going to be the promotion of homosexuality in this country, I think we don’t want that aid.”
Kadaga had recently been called out for Uganda’s “trampling” of human rights by Canadian foreign-affairs minister John Baird, but stated she “will not accept to be intimidated or directed by any government in the world on matters of homosexuality.”
You can mail the organizers at: [email protected]
I did and this was their reply:
Thank you for getting in touch and for raising your concerns.
Ugandan Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was invited to participate as a prominent African woman parliamentarian, and in her capacity as the Chair of the African group of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians. She chaired, as a senior presiding officer attending the conference, one session of the International Parliamentary Conference on Gender and Politics, focusing on the use of quotas to increase women in parliament.
Whilst the organisers and all who attended are aware of the differences of belief that exist, including her in such a meeting presents an opportunity to her international parliamentary colleagues to raise their concerns and disagreements with her. The subject of homosexual rights was specifically raised in this session by Margot James MP as she thought it important to urge the women parliamentarians representing countries with laws against gay men and lesbians to defend human rights and challenge these laws. It was also brought up in subsequent sessions by parliamentarian delegates representing Botswana and Morocco among others, and received support from other delegates.
Given the good diplomatic and inter-parliamentary relations that exist between Uganda and the UK, we believe that such issues are best resolved through discussion and collaboration in the spirit of encouraging dialogue and inclusiveness. Conferences of this sort allow us important opportunities to express a common UK view in support of non-discrimination on matters of sexual orientation, and we do not discriminate against delegates on the basis of them having different views on key human rights concerns in the hope that by engaging them we can expose them to different views and diverse perspectives which might advance the cause of human rights overall.
Andrew Tuggey, Director, CPA UK and Rick Nimmo, Director, BGIPU
Thank you for your reply, although I am disappointed.
You and I do not disagree on the fact that these issues are best resolved through discussion, however extreme the points of view may be.
It is about the fact that this woman does not even recognise the universal right to live. You gave her power, as a chairwoman, who gets to speak on human rights.
Would you go into a discussion led by someone who thinks you should be killed and has the power to do so? No free and descent conversation can be a result of this.
Now you are hindering the process you tried to achieve.
If I even try to comment I will end up saying things that I will later regret. International sanctions of all aid across the board for these barbaric hate mongers.
Or a couple of well placed nukes. Sorry.
I understand your frustration, but screaming back will definitely not improve the situation in Uganda.
I should have added to my email, to clarify:
Now white, foreign people are telling Africans how to live their lives, that will never work. They will resist no matter what. It is a human trait.
She said: “If the price of aid is going to be the promotion of homosexuality in this country, I think we don’t want that aid.”
Change will only come from within African countries, they didn’t have good experiences with colonial rule. We (who are we?) can only support the process of having people, who are living less developed countries, make their own governments accountable for their lives.
Unfortunately many countries on the continent are run by thugs such as this woman, who will just consider her invitation to this event as justification for her own self-importance and rightness, and weaken the status of her opponents. The organizers of this coference are so blissfully naive regarding this mindset that it would be laughable if it were not so tragic.
I have trouble feeling compassion for people that are so ignorant as to believe having sex with children will cure them from [email protected]viveutvivas: I totally agree. I also know something of the history of Africa prior to and after colonization. A violent history of predation and slavery, long before the Arabs and the Portuguese. I spent a year in and around Ethiopia in 1983. What I saw there still haunts me to this day.
You are so right! The organizers are probably white heterosexual males, who wouldn’t even recognize discrimination if it hit them in the face. (Those poor Africans, they don’t know any better).
I’m Dutch and as a kid I promised myself to make it in America, the land of the free and opportunities. But while growing up and having visited the U.S. several times I found out it is a really harsh country, with lots of racism and homophobia. So sad that racism is real, when there is only one human race. I changed my plans.
When you live on the Continent and have some interest in history and art it is hard to ignore that we were savages not that long ago. Look at historic paintings: They are full of torture and hanging people in nooses in the background. I live right next to this building: http://www.gevangenpoort.nl/page/information. Those torture chambers made the toughest guy in class faint, when we visited it in high school.
Recent changes in America: A man of color, The President of the USA, openly endorsing same sex marriages, got reelected. I found a new energy, that change is possible and can happen really quickly.
This kind of thing is what we are fighting, not homophobia:
(alcohol abuse in Uganda)
You can be as diplomatic and engaging as you want. Me, I’m older.. and I’ve seen
what ugly bitches like this can do. She needs seasoning, this one.
@Fitz: And then what? She is beyond help. She should not have been given any credit, by the organizers, in the first place.
Mr. Enemabag Jones
If she were an avoid racist, or holocaust denier, she wouldn’t have been invited to chair shit. Being anti-gay seems to be a-ok everywhere.
Most of these countries have been indoctrinated for decades, if not centuries, by European and American RELIGIOUS organizations. Indoctrinated with anti-gay religious propaganda and culture along with food and monetary assistance.
It was only 40 years ago in the US that you could still be jailed for being gay, lose your job, your property, disowned by your family. So trying to force Uganda to get with the program might take some time. Especially when you still have christian organizations pushing anti-gay beliefs along with their monetary aid in a lot of these countries.
The idea that these small african countries are acting on their own free will with their own self-developed anti-gay beliefs is ridiculous.
Unfortunately, the British NGO community has had the disease of “selective stupidity” for many years now.
This is just the latest in a long line of violent, murderous homophobes who are invited by the lefty community in London to “dialogue.”
Years ago, I lived in London when a radical violent cleric named Yusuf al-Qaradawi was invited to London as a personal guest of then-Mayor Livingstone, who took great pains to praise his “moderate views.”
Qaradawi was notorious for calling for the violent torture and execution of gay people, and this was pointed out several times. The response from the UK pols who invited him to speak?
“He only advocates that in his home country, NOT in the UK, so it’s not an issue. Criticizing his personal beliefs on this issue is colonialism.” No joke.
Gay people in Britain have to get used to being second-class citizens. When a member of another oppressed community in a former UK colony screams for mass murder of gay people, it’s “something to have dialogue about.” So long as queer Britons accept this treatment, it will continue.
The English really are a bunch of horrible homophobes. They pretend to be so liberal and tolerant but there anything but.
About the only ‘perversion’ here is the one being perpetrated by the homophobic bigots in Idi Amin’s former country. All of these alleged ‘Christians’ should be ashamed of their behavior.
Can you say Idi-ots?
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