A statement from Sexula Minorities Uganda (SMUG) on International Human Rights Day
Today the Ugandan LGBTI community joins millions of other Ugandans in commemorating the International Human Rights Day. This day is a time for people worldwide to reflect about the meaning, importance andneed for human rights. It is an occasion for the government and people of Uganda to re-commit themselves to the spirit and letter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which we are a signatory.
The theme of the 2011 International Human Rights Day, Dignity and Justice for all of us, is especially important for the LGBTI community in Uganda particularly in the wake of increased hate speech and hateinciting legislation against sexual minorities, which have resulted in mass hateful uprisings and demonstrations, direct harassment, violence and loss of life of human rights activists advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Ugandans. These violations deprive sexual minorities of the dignity and justice guaranteed to all peoples under the UDHR.
As we celebrate this year’s International Human Rights Day, the LGBTI community in Uganda recommits to working towards a more inclusive and tolerant society that will ensure that every Ugandan lives in peace and with dignity, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We emphatically stress on this day that LGBTI rights are human rights and not special rights.
We stress that human rights as stipulated by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are God-given and inherent. It is a violation of those God-given rights to witch-hunt LGBTI individuals and make us scapegoats for all the moral and social problems that the nation is contending with. It is a violation of our human rights to deny us the right to live peacefully and contribute to the social, economic, and political progress of our country. It is also a violation of our human rights to deny us the right to access appropriate health care and education, and force us to change from our God given sexual orientations and gender diversities.
In light of this the LGBTI community denounces the government’s complacent position and continued refusal to accord LGBTI Ugandans equal access to the human and civil rights every other Ugandan is entitled to under the Constitution, and for continuing to make same sex relationships criminal.
“LGBTI rights are part of the broader human rights and it is just a matter of time that Uganda will accept these rights” Frank Mugisha Executive Director Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG and 2011 Laureate Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
It is our fervent belief that the promotion of human dignity shall remain hollow unless we transform our social and political attitudes to eliminate hate and ensure tolerance for diversity.
“Had the UN stepped up to protect and respect LGBTI rights in the last 63yrs we wouldn’t have experienced this misery. However I’m glad that they have realized and resolved to openly discuss LGBTI issues in the coming Human Right Council. I hope and really hope that this is the beginning of a very successful campaign around the world to respect and decriminalize LGBTI rights" Kasha Jacqueline Executive Director Freedom and Roam Uganda, 2011 Laureate Martin Ennals Human Rights Defenders Award.
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