20 November 2012

Nigeria and Sudan, lashes and lies

 Nigeria: jail all gays
and those who hide them

Nigeria's National Assembly has backed new anti-gay legislation.
Photo by Shiraz Chakera.
Nigeria’s lawmakers have approved plans to jail people for being gay and even imprison people who don’t report homosexuals they know about to the police.
The west African nation already makes gay sex illegal and even punishable by the death penalty in the north part of the country but the new legislation goes much further.
Under the proposed law that has passed both the Senate and, this week, the House of Representatives there would be a crackdown on LGBT people which could lead to a witch-hunt.
Openly gay people would be imprisoned whether or not they have sex and LGBT organizations would be criminalized.
Anyone who knows somebody who is gay would have to tell the authorities or they could go to jail for five years.
Gay marriage would be punished by 14 years prison for the couple and 10 for anyone else involved in the ceremony. Even wedding guests could be jailed.
And ‘any person who directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships’ would get a 10-year sentence.
The Nigerian House of Representatives approved the bill, already voted through the Senate, on a second reading this week.
Speaking about same-sex marriage during the debate, house majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande said: ‘It is alien to our society and culture and it must not be imported. Religion abhors it and our culture has no place for it.’
And minority leader Femi Gbajabiamila also backed the bill saying gay marriage ‘is both illegal and immoral’.
But Nigerian gay activist and Gay Star News contributor Bisi Alimi said this was really about politicians trying to gain popular support in the highly religious country.
He said: ‘Nigerian LGBT community has never asked for marriage so there is no basis to ask for an anti same-sex marriage bill. This is just a voting winning political agenda.
The bill is now being reviewed on a clause-by-clause basis. After that stage it will return for a final vote in parliament before being signed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Experts have told GSN that Jonathan is a weak president unlikely to veto the legislation. However, even if he does veto, the Senate and House of Representatives can still vote again to push the legislation through.
Despite this, the legislation may not actually be in the long-term interests of the country’s political leaders. Some have suggested the bill may be used by unscrupulous politicians to smear their opponents by accusing them of being gay, and therefore destroying their careers.
The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) in Nigeria has condemned the proposed law.
Olumide Makanjuola, director of programs, said: ‘It is unfortunate that the argument presented by the legislature is invalid, illogical and unethical in democratic politics.
‘Nigeria is secular state and still remains as such. Therefore, religion should have no stake in law making in the country. Unfortunately, this is what we get!
‘This is unfortunate modern day democracy, where equity and justice is non-negotiable. It is unacceptable for the state to interfere in privacy of lives that pose no threat to statehood.’
TIER is among those worried the bill could stop or damage the work of organizations fighting AIDS in the country.
They have called on the National Human Rights Commission to intervene by raising concerns with legislators.
Nigeria’s move comes as Uganda also presses ahead with it’s own Kill The Gay’s Bill. While the two laws do have some similarities, Nigeria’s move towards this legislation actually predates Uganda’s from 2006.
However it may be the Uganda parliament’s pledge to push their bill through as ‘a Christmas present’ for its supporters has encouraged Nigeria to think its proposals will have support on the other side of Africa.
Gay Star News

urge the Government of Canada to speak out against the 
vicious legislation being enacted in Uganda and Nigeria
Sudan: gay teen sex to blame for AIDS
Khartoum, Sudan blames gays for spreading AIDS through school teen sex
Teenagers sodomising younger boys at school is apparently the ‘reason’ for the rapid rise of HIV cases in Sudan’s youth, according to a report broadcasted by the country’s Blue Nile TV.
The report featured a medical doctor employed by Sudan ministry of health who stated that ‘sodomy has had an alarming growth in the education system’ and that senior students force younger to have sex with them in school toilets, ‘spreading the AIDS epidemic’.
Sudan is gripped in a state of moral panic created by the report, which was broadcast last week.
Opposition leaders blasted the government for creating an education system that ‘promotes’ homosexuality and AIDS.
One critic alleged that as the government recently changed primary education from six to eight grades, the increased age differences ‘encouraged older teenage homosexuals’ to take advantage of younger students. This, according to the journalist is the main reason for the infection rates.
The journalist, Mohammad Ali Taha Shaiqi of the Drafur based opposition group, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), claimed he requested the government to address and change this ‘error’ in the education system but it had been refused.
He stated that the refusal of his request ‘proves’ the government is aware and in fact ‘promoting homosexual practices’ in schools which in turns 'spreads AIDS and destruction'.
Speaking with GSN, Mohammad, chair of Rainbow Sudan, the country’s main LGBT rights group said: ’One of the real problems that causes infection with the HIV virus is the lack of sexual education in schools.
‘Ignorance, more than anything else, is responsible for viral transmission, it has nothing to do homosexuality or age differences.
‘If the government and political opposition are serious about tackling Sudan’s growing HIV infection rates, then safer sex education is the key.'
32 year-old Mohammad explains the context: ‘Two months ago police broke into a bar and arrested several people for drinking alcohol including one foreign national.
‘Then there was the attack on the weapon factory, which promoted discussion how the Islamic government is losing its control of the country.
‘The president, as a reaction, declared the application of Shari’a law in Khartoum [the country's capital], and the calls for more freedom and rights voiced in the parliament just went down the drain.
‘I guess now we are being used to kick around in an attempt to confuse and win public opinion by both sides.
‘And yet nothing will be done about HIV infection, which many examples show benefits from the lack of education, ignorance and homophobia that both the government and its critics champion.’
Sudan is one of the strictest countries in the world which criminalize homosexuality. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and, according to Article 148, capital punishment applies to a man or woman engaging in such acts.
Punishments also include lashes and imprisonment.
Even without that, being out can have serious social and economic consequences - it typically means a loss of jobs prospects, ostracisation from family and community, even murder by so called 'honour killings'.
Gay Star News
urge the Government of Canada to speak out against the 
vicious legislation being enacted in Uganda and Nigeria

related links:
 Canada-Nigeria Relations (Gov. of Canada)
  •  " ...Canada provided support to the 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections... also an ongoing project (until 2015) to support the long-term electoral cycle, which included the 2011 Presidential and Gubernatorial elections. In September 2010, Canada sponsored technical assistance to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission... "
  • " ...At roughly $2.7 billion in two-way merchandise trade for 2011, the commercial relationship with Nigeria is Canada’s largest in sub-Saharan Africa... "
 Canada-South Africa Relations (Gov. of Canada)
  • " ...Between 1984/85 and 2009/10, CIDA disbursed C$325.12 million through its various delivery channels for development activities in South Africa."
 Sudan and South Sudan (Canadian International Development Agency)
  • 2010 - 2011 'disbursments' $98.4 million
Canada - Uganda Relations (Gov. of Canada)
  • ~ approximately $350 million in assistance for humanitarian assistance, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants through the World Bank; support to Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and support to UNICEF focussing on primary education in the northern areas of the country.
Related posts on stormidae:  
Uganda and South Africa, hate revisited  
welcome to Uganda: death penalty for “serial" gays 
corrective rape: how South Arfica 'cures' lesbians 

19 November 2012

Uganda and South Africa, hate revisited

" ...Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population, she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals...

‘Aggravated homosexuality’ is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.

The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment... "

Uganda to officially pass ‘Kill The Gays’ bill

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has said 2009's
Anti-Homosexuality Bill will become law by the end of 2012
Uganda parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga has said the country's Kill The Gays bill will officially be passed by the end of 2012.
Uganda will officially pass the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill at the end of this year despite international criticism.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.
Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population,  she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.
The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.
‘Aggravated homosexuality’ is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.
The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment.
Originally put to government in 2009, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had been temporarily shelved because of international criticism.
Several European countries have threatened to cut aid to Uganda if it passes, with the UK government warning Uganda it would face severe reductions in financial help.
US President Barack Obama has described it as ‘odious’, and Canadian politician John Baird has said it is ‘vile, abhorrent, and offends decency’.
Uganda lawmaker Atim Ogwal Cecilia Barbara has even suggested there should be a continent-wide ban on homosexuality, saying all African gay people should be jailed for life.
Gay rights activist David Kato was murdered in Uganda in January 2011 shortly after a local newspaper published images of him and other gay people under a headline urging readers to ‘hang them.’
Despite this, Uganda’s LGBT community held a weekend of gay pride events this summer.
According to a 2010 survey by The Pew Research Center, homosexuality is morally unacceptable to 89% of Ugandans.
Gay Star News

South African lesbian soccer player brutally murdered
Sihle Skotshi, a 19 year-old lesbian from South Africa was brutally murdered
According to Ndumie Funda, director of Luleki Sizwe, an organization that assists young lesbian victims of so called ‘corrective rape’ a young South African lesbian was murdered by a group of gangsters.
Sihle Skotshi, was a soccer player who was only 19 years-old when she was murdered.
Skotshi was one of the girls in the group assited by the Luleki Sizwe organization.
The attack occurred on the 9 November at Cosovo an informal settlement in Phillipi, a township of Cape Town.
According to an eye witness interviewed by Funda, Skotshi along with two of her women friends left a tavern where they were drinking to pick up more money at home of one of the girls.
Upon arriving five or more men confronted and started cursing them saying: ‘Ayo ndawo yenu le, yindawo yamaVura’ (this is not your place, it is amavura’s place) (Amavura is the gang that is known and feared in the area).
The men attacked them, and pulled out a mini spear stabbing Skotshi in the chest.
One of her friends attempted to intervene and got stabbed in her arm, whilst the other friend ran for help.
Skotshi was hospitalized but died shortly after. According to the report Skotshi told her friend before she died: ‘Please apologize for me to my mother, and I love you all’.
The two young women had to return home to the township where the attack too place, fearing further attacks.
Skotshi’s brutal murder is the latest in a spate of killings and ‘corrective rapes’ targeting lesbians in South Africa.
Skotshi was described by Funda 'a friendly young woman to those who knew her; she was a soccer player and has recently matriculated and was working and saving money to study further'.
Last month 6 lesbians were brutally attacked and beaten at a petrol in Cape Town.
While in August this year a lesbian was raped and murdered in Kwa Zulu Natal.
In July a lesbian mother was brutally raped and murdered at her home in Polo Park, Mokopane.
Many LGBT people, particularly those who live in the townships, suffer death threats, violence and daily abuse.
According to activists of those most at risk are lesbians, transgender and asylum seekers from neighbouring African countries.
Many South African lesbians living in townships have been reported to having been subjected to so called ‘corrective’ rape, where attempts to ‘cure’ lesbians by raping them.
Despite having a relatively progressive pro-LGBT rights constitution, South Africa is witnessing a growing problem of homophobic violence which affects the poor and black LGBT communities disproportionall.  White LGBT South Africans, however, seem to remain relatively safe.
Lesbian human rights campaigner Melanie Nathan claimed the Traditional Leaders political organization were to blame for the recent violence against South African lesbians, in a comment piece for Gay Star News.
Gay Star News

Related posts on stormidae: 
welcome to Uganda: death penalty for “serial" gays
corrective rape: how South Arfica 'cures' lesbians

1 November 2012

random science 13: Experimental Lakes Area and the Conservative attack on science

more Rick Mercer on YouTube
Experimental Lakes Area website

from care2: "The Harper Government is trying to shut down a unique and world-renowned environmental research centre in western Ontario.

The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), sparsely populated with 58 small lakes and their drainage basins, has served as a facility for experimental and long-term ecosystem research since the 1960s. Because it's largely unaffected by human and industrial activity, it provides a natural laboratory for the study of physical, chemical and biological effects on the environment.

ELA is the one place in the world where the effects of mercury poisoning on a natural ecosystem could be tested, thus providing evidence needed to convince at least American regulators to finally force removal of mercury from coal-fired power plant emissions, which can save billions in annual health costs.

Canada, however, has not acted on this evidence, and the proposed funding cut would silence ELA for good.

Tell Canada to keep the ELA Research Centre Open!"

related posts: random science 10: Harper vs Science