What Everyone Ought to Know About Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

1959239_10151914806956363_1445573814_n

NOTE: This text is from a New York Times Letter to the Editor in response to the article “Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill.”

The new antigay law in Uganda is alarming and, sadly, not shocking. You note that it follows the passage of similar legislation in Nigeria and fits within a growing trend that Amnesty International reported on last July.

The developments in Uganda and Nigeria underscore the depth to which many African leaders are determined to go, not only to discriminate against a segment of their populations, but also to incite hatred and potentially acts of violence. It is a failure of their obligations, internationally and regionally, to protect the rights of people living within their borders and a failure of governance.

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

On the Ground in the Central African Republic

Amnesty International’s Donatella Rovera and Joanne Mariner report on the latest massacre in a town West of Bangui, where they saw the remains of dozens of men and women littering the streets and found an 11-year-old girl who had miraculously survived it all.

As if the unfolding horror in the Central African Republic could not get any more shocking, the scene we witnessed in a remote town north-west of Bangui, left us stunned.

We arrived in Bouguere on Feb. 13 to investigate a massacre that had taken place some three weeks earlier. More than 40 people had been killed by anti-balaka militias and most of the town’s Muslim residents had fled.

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Counting Bodies in the Central African Republic

Eleven-year-old Fati suffered deep machete wounds to her head and arm in an attack by anti-balaka militia in Boali. Six people were killed and 20 others were injured in the same attack (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

Eleven-year-old Fati suffered deep machete wounds to her head and arm in an attack by anti-balaka militia in Boali. Six people were killed and 20 others were injured in the same attack (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

By Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International

The body of a 10-year-old boy, shot dead, whose hand had been cut off with a machete.

The remains of the sons of a 76-year-old man who narrowly escaped death after anti-balaka fighters shot him three times and left him for dead.

The lifeless body of a six-month-old baby, brutally murdered alongside 12 of her relatives in front of her cousin, who was forced to witness her father being decapitated.

“They killed my children heartlessly. They were slaughtered in front of our eyes,” cried a Muslim woman whose four sons were killed by anti-balaka fighters in late January.

Welcome to life in the Central African Republic.

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

THIS EXISTS: Law Allows Rapists to Escape Prison If They Marry Underage Victims

Zohra Filali holds a picture of her daughter, Amina, the week after she committed suicide. Amina took her own life by drinking rat poison in March 2012 after being forced to marry the man who allegedly raped her.

Zohra Filali holds a picture of her daughter, Amina, the week after she committed suicide. Amina took her own life by drinking rat poison in March 2012 after being forced to marry the man who allegedly raped her.

Amina Filali committed suicide by swallowing rat poison in March 2012. She was 16 years old. Her desperate act showed the depth of her pain and despair: she must have felt that nobody was there to help her.

We soon learned that Amina had been raped in her small Moroccan town, by a man she was then forced to marry. Imagine being married to your rapist, to be forced to see that person all the time – it would be devastating.

He married her because Moroccan law allows rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victim, if she is aged under 18.

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

How Many More Will Die For Saying ‘I Love You’?

By Anna Bacciarelli, Assistant Editor at Amnesty International

‘I’m very much in love with you.’

In 2011, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede texted someone to tell them he loved them. Because he was texting in Cameroon, and because it was to another man, Roger was arrested. The police interrogated him for days, stripping him naked and beating him.

After a trial where he was denied legal representation, Roger was jailed for three years on charges of ‘homosexuality and attempted homosexuality’ and locked in an overcrowded prison where he was sexually assaulted, refused vital medical treatment and beaten by prison guards.

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST