RFK Center - Defending Human Rights In This World
  • en
  • it

Nobel Peace Laureates raise their voices to protect LGBTI rights

A welcome sign of hope for Ugandan activists

English | Deutsch | News

(Washington – June 21, 2012) In an unprecedented statement, four esteemed Nobel Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Yunus, have expressed solidarity with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people worldwide. Together, they call on the global community to recognize that traditional cultural values compel them to respect the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals.

The RFK Center’s release of the statement in conjunction with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is particularly relevant to Uganda in light of recent events. This week, the Ugandan government has openly restricted the rights of civil society and shown a total disregard for the human rights of LGBTI people.

"It is clear that our government and Christian leaders are escalating their campaign of intimidation and harassment against the LGBTI community in Uganda," said Frank Mugisha, executive director of SMUG and 2011 RFK Human Rights Award Laureate. "We welcome the moral courage of Archbishop Tutu and other world leaders, echoing their call to allow LGBTI people to live in peace in Uganda."

On Wednesday, Simon Lokodo – the Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity – announced a "ban" on 38 human rights organizations for "promoting homosexuality" and "threatening the traditions and values of the country." The ban came two days after he ordered a raid of an LGBTI rights workshop in Kampala.

Fr. Lokodo's actions violate the Ugandan constitution as well as Uganda's international obligations to respect freedom of association, assembly and expression under the African Charter for Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Worse, the ban and raid represent a broader pattern of suppression of civil society in the country.

Last week, the country's Anglican Archbishop joined other Christian leaders in calling on the Ugandan parliament to speedily pass the now infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Bill, which includes the draconian provision of the death penalty and mandatory reporting of LGBTI people, would also  criminalize advocacy organizations and even clergy for speaking up for LGBTI people in Uganda.

"Uganda's efforts to enshrine homophobia in law could ignite a chain reaction through governments worldwide, putting the rights and safety of LGBTI people and their advocates in danger," warned Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center. "The Nobel Laureates' concern is a direct response to those, who misappropriate cultural values to justify a growing attack on human rights."

The trend of institutionalizing discrimination against LGBTI people has in fact reached other countries. Efforts are underway to further criminalize LGBTI people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Russia is working to implement its own "propaganda" laws criminalizing speech supporting and advocating for LGBTI rights. See the Statement of Concern on Violence and Discrimination against LGBTI People, below and attached. Also available in German.

Contact:
Cate Urban, Communications
RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel.:202-463-7575 X234
Mob.: 443-417-0701



Statement of Concern on Violence and Discrimination against
LGBTI People

As a global community of individuals dedicated to a more peaceful and just world, we wish to express our grave concern as to how our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) brothers and sisters are being treated across the globe.

Collectively we represent a diverse array of countries and cultures. Today more than ever, we wish to express that the same cultural values, which have fostered and supported our lifelong quests for peace, also command us to speak out against the violence and discrimination our fellow human beings are enduring every day solely because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

In many of our countries the influence of colonial era laws still makes outlaws of LGBTI people. Recent legislative efforts like those underway in Russia and Uganda could pose even more sinister sanctions on LGBTI people as well their allies, ourselves included. The criminalization of adult, consensual homosexuality in any form is unacceptable. And, we must remain vigilant even in countries that rightly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, to ensure that LGBTI citizens are effectively protected from the hatred and bigotry that persists.

By expressing our solidarity with LGBTI people around the world, we recognize the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals, without prejudice or intolerance, and we take an important step forward in our collective journey toward peace.

In the universal spirit of compassion and unity,

 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
1984 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
South Africa

Professor Jody Williams
1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
United States

Dr. Shirin Ebadi
2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Iran

Professor Muhammad Yunus
2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Bangladesh


Äußerung von Besorgnis über Gewalt und Diskriminierung gegen
LGBTI-Menschen


Als weltweite Gemeinschaft von Einzelpersonen, die sich einer friedlicheren und gerechteren Welt verschrieben haben, möchten wir unserer tiefen Sorge darüber Ausdruck geben, wie unsere lesbischen, schwulen, bisexuellen, transgeschlechtlichen und intersexuellen (LGBTI) Brüder und Schwestern auf der ganzen Welt behandelt werden.

Zusammen repräsentieren wir ein breites Spektrum von Ländern und Kulturen. Heute möchten wir nachdrücklicher als je zuvor bekunden, dass dieselben kulturellen Werte, die unser lebenslanges Streben nach Frieden gefördert und unterstützt haben, uns heute gebieten, uns gegen die Gewalt und Diskriminierung zu stellen, die unsere Mitmenschen Tag für Tag erdulden, weil sie lesbisch, schwul, bisexuell, transgeschlechtlich oder intersexuell sind.

In vielen unserer Länder macht der Einfluss von Gesetzen aus der Kolonialzeit LGBTI-Menschen noch immer zu Ausgestoßenen. Neuere gesetzgeberische Anstrengungen wie diejenigen in Russland und Uganda könnten noch schlimmere Sanktionen gegen LGBTI-Menschen bedeuten, ebenso gegen ihre Verbündeten, was auch uns mit einschließt. Die Kriminalisierung von Homosexualität zwischen erwachsenen, beidseitig freiwilligen Partnern in jeder Form ist nicht hinnehmbar. Und wir müssen selbst in Ländern, welche Diskriminierungen aufgrund der sexuellen Ausrichtung oder der geschlechtlichen Identität verbieten, wachsam bleiben, um sicherzustellen, dass LGBTI-Bürger wirksam vor dem beharrlich fortbestehenden Hass und blindem Fanatismus geschützt werden.

Indem wir unsere Solidarität mit LGBTI-Menschen auf der ganzen Welt bekunden, anerkennen wir die jedem Menschen innewohnende Würde und die Menschenrechte, ohne Vorurteile und ohne Intoleranz, und wir machen einen wichtigen Schritt vorwärts auf unserem gemeinschaftlichen Weg hin zum Frieden.

Im universellen Geist von Einheit und Mitgefühl,

Erzbischof Desmond Tutu
Friedensnobelpreisträger 1984
Südafrika

Professor Jody Williams
Friedensnobelpreisträgerin 1997
USA

Dr. Shirin Ebadi
Friedensnobelpreisträgerin 2003
Iran

Professor Muhammad Yunus
Friedensnobelpreisträger 2006
Bangladesh

 

Deutsche Übersetzung von Sandra-Isabell Trautner mit Erlaubnis der stiftung “Robert F. Kennedy”.

News