Lebanese Activists Show Solidarity with Ugandan LGBTs

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In response to a call to action made by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Helem organized a sit-in at the Ugandan consulate in Beirut on November 9th 2009.

This came as a response to the proposed anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda that violates a number of human rights. While it sentences homosexuals to life, the bill issues a death sentence to people who engage in homosexual activity with minors (under the age of 18) or with individuals with physical disabilities, and to HIV infected individuals who engage in sexual activity. The horrific bill doesn’t stop there; it also punishes any parent who doesn’t report the homosexuality of their son or daughter with 3 years imprisonment. The same applies to teachers who don’t denounce their colleagues. The biggest violation however, considered a huge step backwards in terms of the struggle against HIV, is incriminating all those who work with homosexuals and HIV-positive individuals, and punishing them by ruining their reputation.

uganda-sit-inHelem’s media unit wrote a letter to the Ugandan consulate in Lebanon calling the bill an anti-rights bill, stressing the fact that it will target everyone from teachers to parents to political leaders. The letter also accuses the bill of acting as “a major stumbling block facing the development of a vibrant human rights movement in Uganda,” calling for its abolition.

At the consulate, located in front of the Iranian embassy, a few people chanting “Kill the Bill” got to say their word and deliver the letter to the honorary consul, showing that even in a small Arab country like Lebanon, people care about human rights in general and LGBT rights in particular.

Afterwards, the protesters headed to Bliss Street holding their signs high in the sky of Hamra. The last stop was the main gate of AUB where flyers explaining more about the bill and its violations were distributed.

You can check out more photos from the sit-in here.

Contributed by Omar Harfouche

Guest Contributor

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