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29 January, 2011

Caribbean Groups Join International Community in Saluting Murdered African Human Rights Worker David Kato Kisule


Photo: Mark Hofer, Agence France Presse/Getty Images

Caribbean associations working on reproductive, sexuality and HIV issues have issued a brief joint statement of condolence and tribute to the life of slain Sexual Minorities Uganda human rights defender David Kato Kisule. The statement, signed by over 30 groups in 16 territories, calls attention, in the United Nations Year of People of African Descent, to David’s international inspiration as an African defender of sexual rights. It notes the continuing danger that sexuality and the human rights defenders who work in this area face in the Caribbean and elsewhere; and Governments’ failure to champion people’s freedom over their own bodies when it comes to sexuality.

Across the Caribbean, those of us who knew Sexual Minorities Uganda advocacy officer David Kato Kisule as a friend, as well as those who only read of his work, are deeply moved by his powerful and courageous life. As fellow sexual rights advocates, we convey deepest condolences to all his loved ones and fellow activists on his awful murder. We have been horrified by the inhumanity and hysteria of Uganda’s parliamentary, media and clergy campaigns to deny gay people like David the simple right to liberty, privacy, dignity and joy. We join others throughout the African diaspora in our pride in David’s conviction and passion as an outspoken African champion of sexual autonomy – even when it put his liberty and life in great danger – and his record as an internationally recognized human rights defender. His inspiration stretches around the globe to those who also struggle against ignorance, indifference and violence to create countries and a world where everyone can enjoy our sexuality as something good and wholesome and worthwhile, free from shame and coercion.

Were it not for advocacy late last year, 13 Caribbean countries would have allowed “sexual orientation” to be removed from an international statement of commitment to protect persons from unlawful killing because of who they are. David’s death, following threats against his life, is a gripping reminder of the importance of those protections, and a sobering one of how much more work needs to be done to give people the right to freedom over their bodies in places like Africa and the Caribbean, where battles against slavery, colonialism, racism, apartheid, genocide, gender inequality and religious persecution ought to have taught us better lessons. David’s life and death are reason to renew international commitment to sexual rights, to increase our vigilance for our colleagues in danger in Uganda. We respectfully urge Uganda’s politicians, media and clergy and international Christian advocates who have become entangled in this hostility to seize the opportunity to bring an end to yet another painful chapter of intergroup violence in Africa.

AIDS Action Foundation – St. Lucia • AIDS Free World • ALFA: Alternative Life Foundation Aruba • Alianza GTH – República Dominicana • Amigos Siempre Amigos – República Dominicana • ASPIRE: Advocates for Safe Parenthood-Improving Reproductive Equity – Trinidad & Tobago • Barbados Family Planning Association • Belize Family Life Association • Belize National AIDS CommissionCAISO: Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation – Trinidad & TobagoCaribbean Family Planning AffiliationCaribbean Harm Reduction CoalitionCaribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition • CariFLAGS: Caribbean Forum for Liberation & Acceptance of Genders & Sexualities • DiBo: Diversity Bonaire • DominicaChaps • Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago • Foko Curaçao Pride • Fondation SEROvie – Haiti • GrenCHAP – Grenada • J-FLAG: Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays • MOVADAC: Movement Against Discrimination Action Committee – Barbados • Pink Orange Dutch Caribbean LGBTI Alliance • Pride In Action – Jamaica • RevASA: Red de Voluntarios de ASA – República Dominicana • SASOD: Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination – Guyana • SASH Bahamas: Society Against STIs & HIV • Tjenbé Rèd: Fédération de lutte contre les racismes, les homophobies & le sida issue des communautés afrocaribéennes • UniBAM: United Belize Advocacy Movement • United and Strong – St. Lucia • Women Against Rape, Inc – Antigua • Women’s Institute for Alternative Development – Trinidad & Tobago • Women Way – Suriname

The statement has appeared, among other places: GBM News, Guyana Chronicle, International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region News Update, International Resource Network, Kaieteur News (Sun. 31 Jan, p. 48), SASOD blog, St. Lucia VoiceTjenbé Rèd

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1 Comment »

  1. Uganda, My Heart Weeps for You!

    {LINK FOR AUDIO PRESENTATION OF POEM BELOW} http://betweentheraindrops.podomatic.com/entry/2011-01-29T13_39_26-08_00

    A GLOBAL AUTHOR’S RESPONSE TO THE PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE GENOCIDE IN UGANDA — by Terry Angel Mason

    Uganda, Uganda, my heart weeps for you! For you kill, murder, and imprison the innocent (those who express love differently) in the name of The Righteous One, but it is clear that you do not know Him!

    Like America, you label them pedophiles and child molesters, yet continue to close your eyes to the true heterosexual offenders, allowing them to continually rape your children and infect them with AIDS; men who foolishly believe that this will cure them from the pandemic.

    It has been said that you freed yourself from the tyranny and oppression of a king (Mwanga) who was demented, greedy, self-serving and who defiled the people and if these things be true, then this is good! But you forgot that even though he was said to be corrupt and accused of raping the people both physically and emotionally for years, still we must judge each human being by their own conduct, character, and deeds, and not punish the innocent for another’s sins.

    Uganda, Uganda, my heart weeps for you because even though the rain falls frequently upon your land in the south and beautiful lakes run through your northern region, they have not cleansed you from your transgressions for you are still blinded by hatred, fear, and intolerance, and cannot see that the sun rises upon the just and the unjust, so that all men may be wooed to the Creator by love and mercy and not by hatred and discrimination!

    For hundreds of years other nations robbed you of your wealth, stole your children and carried them away to foreign lands and enslaved them. Even today, in many regions of your country you suffer from extreme poverty because of usury and exploitation from men who lusted after your riches, saw you could not defend yourself, and carried them away to distant lands.

    You must be very careful lest the handwriting of God also appear in judgment for your offenses and likewise be written upon your walls and inscribed in your Constitution now laced with fear and intolerance, having been saturated by the influence of misguided, self-seeking American Evangelists, these words spoken by the prophet Daniel: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” The interpretation:
    “God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEK: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to another!”

    Thousands of you marched in your city streets to rid yourself of a sin that you say will most certainly bring the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah upon your land; but like the Scribes and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, legalism and an incorrect interpretation of the Holy Scriptures have blinded you.

    Because of your hatred for what you do not understand, The Prince of Darkness deceives you yet again; prostituting you like the demented king you managed to free yourself from decades ago; have you still not heard the words of Jesus who said, “He was a murderer from the beginning?”

    Uganda, Uganda, my heart weeps for you! Don’t you know that you cannot kill the innocent, batter and abuse your children, and lock them away in dungeons of cruelty for life simply because you refuse to accept who they really are without the very King of the Universe (whom you claim you worship), championing their cause, and lifting his righteous hand of justice and judgment against you?

    He has heard the voices of the children devastated by earthquakes and disaster in Chile, Mexico and Haiti and He has freed the oppressed in America from hundreds of years of discrimination. He has even delivered the Jews from the oppression of a mighty pharaoh (once thought invincible) in Egypt. Surely, He will not turn a deaf ear to innocent same-gender-loving people in your country, nor allow you to murder them without cause and your land and your people not be judged for doing so!
    Uganda, Uganda, I alone do not weep, “FOR A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE!” (Matthew 2:18)

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Without question, Angel Mason is an extraordinary poet who eloquently expands and redefines the traditional idea of the love poem in creative and ingenious ways. Mason’s literary compositions have consistently earned him numerous literary nominations; while at the same time, gaining a place of reverence in the hearts and minds of thousands of readers — both men and women worldwide. His electrifying writings are destined to make him one of the foremost voices of the African-American experience. We have no doubt that the artistry and enduring vision that Mason demonstrates in his compelling books will inspire a revolutionary awakening world-wide; and continue to influence our culture, reshape our thinking, and touch our hearts and lives for decades!

    Comment by Terry Angel Mason, Global Author — 2 February, 2011 @ 04:36 | Reply


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