Crusade to root out homosexuality like malariaPosted: 7 April, 2014 Filed under: Satang Nabaneh | Tags: Anti-Homosexuality Act, Criminal Code, gays, gross indecency, homosexuality, human rights, Human Rights Commission, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, President Yahya Jamme, rights, The Gambia, Uganda, United Nation, United States 1 Comment
Author: Satang Nabaneh
Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of The Gambia.
The Gambia is largely Muslim-dominated, with about 95 per cent of the population being Muslims. It is also highly traditional. Thus, Islam significantly influences people’s ways of lives. In the recent years, there has been much discussion, in the media and political fora, about homosexuality and homosexual rights in The Gambia. The attitude of the ordinary Gambian towards homosexuals is outright hostile, fanned by the extreme condemnation from both political and religious leaders. People are made to believe that homosexuals are cursed and support for homosexual rights would spell doom for Islam and Gambian culture, whatever that means. Due to this charged hostility towards homosexuals, there are only few lone voices that dare to challenge current beliefs about and hostility towards homosexuality or campaign to hold the state accountable for the respect, protection and fulfillment of the sexuality rights. The criminalisation of homosexuality provides the state with an opportunity to violate the rights of homosexual with impunity and absolute disregard for the rule of law.
The arch opponent of homosexuals and their rights is the president of The Gambia. During the recent celebration s to mark The Gambia’s independence celebration, on 18 February 2014, President Yahya Jammeh stated that his government “will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes; if not more aggressively”. He further noted that The Gambia would not spare any homosexual, and that no diplomatic immunity would be respected for any diplomat found guilty or accused of being a homosexual. The next day, United States’ Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the President Jammeh’s comments, calling on the international community to send a clear signal that statements of this nature are unacceptable and have no place in the public dialogue.
Freedom of the press? Not for the Ugandan pressPosted: 20 June, 2013 Filed under: William Aseka | Tags: Africa, African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Commission, constitution, Eritrea, freedom of expression, human rights, Human Rights Council, ICCPR, press freedom, right to privacy, Uganda, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, World Press Freedom 2 Comments
Author: William Aseka
Program Assistant (Human Rights Advocacy for Children with Disabilities), Governance Consulting
The freedom to form opinions and express them without fear of repression is a fundamental tenet for the development of a pluralistic, tolerant, and democratic society. This right represents not only the right to privacy of individuals to hold opinions and formulate thoughts, but also to express them in a public forum, especially as part of exercising the right to political participation. In addition, the right to access information, that is the right to seek and receive information, which also forms an important component of this right and which has added significance in the current age of information technology, is intrinsic to the transparent functioning of a democratic government and the effective and well-informed participation of civil society. In this context, freedom of opinion, expression and information is one of the core civil and political rights as it is essential for the exercise of all other human rights.
The right to freedom of opinion, expression and information is well-established and protected at both international and regional levels both legally and institutionally. The right is enshrined in various international instruments, namely: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 19), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 19), the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (Article 5(d)(viii)), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 13) and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (Article 6). The main international human rights body within the United Nations system, the Human Rights Council, also provides through its system of special procedures for a Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, which was established in 1993.
Multinationals and land grabbing in Uganda: A business human rights perspectivePosted: 8 May, 2013 Filed under: Samuel Matsiko | Tags: Committee on World Food Security, Fisheries and Forests, food crisis, food insecurity, Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, human rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Fund for Agricultural Development, land grabbing, National Association of Professional Environments, Protect, Respect and Remedy, Uganda, UN Human Rights Council, United Nations, Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, World Bank 2 Comments
Author: Samuel Matsiko
Lawyer, International Justice Mission, USA
On 11 May 2012 the Committee on World Food Security endorsed the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security to promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land. These Guidelines offer a framework through which multinational investors may acquire and manage land without affecting the rights of local communities. However, this remains on paper while in practice the narrative is different.
In Uganda, land grabbing involves large scale land acquisitions by multinational and domestic investors either through buying or leasing large pieces of land. A study by the National Association of Professional Environments indicates that communities in the oil rich region of Bulisa in western Uganda, Kalangala Island in the Lake Victoria region, Mabira forest in the central region, and Luwunga forest reserve in Kiboga district have been affected or are yet to be affected by the land grabbing phenomenon.
The Illusion of the Ugandan ConstitutionPosted: 27 September, 2012 Filed under: Busingye Kabumba | Tags: constitution, constitutional law, democracy, Museveni, National Resistance Movement, rule of law, Uganda 23 Comments
Author: Busingye Kabumba
Lecturer-in-Law, Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC), Faculty of Law, Makerere University; Consulting Partner with M/S Development Law Associates
For the past few years, it has been my privilege to teach Constitutional Law at Makerere, the nation’s oldest University. As it is a first year course, I am one of the first teachers who meet with the young impressionable minds that are similarly privileged to gain admission to the law programme. In the course of class discussions, it quickly becomes obvious that even these fresh minds are cynical about the state of constitutionalism in our country, an impression that is only made stronger when we begin to delve into the text and the promise of the 1995 constitution and to compare this not only with our Constitutional history but with the present reality of how the country is being governed. I try as much as possible in these discussions to refrain from infusing my own views into these debates, my intention being to demonstrate the method of constitutional argument and to encourage critical thinking and reflection rather than suggest that there is a ‘right’ answer – which indeed, many times, there is not. This is often frustrating for the students whose constant refrain is: ‘But what is your view?’