Pepe Julian Onziema
Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow
RFK Human Rights
With introductory remarks by:
International Forum for Democratic Studies
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About the Event
In a human rights situation that has captured global attention, a majority of African countries have anti-homosexuality laws in place, some of which go so far as to punish offenders with life imprisonment or the death penalty. The Ugandan government, in particular, has faced widespread criticism for its passage in 2009 of an anti-homosexuality bill and the violence against sexual minorities that ensued. Yet the question of African legal discrimination against LGBTIQ citizens also carries an international component: there is no verifiable record of African laws against homosexuality predating colonization. Yet the values promoted by these colonial laws were internalized over the years as inherently African and their source was forgotten. In a cruel twist of history, current leaders across the continent now view promotion of LGBTIQ rights as a tool of neo-colonialism. In his presentation, Pepe Julian Onziema will analyze the socio-economic changes in Africa, and Uganda in particular, that have accompanied the rise of homophobia and transphobia. He will provide recommendations for a locally rooted movement to protect LGBTIQ citizens and empower them to claim full citizenship. His presentation will be followed by comments by Wade McMullen.