By Barigye Ambrose
Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) a Ugandan based Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LBTI)/feminist organization formed in 2003 celebrated the Human Rights day 2015 with a movie screening “Outed The Painful Reality” at the US mission Uganda information resource centre in Kampala. This event was attended by members from various organizations of the Ugandan LGBTI community. “Outed” is a short film directed by Hassan Kamoga which sheds more light on the despicable actions of some local tabloids outing LGBTI individuals in Uganda thus fueling violence directed against the outed persons in a homophobic society. The movie is based on a true story where a gay man was murdered in one of Kampala suburbs because his face appeared in one of the local news papers calling for the “Hanging of Homosexuals” in Uganda.
Through a Q&A session between the panel of Outed movie characters and the producer together with the audience, it was realized that there is more urgent need to document such incidents in our society since media persistent media outings have created a state of suffering for many Ugandan LGBTI persons. Some have been rejected by their families, others evicted from their rental houses by their landlords, job terminations, increased cases of hate crimes, denial of access to health services and many more injustices all attributed to continued outing of LGBTI activists by some local tabloids.
However much it was such a hard thing to take a role in this movie, I had to take the risk since we shouldn’t stand and watch when this unfair treatment of LGBTI individuals continues to soar day by day in our society, I feel inspired to take on this career and I call upon other community members to come and join us in other similar related projects since acting is also another form of advocacy.”- Biggie one of the characters in this movie said.
LGBTI persons in Uganda continue to face discrimination since majority of the population of Ugandan citizens do not recognize these sexual minorities as persons entitled to the same rights as everyone else due to cultural and religious belief. There is still a belief that the law doesn’t protect LGBTI persons, and that the rights recognized in the constitution do not apply to LGBTI persons, and that LGBTI rights are not human rights. This belief is based on the absence of a provision in the constitution that expressly recognizes LGBTI rights as being protected by the constitution, and also on the constitutional provisions prohibiting same-sex marriages, the penal code provisions criminalizing same-sex relations and other laws that exclude LGBTI persons from accessing redress in certain circumstances. LGBTI persons have been denied from enjoying their inherent rights such as; right to privacy, right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, right to freedom of association and the right to freedom of expression. All this has been due to lack of laws that explicitly protect LGBTI persons from all these societal injustices but instead enacting laws that criminalize same-sex relations such as the recently annuled Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 and section 145 of the Penal Code Act 1950 all targeting and sidelining sexual minorities in Uganda.
Human Rights Day is observed by the International community every year on 10th December. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The formal inception of Human Rights Day dates from 1950, after the Assembly passed resolution 423(v) inviting all states and interested organizations to adopt 10th December of each year as Human Rights Day.
When the General Assembly adopted the Declaration , with 48 states in favor and eight abstentions, it was proclaimed as a “common standard of achievement for all people and all nations” towards which individuals and societies should “strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance” although the Declaration with its broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 Human Rights instruments which together constitute an international standard of human rights. Today the general consent of all United Nations Member states on the basic Human Rights laid down in the Declaration makes it even stronger and emphasizes the relevance of Human Rights in our daily lives.