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Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act: ‘Null and Void’

In a victory activists were unsure they’d get, Uganda’s Constitutional Court overturned the country’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act today, declaring the anti-LGBT law “null and void” because of a parliamentary technicality in how it was passed.  

The court determined that when members of Parliament passed the law in December 2013, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had not established quorum — a required minimum number of members present to vote — effectively invalidating the law. 

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Uganda held an invite-only Pride parade this weekend, the first since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was overturned. Being gay is still illegal in Uganda, but it is no longer illegal to “promote homosexuality” by associating with other LGBT people or being “gay in public.” Police gave their permission for the event, and there were no protesters. Small steps, huge impact. (via BuzzFeed)

This is a photo of indigenous Egyptians (Kemetyu) celebrating in front of Rameses the Great’s Temple of Millions of Years (Abu Simbel). They perfectly demonstrate the variation of phenotypes within the African race of Pharaonic Kemet. Such variation is not limited to Kemet, but common in other African countries, like Chad, Mali, Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritania, Somalia, Uganda, and Niger. Keep this photo in mind when you look at the painted artifacts of Kemet because this is what they looked like.

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"African Dances" by Ugandan artist: Gloria Ssali

  • Igbo dance, Nigeria
  • Reed dance, Swaziland
  • Warba dance, Burkina Faso
  • Bakiga dance, Uganda
  • Kuduro dance, Angola
  • Maasai dance, Kenya
  • Quda dance, Eritrea
  • Saharwi dance, Western Sahara
  • San dance, Botswana
  • Traditional dance, Central African Republic
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On the Wall: How Photographers Envision Human Rights

There is a flood of gory photos coming from conflict zones around the world today thanks to advancements in digital imaging and connectivity. These photos, increasingly made by perpetrators of war crimes themselves, serve to reveal injustices; yet increasingly it seems that their function has been to excite. More than ever, it’s important to filter and withhold a particular representation of atrocity, in favor of another, more nuanced image. 

Photo credits, from top:

1. Manual laborers confront a military policeman at a gold mine in the state of Pará, Brazil. Sebastiao Salgado, 1986.

2. Like other children, a young boy in northern Uganda lives in constant danger of being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Thomas Morley, 2005.

3. A woman stands at the edge of a mass grave in the mountains of Iraqi-Kurdistan. Susan Meisalas, 1992.

4. African-American laborers working in Mississippi’s fields. Ken Light, 1992.

See more.

A court in Uganda today annuled the nations shockingly harsh anti homosexuality bill. The five judge panel declared that speaker of parliament acted unconstitutionally when she allowed a vote on the bill despite of multiple objections. Homosexuality remains illegal in Uganda, but draconian life imprisonment sentences are now ruled out unless this law is reinstated. 

Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a more reasoned and compassionate turn of events in the region. I suspect a diffficult road still lies ahead.

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A Ugandan court overturned the severe anti-gay law that, among other things, mandated a lifetime sentence for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Friday’s ruling marks a victory for gay rights activists, who have been battling the country’s homophobic laws for years. "The retrogressive anti-homosexuality act of Uganda has been struck down by the constitutional court — it’s now dead as a doornail," said Andrew Mwenda, who was part of the group petitioning against the law.

But the decision doesn’t mark a shift in the Ugandan government’s attitude towards homosexuality. According to the court, the bill — which was proposed in December of 2013 and signed into law in February — is “null and void” only because Parliament didn’t have a quorum sufficient to pass a law at the time of the vote.

This is not the first time that gay rights activists have celebrated a bittersweet victory. In January, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni temporarily blocked the bill, but only because he views homosexuality as a sickness. In a letter to the members of parliament, he wrote that gay people are “abnormal,” and could be “rescued.” He argued that the bill would be useless: “Even with legislation, they will simply go underground and continue practicing [sic] homosexuality or lesbianism for mercenary reasons.”

The repealed law, which also mandated jail time for the vague acts of “attempted homosexuality” and “promotion of homosexuality,” was watered down from an even harsher version. That one, introduced in 2009, would have doled out the death penalty for  “repeat offenders.” In every iteration, the law has dealt with the question of punishment rather than legal status. Homosexual acts have been illegal in Uganda since it was a British colony, and remain so today.

It’s not yet clear whether the Ugandan government will appeal the decision.

By: Danielle Wiener-Bronner

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