Posts Tagged ‘Zimbabwe’

Afrika: Ausländischer Protest – Homosexuelle wieder frei!

Sonntag, Mai 30th, 2010

“Zimbabwe gay rights workers released after alleged torture

• Gay rights activists claim assault and torture by police
• Government minister: alleged abuse is ‘against our philosophy’

By David Smith and Associated Press

Two gay rights activists in Zimbabwe have been freed after six days in police custody where it is claimed they were abused and tortured.

Ellen Chadehama and Ignatius Mhambi were arrested last week accused of possessing pornographic material and insulting president Robert Mugabe.

Their employer, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz), said the two were assaulted by police while in custody.

They were also made to bend their knees into a sitting position with their arms outstretched for long periods and struck with bottles when they weakened and fell, according to their defence attorney, David Hofisi.

Nelson Chamisa, a government minister and spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, condemned the alleged abuse: “Ill treatment or inhumane handling of any human being for any reason goes against our philosophy. We do not believe harassment is the best way of doing business. It flies in the face of the democratic order.”

Chadehama and Mhambi were arrested last Friday for allegedly possessing photographs of gay sex and posting a letter in their office from former San Francisco mayor Willie Lewis Brown criticising Mugabe’s opposition to homosexuality. Under sweeping security laws it is an offence “to undermine the authority of the president”.

Magistrate Munamate Mutevedzi yesterday released the two on bail of $200 each until a trial set for 10 June, where they will face penalties of imprisonment or a fine.

Mutevedzi said provisions of Zimbabwe law on both allegations did not take into account the sexuality of suspected offenders.

Galz said Chadehama, 34, the administrator of Galz, and Mhambi, 38, an accountant, were married with children.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe but arrests are rare and Galz operates openly. The public statements of politicians give cold comfort, however.

Mugabe, 86, has described same sex partners as “lower than dogs and pigs”. Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, has said: “Women make up 52% of the population … there are more women than men, so why should men be proposing to men?”

The case is the latest in a series of flashpoints raising fears that gay rights are imperilled across Africa. Last week in Malawi a judge sentenced a gay couple to a maximum 14 years in prison with hard labour after the men made a public commitment to marriage.

That decision was condemned by South African president Jacob Zuma yesterday in a rare rebuke to a fellow African nation.

“We have condemned the action taken to arrest people in terms of our constitution,” Zuma told parliament in South Africa, where same-sex marriages are legally recognised. “We need to persuade, we need to make people understand, we need to move with them. We have never adopted a confrontational stance on matters.”

Phumi Mtetwa, director of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project in South Africa, said: “The torture and harassment of the Galz comrades and the raid of the offices expresses Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF government’s old tactics of dehumanising LGBTI people and Mugabe’s allies scoring political points by persecuting those who struggle for rights to equality.

“These struggles have to be seen in light of the increasing public homophobia on the continent – Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and even South Africa, to mention a few. The South African government has a constitutional obligation to challenge its counterparts to defend the human rights of LGBTI people on the continent.”‘

(Quelle: Guardian.)

Siehe auch:

Malawi Gay Couple Pardoned, Released From Jail
Malawi: UN rights chief sounds alarm on sentencing of gay couple
Uganda considers death sentence for gay sex in bill before parliament

Afrika: Homosexuelle in Afrika? Na klar!

Donnerstag, Mai 27th, 2010

“Homosexuality not a Western import to Africa

By JANET OTIENO

The issue of homosexualitiy in Africa is once making screaming headlines.

Just days after a Malawian gay couple was sentenced to 14 years’ jail with hard labour, two employees of the gay rights group in Zimbabwe were seized in a police swoop.

The Harare duo, now cooling their heels behind bars, are employees of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ).

The Malawian ruling, not surprisingly, has attracted a round of condemnation from the international community.

In Kenya, it is a different scenario altogether as the Gays and Lesbians Coalition – Kenya (GALCK) have come out in the open to demand the protection of their rights. A fearless breed indeed, one may argue rather convincingly!

With all these new developments, many especially parents, are seething with rage since homosexuality was initially a hidden affair.

Evil and foreign

In as much as the boldness displayed by this group has won them a good number of admirers, others have tendered to differ for various reasons, not least of which is that it will be out of character for “God-fearing” Africans to legislate in favour of homosexual rights.

Lebanese author Khalil Gibran observed some years back that: “Humanity cannot change the will of God just as an astrologer cannot change the course of the stars”.

Thus, those with opposing views say homosexuals are trying to “corrupt” the ordained order.

African culture virtually detests homosexuality as a vice and anyone trying to root for its legalisation in statutes books and acceptance in the society is likely to be resisted.

Homosexuality is illegal in African countries, save for South Africa, Chad and Gabon. This mirrors the widespread homophobia within the continent, documented so clearly by statements made by Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who refers to them as ‘worse than dogs and pigs’, and Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika, who terms the practice as evil and foreign.

Uganda nearly passed a legislation mandating death sentence for sodomists. Former presidents of Namibia Sam Nujoma and Kenya’s Daniel arap Moi were well known for their hard stance on homosexuals.

Azande warriors

Ironically, there are records indicating that homosexuality is not a Western import after all. Ancient examples of the boy marriage tradition among Azande warriors of Central Africa region and the gay sex at the court of the Kabaka (king) of the Buganda support this concept.

History has it that different wars within the continent would encourage homosexuality in the pre-colonial Africa since it brought men together.

Further evidence for the existence of homosexuality is that pre-colonial African ethnic groups ascribed tribal classifications to gay people.

Certain tribes in pre-colonial Burkina Faso and South Africa regarded lesbians as astrologers and traditional healers, while a number of tribal groups in Cameroon and Gabon believed homosexuality had a medicinal effect.

In pre-colonial Benin, homosexuality was viewed as a boyhood phase that males passed through and eventually grew out of according to Zimbabwean Standard newspaper.

The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his lover Smenkhkare were also documented as male couple in history. Their homosexuality does not seem to have bothered Akhenaten’s contemporaries, but his challenge to the clergy brought his downfall.

Although there is no data to substantiate a genetic or biologic basis for same-sex attraction, homosexuals prefer the biological explanations of hormonal imbalance, sexual abuse, prenatal hormone defect or lack of bonding with a same-sex parent as this helps to generate greater tolerance and building their case for minority status.

This would mean homosexuals need counselling and acceptance as opposed to the harsh penalties like imprisonment that will lead them to further isolation. Denying them the opportunity to live the way they have to, is total deprivation of their rights as human beings.

This puts the ball squarely on the parents’ court who have, for a long time, failed to instil appropriate sex education in their children at home, leaving the burden to teachers and clerics. The place for sex education is the home setting. Within their own families, young people should be aptly instructed about the dignity, duty, and expression of love.

Hateful and intolerant

There is no substitute for a personal dialogue of trust and openness between parents and their children, that is, individual formation within the family circle, which respects not only their stages of development, but also the children as individuals.

Sex education is a delicate subject and parents must find time to be with their children, making the effort to understand them and to recognise the fragment of truth that may be present in some forms of rebellion.

Such individual formation within the family means that sex education is indistinguishable from religious and moral development in other virtues such as temperance, fortitude, and prudence.

Africans should therefore not afford themselves the luxury of being hateful and intolerant to this particular group.

Whether Africa will face up the reality and accept homosexuals, or uphold its traditional values, remains to be seen as the debate rages on.”

(Quelle: Africa Review.)

UN: Haiti ist nur Krisen-Stellvertreterin

Donnerstag, Mai 20th, 2010

“In wake of Haiti quake, world must not forget about other crises, says UN official

John Holmes

The global spotlight has largely been concentrated on the catastrophic Haiti earthquake so far this year, bleeding support from emergencies in other areas, the top United Nations humanitarian official has said, urging stepped-up funding for crises worldwide.
‘While the attention has been rightly focused on Haiti, we must remain acutely aware of other disasters of a more protracted nature requiring our support,’ Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said yesterday in Geneva.

So far, of the 20 consolidated appeals totaling $10 billion issued in 2010, only 36 per cent of funds have been contributed, with one-third of the funds earmarked for Haiti.

At the same time in 2008, just before the onset of the devastating Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, 51 per cent of funding requirements had been met, Mr. Holmes told donors at a stocktaking meeting.

The Central African Republic (CAR), the Republic of Congo (ROC) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are among the unfunded crises with the greatest needs but the least visibility, he said.

‘In contrast, there is no shortage of headlines’ about the occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mr. Holmes noted.

‘However, even in these places, it is almost always the political situation that is in the spotlight and rarely the condition of ordinary people or the challenges that humanitarians face in reaching those most in need, and there also remain many unmet needs in all these places as well,’ he said in his address.

The appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory, for example, is only 21 per cent funded, while in Sudan, only four out of 11 clusters have received more than 20 per cent of resources required, while the remaining clusters – including health and mine action – are languishing.

Kenya, Zimbabwe, Iraq and Sri Lanka are among nations trying to maintain a balance between humanitarian and recovery efforts, the Under-Secretary-General said.

Funding shortfalls in these countries are ‘jeopardizing the ability of humanitarian organizations to bed in the gains they have made in recent months and years and to ensure that recovery really does take root,’ he emphasized. ‘Efforts to empower populations, support local authorities and find durable solutions following conflicts are repeatedly neglected or under-funded.’

In northern Uganda, Mr. Holmes, who also serves as UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that 80 per cent of uprooted people have returned to their homes and are waiting for their lives to re-start.

‘However, education and health projects have received little or no funding,’ he underlined. ‘As we have seen time and again around the world, when we fail to provide proper conditions for returns, those returns are rarely durable and re-displacement is a serious risk.’

The official also sounded the alarm yesterday that funding alone is not an adequate humanitarian response to crises. ‘From Afghanistan to Sudan to Haiti – in every location and now, more than ever, we need your support to help ensure that the space exists for humanitarian operations to take place.’”

(Quelle: UN News Centre.)

Zahl der weltweiten Flüchtlinge erreicht neuen Höchststand

Mittwoch, Mai 19th, 2010

GLOBAL: IDP numbers peak at 27 million, says new report

LONDON, 18 May 2010 (IRIN) – At least 6.8 million people were displaced last year, mainly by long-running conflicts, pushing the number of those forced to live away from home to 27 million – the highest since the mid-1990s, a new report states.

“The massive population movements and shocking violence are a sad reminder of the price that civilians pay in armed conflict,” Elisabeth Rasmusson, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said while launching the 2009 annual report on displacement at London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs. “Millions of people were newly displaced by conflicts in which combatants did not meet their obligations to protect civilians.”

The report, published by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (part of the NRC), said that while the number of refugees in the world remained fairly static, that of IDPs was rising steadily.

The distinction between a refugee and an IDP is clear in international law, but for the people who packed up their families and a few possessions and fled their homes to escape conflict it was often a matter of chance whether or not they crossed an international border.

The biggest single group of newly displaced people was in Pakistan, where some three million people fled army offensives against the Taliban and other armed groups. Most of the displacement was, however, temporary and they have now been able to go home. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, one million were newly displaced in 2009, as were over half a million in Sudan, and 400,000 each in Somalia and Colombia.

The IDPs, Rasmusson said, were often poorer and more vulnerable than refugees, and unable to travel as far from the conflict zone. The responsibility for their security and welfare should lie with their own governments, but some were reluctant to acknowledge the existence of displaced people within their borders. “They prefer to call them dislocated, or mobile or vulnerable populations,” she said.

The report cites Algeria, Myanmar, Indonesia and Zimbabwe as denying internal displacement. “This is arguably an attempt to deny the displaced access to the assistance they are entitled to by international law,” she said.

AU convention

Rasmusson and John Holmes, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, paid tribute to the African Union for its adoption last October of a Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. Holmes called the convention “very significant” and “a major step forward”.

“It recognises that states have a duty to prevent displacement and a responsibility towards those displaced,” he said at the report launch. “But the test will be whether the number of displaced is now reduced.”

Asked whether the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, should take responsibility for the welfare of IDPs, or whether a new international body was needed, Holmes said: “I think it is right for the UNHCR to take on more of this role.” However, he recognised that there was some resistance within the organization and among donors to a dilution of its mandate.

“We don’t want the UNHCR to be confined to the static problem of refugees, while IDPs are a massively expanding problem,” he added.

On the implications of displacement, he said: “Displacement creates an unacceptable burden on the communities that host IDPs, many of whom are themselves in need of humanitarian or development assistance…

“Furthermore, protracted displacement, and the marginalization that results, can have serious political, security and financial implications for national governments. As we have seen around the world, failure to resolve displacement inevitably undermines national efforts aimed at long-term peace and stability in post-crisis countries.”

Full report

(Quelle: IRIN News.)

Meinungsfreiheit in Zimbabwe – nur leere Versprechen

Mittwoch, April 21st, 2010

“Die Koalitionsregierung in Zimbabwe hat entgegen ihrer Versprechen im Machtteilungsabkommen, das im September 2008 unterzeichnet wurde, noch keine der wichtigen Medienreformen auf den Weg gebracht, so Human Rights Watch in einem heute veröffentlichten Bericht.”

Weiterlesen…

(Quelle: Human Rights Watch – Deutsch.)