Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rwanda to Vote Today on Criminalizing Homosexuality

On the heels of Uganda's pending "Kill the Gays" bill we now hear that the Rwanda Parliament is set to take up a bill the would penalize homosexual acts with a prison sentence of five to ten years and fines that range in the equivalent of  US$350 - US$1750. The average annual income in Rwanda is just US$370.

The legislation would also criminalize LGBT activism, outreach and counseling organizations.

Box Turtle Bulletin reports:

"One key phrase of the proposed penal code, “encourages or sensitizes,” would have the effect of criminalizing advocacy on behalf of LGBT people. It would also severely impact the ability to deliver health services to LGBT people.

The Horizon Community Association of Rwanda (HOCA) and the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) have denounced the bill (PDF: 56KB/3 pages), saying that Rwandan citizens still experience gross violations of human rights. “Our country and our people refuse to recognize the fact that we exist,” said Naomi Ruzindana, President of HOCA. “As far as they are concerned, there are no lesbians or gays in Rwanda. Well, we are here, we exist. We are ordinary people like everyone and all we want is for our people and our government to recognize our existence and the fact that it is our basic human right to live our lives the way that we want and choose.”

The Rwandan Parliament will also consider another section of the Penal code that would criminalize sex workers in the country."

 Box Turtle reports that once again, that Pastor Rick Warren's finger prints are all over this latest African anti-gay move. Thirty-seven nations currently outlaw homosexuality. Read more at

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