Paris 12 May
In a letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanetham Pillay, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that "in September this year, ironically on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist atrocities, you are due to open the third session of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance(WCAR) at the the United Nations in New York."
Samuels explained that "what is colloquially know as 'Durban III' will, undoubtedly, reiterate the antisemitism and anti-Western histrionics of its two predecessors (2001 in Durban, 2009 in Geneva)." adding that " the 'Related Intolerance' element in its title, ostensibly places under the Conference agenda, discrimination based upon gender - which includes hatred and violence against Gays."
The Centre urged the High Commissioner, also in her capacity as WCAR Secretary-General, "to convene an emergency Council session to sanction Uganda for persecution of its homosexual citizens."
The letter pointed out that "its Parliament, yesterday, suspended legislation calling for hanging of all homosexuals. That debate may be renewed tomorrow, Friday 13 May, before the parliament's summer break or when it re adjourns in the autumn", continuing, "since 2009, assaults on Gays have increased exponentially, culminating this
January in the beating to death of Gay rights activist, David Kato. His murder was, allegedly, in response to the Kampala magazine, Rolling Stone, expose of names and photos of homosexuals under the caption "Hang Them!"
Samuels stressed that " 'sexual perversity' conspiracy theories have scapegoated homosexualaity to blame for the fuel and food crises during President Yoweri Musaveni's election campaign - now begining another 5 year term, after his 25 years continuous incumbency.As it currently stands, the draft legislation criminalizes all assistance to Gays, including those who rent them accommodation or fail to promptly denounce acts of homosexuality."
The Centre questioned the High Commissioner:
- where are the Human Rights Council 47 member-states on this blatant
violation of rights, or is the targeting of Gays to be endorsed by
- How can Uganda be slated to join the Council membership, whilst
still led by the bigoted Musaveni regime?
- Where, on this issue, are the human rights NGO's and other civil
society actors delegated to the Council in Geneva?
"We seek your urgent action to contain the resurgence of a familiar bigotry. While the Jews were their primary victims, Nazi Germany also persecuted Roma and Sinti Gypsies, the handicapped and homosexuals. Anti-Gay pogroms in both Uganda and Iran must be stopped to prevent further spread throughout Africa and the Middle East" concluded Samuels.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is an international Jewish human rights organization with a worldwide membership of 440,000. Established in 1977, with headquarters in Los Angeles, it draws the lessons of the Holocaust to the analysis of contemporary issues of prejudice and discrimination. The Centre is an NGO in consultative status to the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe.
For further information, please contact Dr Shimon Samuels at +33.609.7701.58