Today is International Human Rights Day and an opportunity to celebrate human rights and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere. This year, More Light Presbyterians is highlighting Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s courageous statement at the All Africa Conference of Churches challenging the Anti-Homosexuality Bill pending in Uganda’s parliament.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is expected to become law after Parliamentary Speaker Rebecca Kadaga offered it to Ugandans as a “Christmas gift.” The bill is believed to exclude the death penalty clause after international pressure forced its removal, but gay rights activists say much of it is still horrendous.
“I am opposed to discrimination, that is unfair discrimination, and would that I could persuade legislators in Uganda to drop their draft legislation, because I think it is totally unjust,” Tutu told reporters here on Tuesday at the All Africa Conference of Churches meeting…
“My brothers and sisters, you stood with people who were oppressed because of their skin color. If you are going to be true to the Lord you worship, you are also going to be there for the people who are being oppressed for something they can do nothing about: their sexual orientation,” he said.
Tutu said people do not choose their sexual orientation, and would be crazy to choose homosexuality “when you expose yourself to so much hatred, even to the extent of being killed.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu also wrote a letter to the Presbyterian Church (USA) last year for its human rights stand after the passage of Amendment 10-A, an action that removed the ban on ordaining openly lesbian and gay candidates for ministry.
Human Rights and the Global LGBT Community
Q. What are the Yogyakarta Principles?
The Yogyakarta Principles are a set of principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Principles affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birthright.
Q. Why are they needed?
Human rights violations targeted toward persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity constitute an entrenched global pattern of serious concern. They include extra-judicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, sexual assault and rape, invasions of privacy, arbitrary detention, denial of employment and education opportunities, and serious discrimination in relation to the enjoyment of other human rights.
Key human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have affirmed States’ obligation to ensure effective protection of all persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the international response has been fragmented and inconsistent, creating the need for a consistent understanding of the comprehensive regime of international human rights law and its application to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Yogyakarta Principles do this.
There is also an activist guide to the Yogyakarta Principles.