African Sexual Minorities & Gender Variant Resources
Homosexuality - Gay - Lesbian - Bisexual - Transgender - Transsexual - Same-Sex Sex
To: Map of Africa
RWANDA - Anti-LGBT Arrests Increase as Elections Approach (2010, Alternate Link, Alternate Link):
While Rwanda prepares for the upcoming presidential elections to be
held in August this year, concerns are mounting regarding the future of
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) as
arbitrary arrests of these groups continue to swoop the country. - HOCA opens homosexuality debate in Rwanda (2010, Alternate Link, Alternate Link):
A public admission by the Director of Horizon Community Association
(HOCA), Naome Ruzindana, that homosexuality does exist in Rwanda has
sparked controversy in that country, with public figures dubbing it an
abomination that contradicts the Rwandan culture. In an interview with
Izuba Rirashe a Rwandan newspaper, Ruzindana said they are ready to be
visible and operate in an open space for society and the state to know
their existence and to fight for their freedom and right to existence.
“Its in this sense, we thought it was necessary for some of us to come
out, I felt it was necessary to be out spoken about homosexuality, for
people not to pretend that we do not exist”, said Ruzindana. “We are
here to fight against the new penal code that is being debated upon to
be put into law”, she added. Despite the emergence of movements that
have began advocating for the rights of sexual minority groups, many
people in Rwanda continue to deny the existence of homosexuality in the
country. - Naome Ruzindana on Challenges LGBTI People Face in Rwanda and East Africa (2010).
HRBA and the rights of LGBT persons in Rwanda
(2011): In November 2009, a draft revision on the Penal Code Act of
Rwanda was tabled in the Parliament of Rwanda. Article 217 of the
draft act would introduce the criminalization of consensual same-sex
acts and relationships as well as criminalizing the work of LGBT human
rights defenders. However, the article was dismissed after he Minister
of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama condemned and refuted international
reports that the Government intended to criminalize homosexual acts,
saying that sexual orientation is a private matter not a state
business. Regardless of this, many LGBT persons in the country have
been arbitrarily detained by the police, or have been denied their
rights by the authorities because of their sexual orientation or gender
identity. The examples below illustrate the level of discrimination and
on-going rights violations that LGBT individuals within Rwanda face.
Arrests, trial and sentencing of individuals accused of crimes, are
commonplace for LGBT persons. As a result, LGBT persons live in
legitimate fear of harassment and human rights violations by the
police, government authorities, and individuals in their communities.
Rwanda To Vote on Criminalizing Homosexuality Wednesday (2009). - Stop Rwanda's proposals to criminalise homosexuality (2009).- New Law Criminalizing Same-Sex Conduct Proposed in Rwanda (2007):
Rwanda is moving to abolish the death penalty, mainly so that it may
take custody of the overflow of Genocide-detainees whom the ICTR will
be unable to prosecute before the expiration of its mandate. This is a
positive and progressive move. Unfortunately, the opportunity is being
used to introduce some new, equally oppressive legislation—particularly
the criminalization for consensual same-sex acts, which had never been
a crime in Rwanda, and heightened penalties for abortion... Rwanda has
offered a strong response to AIDS and has been successful at
stabilizing HIV transmission rates in the country. Criminalizing
homosexuality will only hamper its efforts to fight HIV, by driving
same-sex practicing Rwandese underground and making them even more
afraid to discuss their sexual behavior with medical personnel,
counselors, their husbands, wives and non-marital partners. - New Law Criminalizing Same-Sex Conduct Proposed (2007). - Nouvelle proposition de loi criminalisant les pratiques homosexuelles (2007)Translation) (Alternate Link) (Translation).
Lesbian study on lived realities of same sex women in Rwanda (2010): The Research was carried out in Gasabo district of the Central province of Rwanda. The Focus was on Lived Realities of Open Lesbians living in Kigali. The study was therefore limited to only Kigali by Horizon Community Association because it was an initiative to recognize the Problems faced by Lesbians after the several attacks, arrests and arbitrary that has been in Rwanda since 2004... Interviews where conducted by one on one questioner method from different persons located in different areas of Rwanda below are their responses and a number of issues affecting the Lesbians community in Rwanda... Members have suffered from homophobic related physical injuries, mental health illness, and HIV /AIDS which requires special attention. Many members have a very negative attitude towards life. During the interview, members were traumatized, heart broken and requested for ways to be integrated to the Rwandan society and needed some psycho social support from the Organization ( Hoca)... Horizon Community Association has done a lot of Advocacy and Networking for the past years. Because of continued injustices that has happened to members, we decided to come out through Advocacy, and document our lived realities with testimonies, and this has helped us gain strong and supportive network within Rwanda... [Full Interviews Available.] - Naome-Buzindana (2010). Lesbian Study on Lived Realities of Same Sex Women in Rwanda. Kigali, Rwanda: Horizon Community Association (HOCA). PDF Download. Download Page: Horizon Community Association (HOCA).
New HIV awareness drive targets prisoners
(2010): "We have adopted new measures of sensitizing people in
correctional facilities as high-risk sexual behaviour in Rwandan
prisons seems to be a major contributing factor to the increase in the
spread of HIV," said Anita Asiimwe, executive secretary of the National
AIDS Control Commission, CNLS. The new strategy will use peer educators
to teach prisoners about HIV; they will also encourage prisoners to
attend voluntary counselling and testing for HIV so that those who are
already HIV-positive can access treatment... "Prison grounds offer
ideal conditions for the transmission of HIV, especially through
homosexuality," Dative Mukanyangezi, director-general of Kigali Central
Prison - where 16.5 percent of imprisoned women and 15 percent of male
prisoners were HIV-positive, according to 2006 data - told
IRIN/PlusNews. She noted that practices such as intravenous drug use
and the sharing of non-sterile sharp instruments for tattooing were
widespread in Rwanda's prisons. According to a 2009 study by the
Ministry of Health and its partners, prisoners in Kigali's Kimironko
Prison reported having sex with sex workers, girlfriends and wives
while out of prison on work detail.
Truth On Homosexuality In Rwanda
(2009): The author of this article had an opportunity to meet and
converse with a few LGBT (acronym that labels lesbians, gay, bisexuals
and transsexuals) in Rwanda. In their testimony, most of them declare
that when their families realized that they were born homosexuals
(meaning men whose feelings and sexual attraction can be considered
similar to those of women) and lesbians (meaning women whose feelings
and sexual attraction can be considered similar to those of men), they
were rejected from their homes, disrespected, and that their neighbors,
friends and government institutions made difficult for them... However,
even though these some of them encounter those problems, homosexuals
are found in all levels of society, as those we talked to informed us:
in high levels of national leadership, in the military leadership,
among powerful investors and business people, among people’s
representatives, and they do not wish to be revealed ( some have
families, i.e. wives and children ), born with such sexual nature
although they still can have children. Among those we talked to, some
have friends among such personalities, but they cannot reveal the
identity of those personalities because these have asked them not to
put them at jeopardy while they depend on those personalities.
Advocacy for HIV/AIDS prevention in / from Rwanda'a prisons
(2005): It is reliably known that these prisoners engage in un
protected penetrative sex either heterosexually or homosexually, even
though this is prohibited. Since homosexuality is taboo in Rwanda,
there has been no justification to distribute condoms in Prisons.
Hence, Rwanda’s prisons may have become a breeding ground for HIV...
Once permission is granted by Government Authorities to operate in
Prisons, it is necessary to ensure the cooperation of Prisons
Administrators, hence the need to mobilise them into cooperating with
HIV prevention services in Prisons. Lastly the Prisons inmates
themselves will be sensitised to adopt HIV preventive strategies.- Guarding against HIV in prisons
(2006): Kigali Central Prison (KCP), in the capital of Rwanda, has the
nation's highest number of HIV-positive prisoners... HIV-positive
inmates say they were infected before they were jailed because Rwanda's
prison regulations do not allow conjugal visits. "Due to a lack of
choice, some men look to other men for what they should have received
from their wives or other women," said prisoner Jean-Bosco Habiyambere.
"Basically, men sleep with men." ... Rwanda does not provide prisoners
with condoms, but Gasatura acknowledged that "if you suspect there are
sexual practices going on, then it would only be wise to provide them
[inmates] with condoms".
Do Rwanda's prisons spread AIDS? (2004, Must Scroll) Controversy surrounds the issue of HIV/AIDS in prison. While some prisoners are already infected before they are detained, others get it during their time in prison. The question is how? “Some times it is through sex with female prison guards. But usually it is through homosexuality. This happens a lot. Men are not afraid of sleeping with other men”, Uwitonda Charles an ex-prisoner disclosed. Medical personnel and some prison officials agree that homosexual acts are spreading HIV infection in Rwanda 's jails. But two problems make this even worse. First, they are not allowed to distribute free condoms, because that would be endorsing homosexual acts. Second, prisoners are often reluctant to discuss this issue openly... “Some boys don't even get enough food to eat. So, often older prisoners use food, money or influence, to lure them into sex”, Uwitonda revealed.... According to Antoinette, there is no distribution of condoms in prisons. “No we can't do that because then we would be legalising the practice. All we can do is carry out daily sensitization sessions on HIV/AIDS, to try and change their behaviour”, Mukashema indicated... - HIV/AIDS prevention in Rwanda's prisons N/A: Although sex is officially prohibited in the country’s prisons, most inmates are thought to engage in regular unprotected sex with other prisoners. Taboos surrounding homosexuality and men having sex with men are an enormous challenge – both in terms of policy and programme implementation... The project's main aim was to raise the inmates’ awareness of HIV transmission and how to prevent infection. A key objective was to see up to 50 per cent of inmates using condoms by the end of the project.
Liberal' 'Satanic behavior' (2007, Must Scroll, Alternate Link): RWANDA will not be bullied into compromising its position on gay bishops and blessings,
the Bishop of Shyira, John Rucyahana,told the state radio service last
week... It is the Americans who have “abandoned the faith, the law and
doctrine of the church. They also do not believe in the teachings of
the Bible”, Bishop Rucyahana said on Aug 14 to a nationwide radio
audience. The liberal western churches ‘do not conform to the religious
conduct of the Anglican church’ because it is they who have “ordained
homosexuals as bishops not Africans.” - African bishops ready to boycott conference in row over gay clergy (2007). - Church of Rwanda boycotts lambasts conference (2007):
The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda says its members
will not attend the Lambeth Conference next year in England, as
divisions over the Bible and homosexuality threaten to split the world
Rwandan gay and lesbian people are short-changed due to a repressive environment: (2005, Alternate Link)
"In my country there are a lot of gay people, but they have to live in
hiding and they can't come out to embrace their sexual orientation,
because they are afraid of rejection by their families, friends and the
society. Being queer in my country is not an easy life. People call you
names and, until now, there is no NGO or organization that supports the
rights of gays in Rwanda." Eric is very knowledgeable about the law. He
said that the constitution doesn't say anything about whether it is
illegal to be gay. "Many gays leave the country and go to Europe or
America, where they will be far from their families and where they can
Activity Among Street Children in Kigali: "The incidence of rape was
found to be high: 63 percent of the boys reported having forced a girl
to have sex with them, while 93 percent of the girls reported having been
forced by either a boy or man. All the sexually active girls and 91 percent
of the sexually active boys reported knowing someone who had been raped...
A total of 12.6 percent of the boys and 14.8 percent of the girls reported
having engaged in homosexual relations..." - The
tough life of being a transvestite in gay-hating Rwanda (2003, Alternate Link):
In many African societies, homosexuality is seen as a devilish
aberration. If possible, transvestites are regarded as even worse.
Whereas in Britain she might be accepted as a transsexual, in Africa
Tamara - not her real name - betrays her secret only to friends and
lovers. Carelessness has a cost: being hounded down dark streets,
stripped, shaved, beaten and jailed.
Exploring HIV Risk among MSM in Kigali, Rwanda (2009, PDF Download).
report presents findings from a behavioral surveillance study
(BSS) of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kigali carried out in
2008-2009. The aim of this study was to describe the population of MSM
in Kigali and explore the nature of sexual activity between MSM...
Ninety-eight (98) MSM aged 18 to 52 years, participated in the study..
This study has provided introductory data as a first step to shaping
the HIV response for MSM. However, much information is still lacking.
We suggest that further research is urgently needed to assess HIV/other
STI prevalence among MSM. We also recommend further research into MSM
sexual networks (i.e., commercial and transactional sex, sex with
women, sex and travel). The results of this exploratory study suggest
MSM in Kigali are at elevated risk for HIV infection comparedto the
general population, and require specific HIV/STI prevention
Resources: - Behind the Mask - A Web Site on Gay and Lesbian Affairs in Africa. - Africa by Country: Rwanda. Rwanda Archive. - African Veil: Countries Covered: Rwanda. - Queer afrol. - Afrol News; Gay/Lesbian Archives. - theGully.com news & Articles: Africa. Horizon Community Association (HOCA).Global Gayz: Africa: Rwanda News Reports From 2003 to the Present. - ILGA: Africa: Rwanda. - LGBT rights in Rwanda. - Sodomy Laws. - Human Rights Watch: Use Search Function. - Amnesty International: Use Search Function. - Pink News: Europe's Largest Gay News Service: Africa. - AsylumLaw.Org: Sexual Minorities & HIV Status: Documents / Reports / Website Links / Organizations. Rwanda Individual Documents since 2000. - Links to News Sources for GLBT World.
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