Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Congo's Sex Practices Against Nature Bill will criminalize homo sex and animal sex

Now Congo has an anti-gay bill on the table, proposed less than 30 days after release of the UN Mapping Report on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Congo, 1993-2003.  These crimes are ongoing because of what is commonly termed "impunity," i.e., because the perpetrators have never been prosecuted or "brought to book."

Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, a.k.a., Hang-the-Gays Bill, was also promised a second read in Uganda's Parliament within less than 30 days of the release of the Mapping Report, which implicates Uganda's army and, most of all, Rwanda's.

This may be the most ridiculous distraction from the report yet, even more ridiculous even than Rwanda's charges against Peter Erlinder, Paul Rusesabagina, and Victoire Ingabire, who now sits in Kigali's infamous 1930 Prison, in pink prison garb, with her head shaved, as Peter Erlinder did last spring, within a week of traveling there to defend her.

Congo's army is also implicated in the Mapping Report; Congo too feels called to distract, but homosex and zoophilia lumped into one law, with the same penalty?   Congo doesn't have more serious things to deal with than this, with no court system capable of responding to the Mapping Report, and a president, Joseph Kabila, and army, also implicated in the report?

Congo's bill, the Sexual Practices Against Nature Bill will, if passed, criminalize homosex and animal sex, a.k.a., zoophilia, or, bestiality.  Like Uganda's bill, it also criminalizes the promotion of homosex and defense of LGBT rights,  though penalties will not include hanging, as in Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act.  Congolese will face only three to five years, for having sex with the same sex, or with animals, if this passes, and, at least D.R. Congo, site of the most lethal conflict since WWII, including mass rape, civilian massacres, genocide, and relentless resource plunder, will finally get serious Western press:

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association

Groups mobilise against DRC’s anti gay bill 


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights organisations and activists have expressed concerns over the the Sexual Practices Against Nature Bill presented before the national parliament of the Democratic Republic of aiming to criminalise homosexuality and zoophilia as sexual practices against nature.

Jean Bedel Kaniki, President of Groupe Hirondelles Bukavu, an LGBTI organisation in the DRC confirmed that on the 22 October “the bill was judged admissible by the majority of the parliament and was sent to the socio-cultural committee that will discuss its permissibility in terms of the provisions and principles of the constitution before its promulgation.”

Section 2 of the proposed Bill singles out zoophilia (sex with animals) and homosexuality as sexual practices against nature.

It also criminalises any activities that directly or indirectly aim to promoting the rights LGBTI persons, therefore, in accordance with section 174h3 of the Bill, “all publications, posters, pamphlets, (or) films highlighting or likely to arouse or encourage sexual practices against nature are forbidden within the territory of the DRC (Section 174h3)” and “all associations that promote or defend sexual relations against nature are forbidden within the territory of the DRC.”

Those who go against the stipulations of this Bill will be punished by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of 500,000 Congolese francs (Section 174h1). Kaniki explained that the Bill is most likely to be passed next year.

“I do not think that the bill will be passed before the next parliamentary session in March next year; in the next few weeks the budget will be the most pressing issue debated”, he said.

However, Kaniki warned that “we should not wait until March 2011 because they can always surprise us, the same way they did when the Bill was presented to parliament. It came as a surprise for us.”

Organisations have already set up a joint working group in Kinshasa, the capital of DRC.

“We are trying to mobilize the diplomats and also to have people in parliament who can intervene in our favour to the president of the parliament.”

Kaniki also said organisations have the support of LGBTI organisations such as Horizon Community Association (HOCA) from Rwanda, Mouvement Pour Les Libertis Individuells (MOLI) and Humure from Burundi, as well as other LGBTI organisations from Kenya, Uganda and South Africa that have more experience.

In an open letter sent to human rights organisations and activists, the organisations denounced the proposed Bill as a gross human rights violation that goes against all international treaties ratified by the DRC.

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