Human Rights in Perspective: A Tale of Two Countries (Part 2)
In Part 1, I shed some light on the current human rights challenges we face, and in Part 3 I offer a call to action, but here is a more in-depth look at two countries that are particularly interesting — Uganda and Sweden. What do the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 tell us about these places?
This country has been on the map for a while now for it punitive laws against people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT). And, this year, since this report’s publication, Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act, referred to as the Kill the Gays Bill by the civilized world, was enacted, coming down hard on LGBT people, with long sentences, even for just knowing and not reporting a “known homosexual.” Here is how some of conditions in 2013 are summarized.
LGBT persons faced discrimination and legal restrictions… LGBT persons were subject to societal harassment, discrimination, intimidation, and threats to their well-being, and were denied access to health services… Police in Kampala arrested British theatre producer David Edwards Cecil for staging a play police alleged promoted homosexual activity…
Things in Uganda have gotten far worse, and the passage of the “Kill the Gays Bill” shows us that there are no signs of improvement. The bill was preceded by laws from the colonial era, crafted by British authorities to punish the unnatural sex observed among the locals, and Uganda is still under the choke-hold of western influence, with many of their most influential citizens promoting this awful doctrine. We must continue speaking out against these vicious attacks on freedom, avoiding the “out of sight out of mind” mentality which can muffle our efforts. It’s time to push back.
Human rights in countries in the Nordic area are often considered a gold standard. When it comes to issues such as sex education and equality, many will not hesitate to praise this region. The praise is apt enough, as the region has been ahead of the curve for some time now. For example, all Nordic countries allow some form of same-sex marriage. However, it turns out that even Sweden, a Nordic country, has its issues.
During the year there were isolated incidents of societal violence and discrimination against persons perceived to be gay. The NCCP* reported 850 hate crimes in 2011 based on sexual orientation or gender identity.