Newsletter Issue 8
Update on Civil Society Coalition On Human Rights case against Rolling Stone tabloid
CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAW- UGANDA
DATE: 26 NOVEMBER 2010 27th, 2010
Judgment in Coalition’s court case against Rolling Stone due on 13th December 2010!
Yesterday, Friday 26 November 2010, the third hearing in the case of Kasha Jacqueline, David Kato and Pepe Patience Onziema, against the tabloid Rolling Stone and its managing editor, Giles Muhame, took place in Room F7 of Uganda’s High Court, Kampala, before High Court Judge Kibuuka Musoke.
In October, the tabloid, under the headline “100 Pictures of Uganda’s top homos leak’, had published the names, addresses and places frequented by the applicants. One of the subtitles also read ‘Hang Them! They are after our children’.
The first hearing, on 1 November 2010, resulted in an interim order stopping the respondents from publishing any further information about anyone alleged to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender.
The second hearing of the case, which took place on 23 November 2010, resulted in an adjournment at the request of the defense.
The third hearing, which began at 9.30 and closed at around 12.30, began with submissions on behalf of the applicants. Their lead counsel, Dr Henry Onoria, told court that this was a constitutional matter regarding the actual or threatened infringement of the applicants’ human rights. He submitted that the publication of the above information was a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s Constitution, namely the rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of movement and liberty, and further, that the incitement to ‘Hang Them’ was also a violation of the right to life.
The defense lawyer sought to make this a matter of morality and sought permission to cross-examine the first applicant, Kasha Jacqueline, on her affidavit, a move which, if allowed, would have led to a discussion of the applicant’s sexuality. The prayer was disallowed by the Judge.
The Judge’s final ruling will be delivered on Monday 13th at 3.00pm. The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law intends to hold a press conference thereafter and will issue a full statement on the case and the outcome.
This legal action is one of the actions taken by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law in response to the multiple ways in which unchallenged homophobia in Uganda violates fundamental human rights guaranteed in Uganda’s Constitution.
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum Uganda (HRAPF)
Back to God Centre,
Tel; +256 782 169 505
Reflections on donor committment to replenish the Global Fund
Paula Akugizibwe, advocacy co-ordinator at ARASA, was part of a panel that gave testimony before the Unites States of America's (USA) Congress committee for foreign affairs to lobby the USA government for replenishment of the global fund. Leading up to her meeting before congress she met with policy makers, and had discussions with the media. In a letter updating ARASA civil society partners she wrote:
As you know by now I have been to the US for a week prior to the Global Fund’s Third Voluntary Replenishment Meeting, to meet with various officials and policy institutions to lobby for replenishment in the lead-up to the conclusion of today's meeting. My address to the Congress committee on foreign affairs, in which your actions are referenced, is available at http://internationalrelations.house.gov/111/aku092910.pdf
Unfortunately the news coming out of the replenishment today is very disappointing - less than 12 billion will be committed, which is even smaller than the lowest scenario published by the Global Fund of 13 billion. This will no doubt have a profound impact on our health systems moving forward.
Regardless of this, although the outcome of the replenishment was not quite what we expected, it was clear that donors were feeling the pressure of people "watching" and demanding, based on the feedback that they received about all these actions around the world; and your action contributed significantly to that: viva!
One thing that has struck me really strongly from all the meetings with policy makers, as well as discussions with the media, is the growing sense of disillusionment with African governments' lack of investment in their own HIV programs; and corruption in the use of resources. This is of course a lot broader and complex than HIV alone, however, it has provided a convenient though questionable excuse for donor backtracking and has significantly diminished public support for continued investment in our region, especially after the recession when global aid is seen by citizens of rich countries as being in competition with domestic investment in their own needs. This is undermining our ability to demand accountability on global funding commitments.
Therefore I think that we should view this day of action as the start of something greater - in addition to advocacy on the Global Fund we critically need to harness the public momentum created by this activism so as to put greater pressure on our governments to invest in health and particularly in universal access to HIV/TB treatment. In addition to this being their moral imperative, it will also be desperately needed as the global funding gap widens.
We look forward to working with you to continue campaigning to demand greater global commitment while targeting African governments to increase their own.
Links to radio interviews
National Public Radio
AIDS Fight Sees Decline In Global Support
Campus Progress Radio
Five Minutes With HIV/AIDS Activist Paula Akugizibwe
Read the transcriptCampus Progress caught up with her after the Global Fund Replenishment conference in New York City last week. The conference was chaired by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and aimed to draw donations to secure long-term funding for the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. With a budget of over $19 billion, the Global Fund accounts for over half of the international financing of HIV/AIDS programs in the world’s poorest countries.
Unfortunately, the representatives of 40 countries meeting in New York last week failed to raise the $13 billion deemed necessary to maintain services at current levels over the next three years. The United States was a notable exception at the conference by increasing its previous contribution by 40 percent, bringing the total to $4 billion.
Campus Progress spoke to Akugizibwe just hours before the final results of the donations were released.
African civil society unite to call for increased health funding
In a show of solidarity that generated significant political momentum, AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) partners in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana supported a global call to fully finance the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for the next three years through a day of action on 28 September 2010.
Several public demonstrations, press conferences and other community actions took place in support of the Third Voluntary Global Fund Replenishment Meeting that was held on 4 and 5 October 2010 in New York City, USA. During this meeting, at which governments and donors signalled their financial commitment towards the Global Fund for the next 3 years.
Participating organisations simultaneously called on donors to replenish the Global Fund and on African governments to show a deeper commitment to health funding in their own countries, as promised in the Abuja declaration of 2001.
Nine years ago, African heads of state pledged to spend a minimum of 15% of national budgets on health. In July 2010 the African Union issued a call to accelerated action on this target – its second such call, following a similar call in 2006.
Despite this, to date only 6 countries have met the target. AIDS activists have described this as counter-productive to economic progress and development in Africa, emphasising that “health is wealth” – thus it is a critical pre-requisite for sustainable socio-economic development.
As part of a global day of action, civil society in Africa mobilised significant political momentum for health financing. In Tanzania, the Children Education Society (CHESO) held a press conference, which received wide coverage in the national media. Subsequently, the Minister for the State, in the Prime Minister's Office, Ms Celina Combani, confirmed the Tanzanian government's commitment to health funding in an interview with the Guardian, a national newspaper. She explained that the government would, "definitely fill the gap resulting from the UN agency's change of tack so that none of our people living with HIV needlessly succumbs to AIDS just because we are short of ARV's." The Minister added that: "We are fully aware of what is going on and the government has devised a range of counter-measures, including raising the health budget in a deliberate move to save lives by arresting the spread of HIV infections."
In Zambia, The Zambia AIDS Law Research and Advocacy Network (ZARAN) and the Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) called on the Zambian government to show increased transparency, accountability and efficiency in the use of funding for health. In a joint statement, the organisations urged their government to increase its domestic contribution to strengthen its health system, in line with the Abuja target.
“A lack of political will by African governments to allocate sufficient funds to health systems, coupled with government corruption in the use of resources has provided donors with an excuse to backtrack on funding,” elaborated Malala Mwondela, Director of ZARAN. ZARAN and TALC added that a lot needed to be done to improve the health system and increase access to health care by ordinary Zambians in order to retain donor confidence.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was joined by the World AIDS Campaign and ARASA in Cape Town, South Africa at a picket outside the German Embassy to demand that the German government contribute their fair share to the Global Fund. Click here to see video footage of the event.
The Global Fund replenishment activism also led to a significant African private sector investment in the Global Fund. One of the major African private sector contributions was made by Access Bank Zambia, which donated US$1 million to the Global Fund's “Gift from Africa” Project, a collaboration between the Global Fund and private sector in Africa to fight AIDS, TB and malaria.
International funding aid towards the replenishment effort for the period 2011 – 2013 fell far short of the goal of US $20 billion. Subsequently, ARASA and civil society partners have expressed their disappointment in this outcome, recognising the day of action as the beginning of something greater - a call for increased community mobilisation to put pressure on African governments to invest in health and particularly in universal access to HIV/TB treatment. Read Paula Akugizibwe’s perspectives on the outcomes of the replenishment meeting here.
Below is a list of a list of activities by ARASA's civil society partners, supporting documents and links to media coverage on the global day of action.
Global Day of Action Supporting Documents
Related media articlesZARAN, TALC call for accountability in funding to Zambia's health sector, The Post Newspapers Zambia
Lesotho: Civil societies call for replenishment of global fund, Public Eye Online
Swaziland: Protest March to deliver petitions on diminishing funding, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
Events held by Participating Organisations (28 September 2010)
Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA),
Event: Press Conference
Contact: Cindy Kelemi, BONELA, Tel.: +267 393 2516
Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues in HIV/AIDS in broad coalition (KELIN),
AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA)
Event: Civil Society March and Press Conference
Contact: Allan Maleche, KELIN, Tel.: +254-2-3861596 OR +254-2-2515790 OR +254-717-261408
Melba Katindi, KELIN, Tel.: +254-2-3861596 OR +254-2-2515790 OR +254-717-261408
Lynette Mabote, ARASA, + 254 (0) 701 498 935
Malawi Network of People Living with HIV (MANET+)
Event: Press Conference
Contact: Victor Kamanga, Tel: +265-1-770-171 OR +265-88-820-7715
AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA),
Legal Assistance Centre (LAC)
Event: Roundtable discussion
Contact: Felicita Hikuam, Tel. +264 61 300381
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)
World AIDS Campaign (WAC)
AIDS and Rights Alliance for SouthernAfrica (ARASA)
Event: Picket outside the Italian Embassy
Contact Details: Vuyiseka Dubela and Catherine Tomlinson, Tel.: +27 21 447 8435
Event: Picket outside the German Embassy in Cape Town
Contact: Vuyiseka Dubela and Catherine Tomlinson, Tel.: +27 21 447 8435
Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL),
Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV (SWANNEPHA)
Swaziland AIDS Support Organisation (SASO),
Swaziland Christian Youth Network
International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW)
Event: Press Conference and Civil Society March to deliver a petition to the European Union, American
Embassy and Ministry of Finance.
Contact: Tengetile Hlophe, SWAPOL, Tel: +268 505 7088 OR +268 7602 7324
Children Education Society (CHESO),
Kids, Teens and Youths Living with HIV and AIDS Club (KITEYO-Club)
Event: Press Conference and round-table discussion
Contact: Richard Shilamba, CHESO, Telephone + 255 732992164
Zambia AIDS Law Research and Advocacy Network (ZARAN)
Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC)
Event: Press Conference
Contact: Malala Sakufiwa-Mwondela, Telephone: +260 211 253 555