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Cablegate: Namibia's Rainbow Project Protests Anti-Homosexual

VZCZCXRO9545
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHWD #0126 0400957
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090956Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0189
INFO SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS WINDHOEK 000126

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
FOR: AF/RSA FOR LOUIS MAZEL, DRL FOR SANDRA MURPHY AND NICOLE WILETT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV WA MI UG
SUBJECT: Namibia's Rainbow Project Protests Anti-Homosexual
Legislation in Uganda and Malawi

REF: WINDHOEK 514

1. (U) On February 3, the civil society organization The
Rainbow Project (TRP) organized a demonstration to protest
anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda and Malawi. The group
represents and provides support to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and
transgender (LGBT) persons living in Namibia. TRP estimated 100
people turned out for the rally aimed at expressing solidarity with
their counterparts in the LGTB communities in Uganda and Malawi.
Protesters called upon the leadership of these two countries to
uphold basic human rights regardless of an individual's sexual
orientation or preference. They cited the rights guaranteed in the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which both Uganda and
Malawi have signed. Madeleine Isaaks, Interim Director of TRP,
said that the abuse, humiliation and violence against LGBT persons
is irreconcilable with the universal-- and African-- values of
dignity, equality and freedom. Isaaks was pleased by the sizable
turnout and media coverage for the event, which included live radio
broadcasts on major radio stations and an article in the Afrikaans
daily Republikein.

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2. (U) Namibia's laws do not prohibit homosexuality; however,
sodomy between males is illegal (reftel). In 2009, TRP handled
close to 20 cases affecting LGTB persons, including: unfair
dismissal from work, hate crimes, street attacks, and rape. TRP
has worked closely with other human rights organizations to
incorporate the rights of sexual minorities into a comprehensive
human rights framework for Namibia.

3. (SBU) Comment. Tolerance of sexual minorities in Namibia
remains a delicate issue. There is no pending legislation that
targets or punishes LGBT persons. That being said, Post does not
expect the introduction of new legislation that takes a more
liberal approach to the issue of LGBT rights either. TRP is facing
threat of closure as a result of some of its key international
donors phasing out their funding. If the organization folds, it
will leave a significant gap in the care and support for the LGBT
community in Namibia. End comment.
MATHIEU

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