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Home Petitions Zambian HIV and Gay rights activist, Paul Kasonkomona, detained in Zambia

Zambian HIV and Gay rights activist, Paul Kasonkomona, detained in Zambia

Published on April 8, 2013 in Petitions

– a Zambian who campaigns for HIV treatment and equality for all has been detained in .

Paul’s “crime” is that he spoke on Zambian TV supporting equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. He was arrested when leaving the TV studios. (See email from and request by Christopher Mumba Jnr. below on behalf of Zambian activists and organisations for international solidarity.)

Gay Rights Activist Paul Kasonkomona

Paul Kasonkomona

Zambia criminalises sex 

All consensual adult same-sex acts are criminalised in Zambia. Offences such as sodomy, or sex between women, carry a minimum sentence of 15 years or a maximum of life. Attempts to have sex without being successful is punishable by a minimum sentence of 7 years or a maximum of 14 years.

Indecent “same-sex practices” (probably offences such as holding hands, kissing and masturbation between adults or alone) also carries a minimum sentence of 7 years or a maximum of 14 years.

These laws were codified in the Zambian Penal Code during the British Colonial period and “updated” in 2005.

Paul Kasonkomona must be defended. Please consider signing-on to the letter to President Michael Sata of Zambia and the South African Minister of International Relations and Development Co-operation, Ms. Maite Nkoane- Mashabane.

 

Regards,

 Zackie


Sign-on letter

 

Dear President Sata

 RELEASE PAUL KASONKOMONA, CONDEMN HARASSMENT OF LGBTI PEOPLE AND DECRIMINALISE CONSENSUAL SEX BETWEEN ADULTS

We are people and organisations based in South Africa and we write this letter after learning of the arrest and detention of Mr. Paul Kasonkomona, a Zambian national in Lusaka on 7 April 2013. He was arrested after speaking on television supporting equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

We wish to urgently address the following issues:

 

  1. We protest the unjustified arrest and detention of Mr. Paul Kasonkomona, an activist that has helped to save the lives of millions of people living with HIV/AIDS and TB on our continent and elsewhere. Mr. Kasonkomona’s call for equal rights irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity is not a crime.

 

His arrest is a violation of the Zambian Constitution, the African Charter, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, political opinion and equality before the law.

 

We demand his immediate release.

 

  1. We urge your government to condemn any harassment of lesbian, , bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Zambia as a violation of fundamental human rights.

 

  1. We further urge your government to immediately start a process to decriminalise consensual sex between adults in private irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity. This means repealing the laws introduced by the British colonial administration and codified in the Zambian Penal Code.

 

We look forward to a positive response from your office and government.

 Please email Ndifuna Ukwazi (contact@nu.org.za) or leave a reply in the comments if you wish to the letter.

Yours faithfully

Zackie Achamat

 


Zambian Penal Code Sections 155-158

 

155. Any person who-

 

(a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or

 

(b) …

 

(c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature;

 

commits a felony and liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term not less than fifteen years and may be liable to imprisonment for life:

 

(As amended by No. 26 of 1933 and repealed and replaced by Act No. 15 of 2005)

 

Attempt to commit unnatural offences

156. Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section one hundred and fifty-five commits a felony and is liable, upon conviction of not less than seven years but not exceeding fourteen years.

 

(As amended by No. 26 of 1933 and repealed and replaced by Act No. 15 of 2005)

 

 

(As amended by No. 26 of 1933 and repealed and replaced by Act No. 15 of 2005)

 

Indecent practices between persons of the same sex

 

158. (1) Any male who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with a male …person, or procures a male … person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male … person, whether in public or private, commits a felony and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and not exceeding fourteen years.

 

(2) Any female who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with a female …person, or procures a female… person to commit any act of gross indecency with her, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any female person … another female … person, whether in public or private, commits a felony and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and not exceeding fourteen years.

 

(3) A child who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another child of the same sex or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any person with the child’s self or with another child or person of the same sex, whether in public or private, commits an offence and is liable, to such community service or counseling as the court may determine in the best interests of the child.

(As amended by No. 26 of 1933 and repealed and replaced by Act No. 15 of 2005)

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28 Comments  comments 

28 Responses

  1. EP

    This isn’t an issue for religion, it is an important issue of simple human rights as recognized across the globe. Religions are about traditions and superstition and they involve fantasy and imagination based upon localized customs. But sexual orientation is something which a person is born with, and should not be condemned any more than a person being born with grey eyes instead of brown or blue, or black skin instead of yellow or white. Our religions should never get in the way of human rights because we do not live inside of isolated cultures anymore – the world is open, and everybody should behave for the interests of the entire world, not just a local custom or superstition.

  2. Patrik Hübinette

    I support this letter!
    Patrik Hübinette
    Stockholm, Sweden

  3. Joya Ghose

    I support the contents and senders of this letter.

  4. Malcolm Norton

    I support the the demand for the release of Paul Kasonkomona and condemn the persecution of LGBT people in Zambia.

  5. Kevin LS

    How do I forward this letter from myself to the Zambian government ?

  6. [...] South Africa-based campaign group Ndifuna Ukwazi demanded Mr Kasonkomona’s release, in an online petition addressed to Zambia’s President Michael Sata. [...]

  7. jim myers

    Please release Paul Kasonkomona. One day you will look back at this with regret. All people are created equally. Learn to love and accept the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. Update your laws and release those you have held erroniously!

  8. [...] South Africa-based campaign group Ndifuna Ukwazi demanded Mr Kasonkomona’s release, in an online petition addressed to Zambia’s President Michael Sata. [...]

  9. gilbert rolle

    How can Zambia be so bigoted and backward on Gay issues ? Is it to hide the fact that most of its population lives in abject poverty ? Western governments must cut international aid to countries persecuting their gay citizens.

  10. [...] South Africa-based campaign group Ndifuna Ukwazi demanded Mr Kasonkomona’s release, in an online petition addressed to Zambia’s President Michael Sata. [...]

  11. Anthony Prowling

    Please release this man from custody with immediate effect. Thank you.

  12. [...] Africa-based human rights group Ndifuna Ukwazi has demanded Kasonkomona’s release in an online petition addressed to Zambian President Michael [...]

  13. [...] South Africa-based campaign group Ndifuna Ukwazi demanded Mr Kasonkomona’s release, in an online petition addressed to Zambia’s President Michael Sata. [...]

  14. Lisa Boden

    I support this letter. Release Paul!

  15. Brian Swift

    I support this letter. To lock up somebody simple for campaigning for equality gives the impression of an incredibly backwards and intolerant country. I agree that aid should be cut off from countries pursuing such hate-filled agendas. If the Zambian government has a shred of humanity about it, it must release Paul Kasonkomona now.

  16. I support this letter and I support Paul Kasonkomona. Release him!

  17. [...] Earlier in the week, South Africa-based campaign group Ndifuna Ukwazi demanded Mr Kasonkomona’s release, in an online petition addressed to Zambia’s President Michael Sata. [...]

  18. jgb

    I support the the demand for the release of Paul Kasonkomona and condemn the persecution of LGBT people in Zambia.

  19. David Riddington

    Make it legal. Become a leader in Africa rather than another Mugabe. Zambia’s football team is falling in the FIFA world rankings, but Zambia could rise in Human Rights world rankings, given that chance. Even if you just decriminalize gay acts, but not legalise sodomy, this will help raise Zambia’s profile.

  20. Alastair Roy

    I too support the demand for the release of Paul Kasonkomona and condemn the persecution of LGBT people in Zambia.

  21. Chembe

    Even though the gay are among us Zambians they make us uncomfortable. I myself coming from a home with a father and mother, find it hard to understand why people of the same sex should share a bed and engage in intercourse. Its a very uncomfortable thought. I remember going to RSA and being served by a gay attendant. I felt quite uncomfortable and nearly asked him to act right. So yes, Paul had it coming. I hope for his sake that he learns that you can’t force something like this on a happy country like Zambia. Maybe he should consider getting adopted by a RSA boyfriend and they can dance into the RSA sunset..

  22. [...] South Africa-based campaign group Ndifuna Ukwazi demanded Mr Kasonkomona’s release, in an online petition addressed to Zambia’s President Michael Sata. [...]

  23. Nicole Downing

    I fully support the demand that Kasonkomona be released and that consensual sex between adults should be legalised in Zambia (and for that matter, in all countries around the world), regardless of gender. Human rights are for ALL humans, irrespective of sexual orientation.

  24. Alexa Rosen

    I Support this letter

    Alexa Rosen

  25. Chi

    I support this letter.

  26. I support this letter and Paul Kasonkomona. Thank you.