Gay rights activists arrested in Uganda

This video says about itself:

9 August 2015

Ugandan activists have taken part in a gay pride rally, a year since a law requiring homosexuals to be jailed for life was overturned.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Uganda: Gay rights leader held by police in Pride attack

Saturday 6th August 2016

UGANDAN police broke up a gay pride event in the capital Kampala and arrested about 20 people yesterday, including gay rights leader Frank Mugisha.

He said a fashion show had been under way at a nightclub when police arrived and asked who the organisers were, handcuffing Mr Mugisha when he identified himself to a police commander.

About 20 others were arrested, driven to a police station for questioning and released later, with some alleging that they had been slapped or pushed around by officers.

One man trying to escape arrest at the nightclub injured himself while jumping to safety, said Mr Mugisha, adding: “We condemn the police actions, the use of excessive force during arrest.”

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango confirmed the arrests but gave no details.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda under a British colonial-era law that prohibits sex acts “against the order of nature.”

Bird conservation in Uganda

This video says about itself:

19 November 2014

Potential effects of land reclamation and pollution on the total value of Lutembe Bay wetland – Uganda

From BirdLife:

Conservation Strides: Lutembe bay forms Ramsar Site Committee

By Vincent Barugahare, Iyango Lucy and Chris Magero, 13 June 2016

Lutembe bay is located in Sissa and Katabi sub-counties, Wakiso district, Uganda and is among the critical wetland systems in the Lake Victoria basin. It was designated as a Ramsar site in 2006 based on its importance as a habitat for migratory birds and seven globally threatened bird species including Papyrus Yellow Warbler Chloropeta gracilirostris, Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri, Shoebill Balaeniceps rex, African Skimmer Rhynchops flavirostris, Pallid Harrier Circus macrouros, Great Snipe Gallinago media and Madagascar Squacco Heron Ardeola idea. It is also a rich breeding ground for fish and source of water for the surrounding communities.

Among the key requirements of the Ramsar Convention is that every designated site must have a committee to monitor and guide the interventions undertaken within the site.  However in the last 10 years following its designation, Lutembe has been lacking an active site committee which has to some extent exposed it to continued degradation.

The Ramsar office for Eastern Africa (RAMCEA) through MacArthur funding has taken a step towards promoting the sustainable management of the wetland by constituting and training a Ramsar site committee for Lutembe wetlands, Uganda. The members of the committee include community representatives from Bweya, Namulanda, Kisubi and Mutungo villages and stakeholders from the private sector, fishermen and the beach management units. For the first time, the committee consists of a private sector representative, Rosebud Flowers, who are also utilizing a significant portion of the site for flower production. The next step involve defining the roles and responsibility of each of the stakeholders and setting clear actions that will ensure sustainability of the wetland.

There is now renewed energy amongst the stakeholders to ensure the wise use of Lutembe, through sustainable management which will maximize the benefits from the ecosystem to its people.

Traditional wisdom and conservation science in Lake Victoria: here.

Good grey crowned crane news from Uganda

This short video captured the courtship display of grey crowned cranes in Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda) in August 2012.

From the International Crane Foundation:

Uganda Finalizes Grey Crowned Crane Species Action Plan

October 2, 2015

Editor’s Note: We received an email from Jimmy Muheebwa, Uganda Crane and Wetland Conservation Program Manager, about a recent milestone in his country for the protection of the Endangered Grey Crowned Crane. By working together, the government and conservationists in Uganda are committing to reducing threats to the species, with the ultimate goal of preserving Grey Crowned Cranes for generations to come. Following is Jimmy’s report, which – we think you will agree – gives us all hope for the future!

Ugandan coat of arms

This picture shows the coat of arms of Uganda, with a grey crowned crane on the right.

A national symbol, the Grey Crowned Crane represents the independence of modern Uganda, and continues to play an important role in traditional Ugandan culture and folklore. These iconic cranes are also indicators of environmental health, choosing less disturbed wetland habitats for breeding, and contribute to valuable birding tourism in Uganda.

More than three-quarters of the world’s Grey Crowned Cranes live in Uganda and Kenya in East Africa, but despite the cultural, ecological, and economic importance of this species, its population has plummeted over the last 3 to 4 decades from over 60,000 to an estimated 13,000. As a result, Grey Crowned Cranes are now categorized as Endangered, meaning that the species is likely to become extinct if no serious mitigation measures are taken.

Uganda is one of the few African countries to initiate a Species Action Plan to save our remaining Grey Crowned Cranes and reverse the declining population trend. The process began in 2009 with funding from the Whitley Fund for Nature through the International Crane Foundation/ Endangered Wildlife Trust partnership. Delegates from Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa met in Entebbe, Uganda to design a process to address threats to Grey Crowned Cranes. My appointment in February 2015 by the government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, as the Uganda Crane and Wetland Conservation Program Manager launched the conservation effort in Uganda. The Species Action Planning process for Uganda both followed and incorporated the actions outlined in the draft International Grey Crowned Crane Single Species Action Plan developed under the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA):

First, we categorized information about biology, taxonomy, threats and their causes, and information gaps and actions to address them into the following threats:

• Threats directly causing reduced adult and juvenile survival;

• Threats causing a high degree of habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation;

• Threats causing reduced breeding success and reproductive rates.

Second, we designed four strategic actions for the Uganda Species Action Plan:

• Implement activities that enhance active conservation of cranes and their habitats by reducing adult and juvenile mortality of Grey Crowned Cranes;

• Enhance conservation of Grey Crowned Cranes through reduced loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitats;

• Fill knowledge gaps about the ecology of the Grey Crowned Cranes;

• Support the conservation of Grey Crowned Cranes through implementation of alternative livelihoods.

Third, we identified priority actions for immediate action against:

• Wetland degradation;

• Crane capture/hunting/trapping for home use, sale and or traditional use;

Collision with power lines and communication lines;

• Unnecessary human disturbance and proximity to breeding sites.

The planning team advanced a strong need to have a National Crane/Species Working Group to coordinate and catalyze the plan’s implementation and monitor its implementation and effectiveness. A full-time coordinator, based in a research institution or conservation organization, would take charge of the day-to-day operations of the Species Working Group and act in close cooperation with the government and the AEWA office. The Species Action Plan was submitted in July 2015 to the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage for approval, and we are awaiting their decision.

Uganda Women Birders

This video is about a shoebill, and other birds in Uganda.

From Herbert Byaruhanga in Uganda today:

Join me to support women birding this Saturday 13th, at Forest Resort Beach-Kasenge. Kasenge is one of the nearest forest reserves rich in a variety of different species of birds.

Special [birds] include African Finfoot, Tit Hylia, Giant Kingfisher, Scaly Francolin, Grey Woodpecker, Grey Parrot, Ross’s Turaco, Great Blue Turaco, and many others. Transport will be provided at 10,000 per person.

Starting at Uganda House (Total) at 6:30am. Come with a snack, or you can purchase from the restaurant.

Uganda Women Birders is a young group of dedicated women in birding and bird habitat conservation. Confirm your participation by registering your name with the chairperson 0784060168, 0706504574.

Muslim girl expelled from French high school for maxiskirt

This video from Uganda says about itself:

14 April 2014

Kilifi county assembly speaker Jimmy Kahindi has dismissed a motion set to be tabled at the county assembly that seeks to ban the wearing of miniskirts in the county. The motion has elicited mixed reactions among religious leaders and the general public. The mover of the motion, Marafa ward representative Renson Kambi has come out to defend his bill which seeks to ban the wearing of miniskirts among women and sagging of trousers, by men.

After the banning miniskirts in Hungary and elsewhere … it might look like a safe option to wear a maxiskirt? Forget it. Long or short, repressive authorities will always find stupid ways to punish women for their clothes.

By Anthony Torres in France:

Muslim girl expelled from French high school for wearing long skirt

4 May 2015

A high school girl from northeastern France was expelled for wearing a skirt that school authorities considered too long and an ostentatious sign of her religious beliefs. The affair points to the anti-Muslim atmosphere that now predominates in official circles in France.

The teenager was expelled from her high school for nine days by the principal. The ministry of education defended the decision: “In this case, it was considered that the student was carrying out religious propaganda. It is not an expulsion that was put in place, but a dialogue that has been opened up with her family. And it is noteworthy that her mother made a statement to ask for the situation to be handled calmly.”

The absurd and reactionary treatment meted out to the student reflects the sharp rightward evolution of the French political establishment over the last decade. The school expelled the student based on the 2004 law outlawing all “ostentatious” religious symbols, even though the young woman was not wearing any visible religious sign.

The high school student’s case is not isolated. Last year, 130 similar cases took place and 20 this year, according to the Collective against Islamophobia in France. The number of anti-Muslim actions has sharply risen this year, moreover, since the Kouachi brothers’ terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

The goal of such Islamophobic laws is to divide the working class, attack democratic rights, encourage racist and anti-immigrant sentiment, and to push through unpopular policies of austerity and war in France and across Europe. The young high school student is the victim of a sharp turn to the right that has developed over decades in Europe.

The 2004 law was voted amid rising social anger with the anti-working class policies of French President Jacques Chirac. It was part of a strategy to divert working class opposition to the social crisis and a governmental agenda of cutting pensions, attacking social services, and intensifying police repression. The law was initially put forward as teachers were on strike to defend their pensions and public education spending more broadly.

This attack against Muslims in France encouraged a series of Islamophobic attacks across Europe. Several years ago, a law was voted in Switzerland to ban the construction of minarets. Over the last year in Germany, marches were organized over several weeks by the far-right Pegida movement to oppose Islam in Europe.

For years, the ruling elite in France has encouraged collective hysteria against Islam in order to attack the working class.

In 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy launched a debate on “national identity” and a law against wearing the burqa. This law was part of Sarkozy’s strategy of appealing to neo-fascist voters who had voted for Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential elections.

The law against the burqa and the “national identity” debate provided political cover for the French ruling elite to legitimize the neo-fascist National Front over the ensuing years, as well as an escalating series of imperialist wars against Muslim countries. The anti-burqa law in particular encouraged hostility to resistance to NATO’s imperialist occupation of Afghanistan, which was cynically presented as a struggle to defend women’s rights.

The entire political establishment bears responsibility for Islamophobic laws in France. The law against the burqa obtained the support of Manuel Valls, the current Socialist Party (PS) prime minister …

By supporting laws targeting Muslims, these parties of the affluent middle class demonstrate their hostility to democratic rights and to the struggle to unify the working class.

The 2004 law against the veil has encouraged employers to victimize Muslim workers, such as when a Muslim worker was fired for wearing a veil at the Baby-Loup day care center.

As for the 2009 anti-burqa law, it has escalated social tensions and police repression in immigrant suburbs across France. A riot broke out in Trappes in 2013, after police violently arrested a woman wearing the veil and then beat and insulted her husband.

It is in this atrocious political atmosphere that a high school student can be expelled for no other reason than claims that her skirt is too long.