Stigmatized and unwelcome, Rwanda’s leading lesbian ‘warriors’ battles uphill for small achievements against a rudely homophobic country–despite one of the century’s worst bloodbaths that resulted from tribal discrimination. The government does not appear to have learned its lesson from history. Note: since this story was written Naomi Ruzindana has emigrated to Sweden where she is active in Human Rights. Contact: http://find-hope.org/ By Richard Ammon Updated March 2011 See recent 2016 report: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=71954 I met one of Rwanda’s most outspoken activists, Naomi Ruzindana, outside Rwanda’s where she was keeping a low profile since she had become a persona non-gratis in her family home and native country. Her offense: being homosexual. (photo right: central Rwanda) Rwanda is not a good place to be LGBT (gay). Just prior to my visit, another anti-gay crisis unfolded as two other lesbian activists from Rwanda were arrested on false charges on their way to a lesbian conferenceSee the Full Version Here
Rwanda is home to approximately 10.1 million people, one of the densest population in continental Africa. Most people engage in subsistence agriculture. It's a verdant country of fertile and hilly terrain. The country has received considerable international attention due to its 1994 genocide, in which over one million people were killed. In 2008, Rwanda became the first country in history to elect a national legislature in which a majority of members are women. There is no mention of homosexuality in the statutes of Rwanda since homosexuals ‘don’t exist’ and have no legal standing. But laws are loosely interpreted by those in power, and anyone can be detained for an indefinite time without specific charges and LGBT people are harassed and persecuted. Some gay activists have to live outside the country.
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Capital: Kigali - Pop. 656000
Area: 26338 sq. km. / sq. miles.
Language: Kinyarwanda, French, English, Kiswahili
Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Adventist, Muslim
Status of Homosexuality: Not mentioned in laws (high homophobia)
Telephone Country Code: 250
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Entering Rwanda overland from Uganda is fairly easy. The usual line of trucks wait for their customs clearance. The country is very rural and highly cultivated. Tea and coffee are grown everywhere. The capital of Kigali is set on several hills that allow panoramic views of the city and suburbs. The infamous ‘Hotel Rwanda’ (of cinematic fame), where hundreds of people were machine-gunned to death after the UN protectors departed, is the Hotel des Milles Collines (photos 36-40). It has been restored and is again a bustling five star hotel. Nearby, a memorial (photos 45-53) remembers the Belgian UN peacekeepers shot by marauding killer gangs at the start of the genocide. The most poignant place in Rwanda is the Genocide Memorial just outside the city center (photos 54-65). Here are mass graves of over 800.000 Hutus and Tutsis slaughtered during the dark days of April, May and June of 1994.See the Full Version Here
Kigali, the capital, is built on several hills that offer panoramic views of the city and suburbs. The parliament building is still under repair from bullet and rocket fire (photos 5 and 6) during the civil war carnage in 1994. Photos 10 to 15 show how the very few elite live in big houses on a golf course. Otherwise, life hustles on in the city for artesans and vendors selling phone service or motorcycle taxi rides. For children and peasants in the countryside life is quiet and slow. The final 13 photos show our ‘basic’ motel by the Kagera River between Uganda and Tanzania in the village of Rusumo. Across the bridge and up the hill is Tanzania; there is no town there, just a small village and a customs station.See the Full Version Here
GlobalGayz interviews a young gay Rwandan, Alan Malege, about the strong anti-gay religious and social attitudes in his country. Despite seemingly unchangeable and overwhelming circumstances he and his gay friends display remarkable resourcefulness in finding each other. Introduction Rwanda is a land locked country in east central Africa. It’s located between Uganda,Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a small country originally colonized by the Belgians then the French. During the 1990s it was the scene of massive carnage as tribal rivalries took hundreds of thousands of lives. The current government of Rwanda is not willing to listen to any views on homosexuality. Not surprisingly the Rwandan Catholic church prelate has been unsympathetic and critical of homosexuality. Alan Malege guesses about 10% of Rwanda’s population fall in the categories of gays and lesbians, but they can’t express themselves in any way. “You will find the atmosphere for gays andSee the Full Version Here