Orange has become the first multinational company in Uganda to offer legal and security assistance to lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) employees, according to global campaigning org, AllOut. Will Heineken, Coca-Cola and KLM follow suit?
Paris, FRANCE – March 12 2014 – Orange just became the first multinational company with operations in Uganda to pledge to defend its employees in response to the nation’s new anti-gay law. On Tuesday March 11th, Orange confirmed in a statement sent to All Out – and in response to the mobilization of 85,000 All Out members (www.allout.org/uganda-corps) – that they would provide legal and security assistance to any employee including its lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees in Uganda in a situation of crisis.
All Out is now calling on other multinationals operating in Uganda such as Heineken, KLM and Coca-Cola to follow suit by committing to protect its employees against the new anti-gay law and speak out about the risks to Uganda’s economy from these attacks on human rights.
“Orange is convinced that diversity is a force for social performance and economic performance, said Orange spokesperson Jean-Bernard Orsoni. “Orange does not ask its employees about their sexual orientation because it is confidential information that isn’t part of any step of an employee’s life in the company, or in recruitment, promotion or any other decision concerning an employee. Orange does not collect this information, so it would not be possible to produce it and hand over to anyone. The Group also provides any assistance (legal, and security wise) to its employees worldwide in situation of crisis”.
This week, following the same call from All Out members, Orange also pulled their paid advertisements from the Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper which recently listed the names, photos and locations of LGBT people in Uganda — an action reminiscent of the 2009 outing of Ugandan activist David Kato in another Ugandan tabloid, who was murdered two days later.
“Orange are doing exactly the right thing by refusing to continue business as usual, and taking steps to protect their employees affected by the Anti-Homosexuality Act.” said Andre Banks, Executive Director and co-founder of All Out, an international organization building the global movement for gay rights. “Whether it’s Russia, Nigeria, or Uganda, global corporations should urgently follow their lead.”
“Other global corporations should be announcing they’re afraid to do business in a country where their employees might be jailed for being gay. Religious leaders in Uganda and around the world must speak up now. Countries with diplomatic ties to Uganda should be acting with the urgency of a life and death human rights crisis. Now is the time for action.”
Orange LGBT employee association, Mobilisnoo, joined All Out members in calling on Orange’s leadership to act quickly.
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