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Anti Homosexuality Bill Number 1 On Agenda; Likely To Be Passed

in UGANDA, 20/02/2013

The anti homosexuality Bill of 2009 that provides for death for certain same sex acts has been moved to number 1 in the Order Paper of Parliament meaning it could be debated and voted on in the coming weeks.

The Bill, which, when Parliament started sessions for 2013, was the second last in the agenda, has seen a meteoric rise in the schedule with some watchers saying its 'suspicious' how fast it has moved.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill had moved up to No. 1 on the Notice of Business to Follow after action on the day’s parliamentary agenda was completed Tuesday.

Now, LGBT activists are sounding a warning over this development with one group asking people to prepare for protests should it be debated before the House.

“Prepare your solidarity actions, please. The time is dawning on us,” stated the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, an alliance of groups opposing the bill.

The controversial Bill which enjoys 89% popularity in Parliament, is very close to being debated could possible be heard this week or early next week.

Here is how the Bill moved up Parliament's calendar so far:

  • No. 8 on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
  • No. 8 on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
  • No. 6 on Thursday, Feb. 7.
  • No. 7 on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
  • No. 4 on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
  • No. 3 on Thursday, Feb. 14.
  • No. 1 on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

It is expected recommendations made by a team of the House - that supposedly urged removal of the death penalty - would be submitted to the legislators during debate.

Once read the Bill can be assented to by President Museveni or he can send it back twice to Parliament with a refusal to assent, in which event, on the second return to Parliament, it can be passed on a two thirds majority vote.

According to Uganda watcher Warren Throckmorton: It appears that the bill will come up for a second and third reading at some point in the next two weeks. Given the opposition of the Executive branch, it may be that some maneuver will take place at the last minute to keep it from a vote.

Ugandan law already provides for sentences of up to life imprisonment for homosexual activity, writes 76 Crimes.

The bill would require people to report suspected homosexuals to police. Parents would be required to report potentially gay children to police; doctors would be required to report potentially gay patients; priests would be required to report potentially gay parishioners.

Organizations serving LGBT people, including health services fighting AIDS, would be outlawed.

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