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Pan Africa ILGA Condemns Passing of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

in UGANDA, 23/11/2012

Pan Africa ILGA, as a federation of 62 regional LGBTI organisations, is joining human rights groups from around the world in condemning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This Bill is a key obstacle to the development of a human rights culture and movement in Uganda. Furthermore, it is a direct threat to the ideals of democracy, the country’s Constitution and its enshrined principles of human dignity, equality, freedom and justice for all.

On Monday 12th November 2012, the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Rebecca Kadaga told the Associated Press that the Bill, which originally mandated death for some gay sexual acts, will become law before the end of Christmas. Ugandans “are demanding it,” she said.

“Some Christian clerics at the meeting in Kampala, Uganda asked the speaker to pass the law as ‘a Christmas gift’.” “Speaker, we cannot sit back while such (a) destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation, said activists in a petition. We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament ... so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.”

The proposed Bill contains harsh provisions that would threaten the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This would also threaten the ability for some human rights organisations to continue operating.

The Bill would also affect health-care professionals, teachers, spiritual leaders and many others in similar positions. Even NGOs working to prevent the spread of HIV can be imprisoned for activities deemed “promoting homosexuality”, which effectively means any support or work with LGBT people.

The proposed legislation could come up for debate in the next few days after it was included as the third item on Thursday 22nd November 2012 order paper for parliamentary business.

Expectations are that the Ministers of Parliament can easily pass the bill, leaving it up to President Museveni to include this in the statue book. The current session of Uganda's parliament ends in mid-December.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was first introduced in October 2009 as a private member’s bill by David Bahati, a Ugandan Minister of Parliament.

David Bahati charged at the time that wealthy homosexuals from the West were “recruiting” poor children into gay lifestyles with promises of money and a better life. After a massive global outcry in 2011, Ugandan President Museveni blocked the bill's progress in the country's parliament.

The Bill calls for Uganda to nullify international treaties and protocols which are believed to be ‘contradictory to the spirit and provisions’ of the bill. This would involve Uganda withdrawing from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights amongst others.

Amongst other measures and efforts, All Out has launched a campaign, ‘Stop Uganda’s Kill The Gays Bill’, and has over 134 600 signatories while Avaaz.Org has reached 96 800 signatories for their petition, ‘Hours to stop Uganda's gay death penalty’.

Pan Africa ILGA, as a federation of 62 regional LGBTI organisations, is joining human rights groups from around the world in condemning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This Bill is a key obstacle to the development of a human rights culture and movement in Uganda. Furthermore, it is a direct threat to the ideals of democracy, the country’s Constitution and its enshrined principles of human dignity, equality, freedom and justice for all.
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For more information, please contact:
Apinda Mpako, Regional Coordinator: apindampako@ilga.org
Linda RM Baumann, Pan Africa ILGA Co-Chair: lbauman82@gmail.com
Jide Macaulay, Pan Africa ILGA Co-Chair: jide@houseofrainbow.org

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