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UGANDAN GAY ACTIVISTS TO LOBBY KAMPALA INTER PARLIMENTARY UNION MEETING

in UGANDA, 05/03/2012

Ugandan gay rights activists want delegates to the 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union summit in Kampala, set for March 31 to April 5, 2012 to condemn the recently re-introduced Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009.

The activists have started consultations on how to lobby member countries of the Union to prevail of Uganda government to drop the infamous bill which seeks the death penalty for homosexuals.

Amongst those expected to attend the meeting is US Congresswoman Barbara Lee the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on HIV/Aids and a vice-chair of the congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

The LGBT Equality Caucus’ mission is to work for LGBT rights, the repeal of laws discriminatory against LGBT persons, the elimination of hate-motivated violence and improved health and well-being for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The caucus serves as a resource for Members of Congress, their staffs, and the public on LGBT issues. The LGBT Equality Caucus admits any member who is willing to advance LGBT rights, regardless of their sexual identity or orientation.

Another expected guest to the IPU meeting will be Jan Logie, a newly elected New Zealand Green [Party] MP who happens to be a lesbian.

While Logie realises there is probably very little a visiting NZ MP can do to usefully support local SOGI activists a statement from activists in New Zealand says if there’s any way she can be helpful, Ugandan activists can contact her directly on jan.logie@parliament.govt.nz

In the short time Logie ahs been in parliament she’s questioned the New Zealand Minister of Corrections about safety for trans people in prison; opposed local government attempts to undermine NZ’s decriminalised prostitution; and spoken out against right-wing welfare reforms.

The Ugandan government has distanced its self from the anti-gay bill, saying it is a private legislator’s bill. However, a cabinet minister recently aided and closed down a meeting of gay rights activists in Entebbe, citing immorality.

The attack was seen as among a string of persecutions faced by people for their actual or alleged sexual orientation in Uganda.

An activist for gay rights to health lobby group UhspaUganda said the big meeting coming to Kampala should refocus global attention to the intended unwanted legislation that would not only institutionalize gay discrimination, but also stifle civil society engagement.

The activists want member countries who recommended protection of gay rights to Uganda at the Peer review session at the United Nations Human Rights Council last year to prevail over the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament and the President to drop the infamous kill-the gays-bill.

The IPU is an international organization of national parliaments and was established in 1889. It fosters contacts, co-ordination and the exchange of experience among parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries.

It considers questions of international interest and concern and expresses its views on such issues in order to bring about action by parliaments and parliamentarians.

According to the official site of the 126th summit due in Kampala, IPU also contributes to the defence and promotion of human rights – an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development.

Many members of the IPU are also members of the Commonwealth, a consortium of former British colonies which has some member countries including Uganda with draconian legislation on same sex relationships.

Kamalesh Sharma, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth recently told the UN Human Rights Council, “Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is an area of concern on which we have given the perspective of Commonwealth values in various fora, including in this Council.

“Our position continues to be that we oppose discrimination or stigmatisation on any grounds, including those of sexual orientation. It is for member states to address incompatibilities between Commonwealth values and mostly inherited national laws in these areas.”

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