A coalition of Ugandan human rights groups is trying to defeat the latest version of the country’s so-called “Kill the Gays” bill while also defusing anti-homosexuality groups’ claim that foreigners are behind the battle for gay rights in Uganda.
That point was clear in a joint statement distributed by Ugandan LGBT activist Pepe Julian Onziema, among many others.
To achieve their dual goals, the coalition is asking international supporters to avoid:
- Issuing public press statement about the anti-homosexuality bill, which called for the death penalty for repeat offenders, at least in its first proposed version.
- Threatening to cut aid or supporting threats to cut aid if the bill is passed. That could “lead to scapegoating of the LGBTI community as well as Human Rights Defenders working with LGBTI rights and whip up sentiments for the Bill,” the coalition said.
Only if the Bill is mentioned/programmed in the Business of Parliament or passed into law shall we encourage a fully fledged international outcry which can come in all forms such as; public statements (written or spoken), public letters, solidarity campaigns, peaceful protests, interviews, opinion pieces et cetera.
Anti-homosexuality forces in Uganda have been inspired and supported financially by their Western allies, but they criticize gay-rights advocates in Uganda if they do the same.
The coalition urged international supporters to take the following actions:
Without involving the media, “urgently engage with the leadership of the nation … to impress upon them the needlessness and imminent harm of this bill. This must however been done diplomatically and off the media.” People suggested as appropriate recipients of phone calls and letters include “the President [Yoweri Museveni], the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition, The Speaker [Rebecca Kagada], the Minister for Gender Labor and Social Development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Ethics and Integrity [Simon Lokodo], the Minister of Health [Richard Nduhura], the Minister of Justice and any other Cabinet Ministers …, the Inspector General of Police and the Principal Judge.” [Contact information for many of those officials can be found via links to government websites from the Uganda Online site.]
- Communicate with non-LGBTI partner organizations in Uganda “to establish what their thinking is on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, as well as their thinking on other related legislative moves such as the proposal to amend the Penal Code in line with the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. We would strongly encourage other mainstream Ugandan organizations such as human rights NGOs and entities like the Uganda Law Society to speak out strongly against … this draconian bill.
- “Draw international public attention to issues affecting the general interest of Uganda’s population as a whole such as:
- Corruption (including recent corruption cases in the Ministry of Public Service and the Office of the Prime Minister),
- Human trafficking,
- Nodding disease.
- Suppression of media freedom and civil organizations.
The coalition also suggested preparing statements and campaigns, as needed, if the bill is formally considered in parliament; contributing to human-rights and LGBTI groups in Uganda that will face a crackdown if the anti-homosexuality bill passes; and push for LGBTI issues and people to be included services and programs for all Ugandans.
See the coalition’s full statement here.
- Harsh new anti-gay moves in Nigeria, Uganda (76crimes.com)
- Ugandan LGBT Coalition urges extreme caution when foreigners advocate against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Anti-gay bill could be passed before Christmas in Uganda (africanpress.me)