More than a million people have registered their opposition to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which the speaker of the Ugandan parliament has promised will be passed before Christmas.
Here is a listing of some of the many appeals to Ugandan government officials to block passage of the bill, which earned the nickname “Kill the Gays Bill” because it provided the death penalty for repeat offenders. That provision may or may not have been removed from the bill, which is awaiting action by the Ugandan parliament.
In a meeting last weekend with Ugandan leaders, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson expressed “strong opposition” to the bill to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, as well as “to the parliament and to key decision makers in Uganda,” according to a State Department spokeswoman.
- The Ugandan activist group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) called the bill “draconian” and highlighted these provisions:
- “Any person alleged to be homosexual would be at risk of life imprisonment or in some circumstances the death penalty”
- “Any parent who does not denounce their lesbian daughter or gay son to the authorities would face fines of $2,650 or three years in prison”
- “Any teacher who does not report a lesbian or gay pupil to the authorities within 24 hours would face the same penalties”
- “And any landlord or landlady who happens to give housing to a suspected homosexual would risk 7 years of imprisonment”
- Online activist group Avaaz.org has collected more than 966,000 signature on its online petition urging Ugandan official to “withdraw once and for all the Anti-Homosexual Bill, and to protect the universal human rights embodied in the Ugandan constitution.”
- Online activist group Allout.org has more than 211,000 signatures on its online petition urging Museveni to veto the bill if it is passed.
- Online activist group GetEQUAL is promoting an online petition to Christian leaders in the United States and Uganda, urging them to denounce and block the bill.
GetEQUAL is also asking opponents of the bill to take a photo of their hand with the words “Uganda: Arrest Me Too” written on it, post the photo on social networks with a link to the petition, and email a copy of the photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Ugandan activist coalition opposing the bill, has more than 300 supporters for its online petition against the bill.
- Amnesty International UK says more than 10,000 people have accepted its invitation to send emails opposing the bill to Museveni and other Ugandan officials.
- In the past, Britain, Sweden, and the European Union have threatened to cut off foreign aid if the bill passes, but they have not repeated that statement this year, after Ugandan activists warned that the threat has been counter-productive.
- An association of LGBT Ugandans in France scheduled a protest for today at Human Rights Square in Paris.
- Another protest is planned for noon tomorrow at the Ugandan mission in New York City, 336 East 45th Street.
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV denounced the bill, noting that anti-gay laws hinder the fight against AIDS. “In such an environment, it becomes impossible for gay men to access HIV prevention and treatment services without risking incarceration. The passage of this law would be a tragedy for both human rights and public health,” said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Director of the MSMGF.
- The Association for Women’s Rights in Development expressed its opposition to the bill, calling it “a grave assault on the human rights of all Ugandans.”
- Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), a network of feminist scholars, researchers and activists from the global south, called for defeat of the bill, saying that it would violate the Ugandan constitution and human rights treaties that Uganda has signed. The statement added that the bill “is also already redirecting national attention from issues of political and public service corruption, electoral reform and freedom of the press, as well as health, human trafficking, food security, land alienation, ecological and climate change.”
The International HIV/AIDS Alliance warned that passing the bill would have a disastrous impact on the country’s fight against AIDS.
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission called the bill a “vicious attack on human rights of sexual minorities in Uganda.”
- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: “We all must speak out against this bill – which flies in the face of all decent human decency by punishing and murdering people simply for who they are,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.
In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign said that “influential American faith leaders, including Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and voices from the Trinity Broadcasting Network, have a moral obligation to urge their Ugandan friends and allies to condemn the bill. Many
of these American faith leaders have shown a commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Uganda and know passage of this bill would curtail these efforts. Public statements and private conversations by these American faith leaders, if they are done immediately, could save the lives of thousands of Ugandans.”
- The Gay & Lesbian Coalition of Kenya said, “The Bill does little more than to entrench stigma and prejudice, which will polarize Ugandan society further and undermine public health efforts to combat the spread of HIV.”
- The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights said passage of the bill would make Uganda “one of the most discriminatory legal regimes in the world for sexual minorities.” Proper parliamentary procedure has not been followed in considering the bill, the group said.
- Want more ways to get involved? The makers of the film “Call Me Kuchu” have compiled a list of “solid actions you can take to support LGBT rights in Uganda and around the world.”
- How outrageous is Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ bill? (76crimes.com)
- How NOT to fight Uganda anti-gay bill (76crimes.com)
- Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill on way to Parliament from Committee (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- What Uganda president said: I’ll block ‘Kill the Gays’ bill (76crimes.com)