Ugandan human rights activists have accomplished something that no patronizing outside sympathizers could have done:
They have painted a bright, attractive picture of Uganda and used that as an argument against the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB).
Essentially, their message is: Let’s reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill so our country can be as good as it can be.
In an advertisement for the Ugandan newspaper New Vision on Dec. 10, the activists listed eight attractive descriptions of their country, pairing each of them with an argument for rejecting the bill.
Here are the eight descriptions and excerpts from the eight associated arguments from the ad, which was created by Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law:
Uganda is …
- A country grounded in a strong constitution and thriving on the rule of law. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is not constitutional. It violates the Constitution and subjects the country to the beliefs of a few, rather than the laws of a nation.
- A country where leaders protect, listen and represent each and every citizen’s issues without stigmatization and prejudice. As leaders, the public follows your counsel, they listen to you, it is important that you send out a strong message of reconciliation and protection of any minority group, however unpopular it is.
- A country that recognizes the equality of all human beings and outlaws discrimination. This bill openly provides for targeted discrimination of individuals. We need to draw the line – today it is one group, tomorrow it will be another group/ ethnicity/religion/ sex. Equal protection under the law for everybody is what will take us to greater heights as Uganda!
- A peaceful and hospitable country with a positive and non-violent culture. Persecution of this kind has no place in any community guided by the values of loving one’s neighbor.
- A country that prioritizes the future of our children and development of our nation. The AHB diverts attention from the critical development priorities of the country.
- A country that acts based on reason and evidence. There is no evidence to support the premise of the Bill, i.e. the existence of promotion and recruitment into homosexuality in Uganda.
- A country that protects its citizens, not harms them. The AHB will cause damage to its citizens in innumerable unjust ways including unlawful prosecution and institutional discrimination, leading to family rejection, bullying, and high suicide rates. Is this the Uganda we want for our children and relatives?
- A country that is working hard to curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS . Standard public health practice to curtail HIV/AIDS has long recognized that stigmatizing people and treating them as criminals frightens them away from coming forward for treatment and information that can ensure that they engage
in safe sex practices.
In conclusion, the ad states:
We urge all Ugandans to strongly oppose this bill and to let your Members of Parliament who are attempting to bring this legislation into law know that you do not support their actions.
Human rights are human rights, however unpopular a group is, and we call upon all the concerned citizens to stand up for these rights.
We urge all persons concerned with protecting our children from sexual abuse by predatory adults to insist on amendments to the Children’s Act so that it can protect all Uganda’s future generations.
Vote NO for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and YES to Human Rights for all!
- Over a million speak out against Uganda’s anti-gay bill (76crimes.com)
- Anti-gay bill distracts Uganda from solving its problems (76crimes.com)
- Plea to U.N. for health warning about Uganda anti-gay bill (76crimes.com)