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Ugandan activists’ advice on threats to cut aid

Logo of Uganda's Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law

Logo of Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law

Uganda’s coalition of LGBTI activists today urged their international supporters to speak out against the repressive Anti-Homosexuality Bill that was recently passed by the Ugandan parliament, but to take care with any threats to withhold foreign aid.

Any discussion with Ugandan officials about possible aid cuts in response to the bill should be “behind closed diplomatic doors and out of the  glare of the media and the public,” the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law said.

The coalition opposes aid cuts “because of the backlash that might occur on the LGBTI community and the suffering  innocent Ugandans will have to endure as a result.”  But the group acknowledged that it “cannot influence the foreign policies of donor countries whose citizens demand that taxpayers’ money not be sent to countries that do not respect human rights in general.”

Entranceway to Uganda's parliament building. (Photo courtesy of The New Civil Rights Movement)

Entranceway to Uganda’s parliament building. (Photo courtesy of The New Civil Rights Movement)

The Ugandan parliament on Dec. 20 passed the bill and sent it President Yoweri Museveni for his signature, which he might not provide.

The bill would provide a life sentence for repeat offenders and would make “promotion” of homosexuality a crime.

This is the text of the CSCHRCL’s advice to international supporters:

The Passing of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill   2013
International community response guidelines

Dear Partners, Friends and Allies,

The Ugandan parliament passed the long-contested Anti-Homosexuality Bill after five long years of civil society efforts to  obstruct its passing on human rights and constitutional grounds. The whole turn   of events took everyone by surprise despite past vigilance with monitoring its progress in parliament.

Faced with this sudden turn of events, we are aware that there are many   suggestions and plans as to what to do and in what way to respond on the part of   our international partners and allies. The following are therefore substantive  guideline points for international response on the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
1. Aid cut as a possible punitive measure should be discussed with the   government of Uganda behind closed diplomatic doors and out of the  glare of the media and the public.
2. Our own stand on aid cut is that we do not support it because of the backlash that might occur on the LGBTI community and the suffering   innocent Ugandans will have to endure as a result of the same but we also   cannot influence the foreign policies of donor countries whose citizens  demand that taxpayers’ money not be sent to countries that do not respect human rights in general.
3. All our partners, local and international are free to issue statements. However please do cross check with us (CSCHRCL) that your facts are correct if you are not sure of them.
4. The CSCHRCL has not yet gotten a hold of the full text of the passed bill since   parliament has gone into recess. However we shall follow this response guideline with   our own copy which we have put together incorporating the original bill and the   recommendations of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament as   well as records from parliament on yesterday’s proceedings that led to the passing of the   bill on the floor of parliament. This we shall use as a working document as we wait for the full text of the newly passed bill.
—  Geoffrey Ogwaro and Clare Byarugaba, Co-coordinators.

(Correction: This article was changed Dec. 24 to eliminate a description of the bill as including a provision for imprisonment of people who did not report suspected homosexuals to police. Although an official version of the bill has not been released, that provision reportedly has been removed.)

5 thoughts on “Ugandan activists’ advice on threats to cut aid

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