CIVICUS condemns the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

17 November 2009. Johannesburg, South Africa. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation condemns the introduction of the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 in the Uganda Parliament on 14 October 2009. The Bill contains derogatory references to members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community as well as sexual rights activists -- whom it accuses of “seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda.”

“The Bill flagrantly violates personal freedom and the guarantee of non-discrimination enshrined under international human rights law,” said Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS. “It is deeply disturbing that such a Bill that seeks to breach the country’s existing human rights commitments has been introduced in the Ugandan Parliament.”

 

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill seeks to roll back international human rights obligations undertaken by Uganda by declaring that the provisions of any international legal instrument contradictory to the spirit of the Bill shall be null and void. Furthermore, one of the objectives of the Bill is to prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations contrary or inconsistent to its provisions.

The Bill through its wide ambit seeks to criminalise the work of civil society organisations that promote the rights of LGBT persons through cancellation of registration and punishment of the head of the organisation with seven years imprisonment. Other repugnant provisions of the Bill include punishment by death for HIV infected persons if they have sexual relations with a person of the same gender; life imprisonment for attempting to contract a marriage with a person of the same gender; extradition to Uganda of citizens or permanent residents if they have sexual relations with a person of the same gender; and enhanced punishment of life imprisonment for sexual relations between people of the same gender.

CIVICUS urges the Parliament and the Government of Uganda to respect the human rights of its people and uphold commitments to the International Bill of Rights and the Ugandan Constitution. CIVICUS also calls upon the United Nations, the African Union and the Commonwealth to condemn any move to convert the Bill into law in the strongest possible terms.

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global movement of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. The Civil Society Watch (CSW) programme of CIVICUS tracks threats to civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly across the world. In 2008, CSW tracked threats in 61 countries across the globe.

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