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May 27, 2010 @ %I:%M %p

UGANDA’S ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL: THE GREAT DIVIDE

Statement of the Sexual Rights Watch Committee of the World Association for Sexual Health

Human rights emphasize protecting the dignity ‚Äď including the sexual

rights ‚Äď of all people, and create conditions in which people can make

free and informed choices about their health and their lives, including intimate matters such as sex and sexuality which includes sexual orientation and gender.

On October 14 2009 Hon David Bahati presented his authored bill to the Ugandan Parliament. This bill, named Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality Bill: the Great Divide, is currently before the legal and parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament in Uganda. This Bill represents one of the most serious attacks to date on the 1995 Constitution and on the key Human Rights protections enshrined in the Ugandan constitution. If passed this Bill will generate new levels of violence against people in Uganda based solely on their gender or sexual orientation.

The WAS shares the outrage of many political, religious and civic bodies in Uganda and internationally. It calls upon the international community to bring forth their voices to stop what could become a heinous crime of modern society and a horrendous loss of many African lives. It threatens to set a protocol for other African countries , such as Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, where homosexuality is already criminalised. These countries have shown an interest in supporting this Bill.

The WAS considers this bill so heinous as to be called The Anti-Human Rights Bill.

Consider the content of this Bill against the background that two thirds of this Bill is comprised of legislation on anti-homosexuality already in Uganda’s statute books:

Besides the ‚Äúhomosexual‚ÄĚ these people‚Äôs lives are put at risk:

  • any parent who does not report LGBTI child will receive 3 years imprisonment
  • any teacher who does not report LGBTI child will receive 3 years imprisonment
  • any landlord/landlady who happens to give housing to a suspected LGBTI will receive 7 years imprisonment
  • any local council who does not denounce somebody accused of same sex attraction or activity will receive heavy fine or imprisonment
  • any Medical Doctor working for the prevention of HIV/AIDS risks his career by non disclosure
  • any civil society, NGO, academic institution risks organization being closed down
  • any human rights activist non disclosing will be punished accordingly
  • any religious leader who seeks to provide guidance or counseling to LGBTI person will be punished accordingly

Any person alleged to be a homosexual is at risk of LIFE IMPRIS-

ONMENT and, in some circumstances, the DEATH PENALTY.

The Bill calls for Uganda to nullify any international treaties, proto-

cols, declarations and conventions which are believed to be ‚Äėcon-

tradictory to the spirit and provisions’ of the bill. In reality, this

would involve Uganda withdrawing from:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its

protocols;

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural

Rights;

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination

Against Women;

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, and

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

In sum, the Bahati Bill is profoundly unconstitutional.

The WAS calls upon the international community to speak vociferously against this Bill which will make Uganda a pariah. More importantly it threatens to create an underground movement of LGBTI people, organsiations, institutions, which in turn increases the incidence of HIV/AIDS, gender based violence and high risk sexual behaviour.

The WAS rejects this Bill in its entirety and invites the nations of the world to do the same.

Marlene Wasserman

Clinical Sexologist. Africa’s Coordinator of the Sexual Rights Watch Committee of the World Association for Sexual Health

Filed under SEXUAL RIGHTS, Version in English

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