Kill the Gays Bill–One Year Later

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KAMPALA – UGANDA

One Year since the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill – 2009

On October 14, 2009 the draft Anti Homosexuality Bill was introduced to the Parliament of Uganda by Ndoorwa West MP David Bahati. Mr Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill stipulates the death penalty for repeated same-sex relations and life imprisonment for all other homosexual acts. A person in authority who fails to report an offender to the police within 24 hours will face 3 years in jail. Likewise, the promotion of homosexuality carries a sentence of 5 to 7 years in jail.

This Bill is an expression of prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and violence. The bill abuses the dignity, privacy and equality of people with a different sexual orientation and identity other than heterosexual. If passed into law, it will further legitimize public and private violence, harassment and torture.

It has promoted hate- speech in churches, schools and the media. It has led to defamation, blackmail, evictions, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention, physical assault, emotional and mental assault of LGBT activists, our families and allies.

The bill has further led to increased violence incited by local media, particularly The Red Pepper tabloid and recently launched Rolling Stone newspaper. The headline of the Rolling Stone viciously screamed “100 pictures of Ugandan’s top homos leak- Hang them” in their Vol. 1 No. 05 October 02-09, 2010. They published pictures, names, residences and other details of LGBT activists and allies.

“When my neighbors saw my picture in the paper, they were furious. They threw stones at me while I was in my house. I was so terrified somehow I managed to flee my home to safety.” said Stosh [Programme Coordinator- Kulhas Uganda]

“The sad truth is that most evil in Uganda is done by people who end up never being held accountable for their deeds. The Rolling Stone publication has incited violence against a group of minorities making them seem like less of HUMAN BEINGS” Gerald [Admin – SMUG].

The bill constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of privacy, association, assembly and security of the person as enshrined in Constitution of Uganda’s and International Human Rights Law.

The impact of such legal and social exclusion is being felt in the lives of LGBTI Ugandans. Sexual Minorities Uganda strongly condemns such laws and media witch-hunt of homosexuals.

We would like to acknowledge Human Rights institutions and activists, local, regional and international Civil Society, Development partners and friends around the world for the enormous support to the Uganda LGBTI community and request for your continued call to African governments to repeal the ‘sodomy laws’.

Contacts:

Frank Mugisha Pepe Julian Onziema

fmugisha@sexualminoritiesuganda.org jpepe@sexualminoritiesuganda.org


Frank Mugisha
Chairperson
Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG

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This post has 2 Comments

  1. Charles Simpson on October 28, 2010 at 11:16 am Reply

    Do you know whether the Quakers in Uganda (Uganda Yearly Meeting) are supporting or opposing the anti-gay legislation? Are they contributing to the current anti-gay hysteria or speaking against it?

    I am a member of a Friends meeting in Massachusetts – we are an unprogrammed meeting but maintain relationships with both FGC and FUM. I am sure my meeting would be very disturbed by any Quaker support for homophobia in Uganda and would want to dialogue with Ugandan Friends about the issue. Conversely, of course, if Ugandan Friends are speaking for justice & tolerance we would want to offer support for what might be a very difficult stance in the current climate. Any information you could give me about this issue would be much appreciated.

    (I am especially concerned because a) I keep reading that many churches support the anti-gay legislation and never read that any are opposing it, and b) several years ago the clerk of Uganda Yearly Meeting delivered a very homophobic talk at a Quaker gathering.)

    My meeting is very involved with and supportive of gay rights issues and I am certain that it would want to be involved in whatever way it could to help out gay men and lesbians in Uganda.

    Thanks!

    • p2son on October 29, 2010 at 8:34 am Reply

      Good question, Charles, I do not know the answer. I do know that the demand for justice gets complicated in parts of Africa. I remember when I was at the Lambeth Conference in 2008 and spoke with a bishop from the Nigerian Anglican Church and we talked about the church laying low in regards to LGBT rights. He said that simply by having American or British churches welcoming gays into the ministry put their own churches in Nigeria at risk with mobs coming to burn them down and threats of violence. The costs are high in some places for coming out in favor of gay rights. Even in the US I know Evangelical ministers who are privately pro-gay but stay silent because they know they will lose their positions if they reveal their true feelings. I’m not saying that this is the right thing to do, but I do acknowledge that standing up for justice can come at a great cost. For our Friends in Uganda, it may be a cost that it would be unfair to exact without solid support from us.

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