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November 25, 2012

Uganda's Parliament Tries To Outlaw Being Gay --- Again

Map: Republic of Uganda
Whether Uganda employs genocide or imprisonment to “outlaw” being gay, both would be a crime against humanity and a total deprivation of basic civil and human rights.


Kampala, Uganda -- In early March of 2009 Ugandan members of Parliament were invited to an anti-gay breakfast seminar entitled “Exposing the truth about homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.” The meeting was held in the Parliament conference hall, and 3 American evangelicals who billed themselves as “religious leaders” were leading the anti-gay seminar. 

In April 2009 a bill was drafted in the federal legislature of Uganda, to outlaw the existence of any LGBT citizens. David Bahati, a member of Parliament (MP), introduced legislation that criminalized Uganda’s LGBT citizens, and the law contained a provision that prescribed mandatory prison sentences for any Ugandan found guilty of being LGBT. If someone was found guilty multiple times, under the "kill the gays" law the individual could be executed by the government of Uganda.

After a worldwide outcry, and intense diplomatic pressure from western nations, the “kill the gays” bill was quietly withdrawn.

Another “kill the gays” bill has been introduced in the Ugandan Parliament, and while MP Medard Segona says that the legislation has eliminated the death penalty provision, the law proposes life imprisonment for LGBT people.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has promised anti-gay proponents of the law, that she would steer the legislation through parliament quickly as a “Christmas gift.”

The BBC World News service reports:
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda - this bill increases the penalties.

Foreign donors have threatened to cut aid if gay rights are not respected.

The bill, tabled by MP David Bahati, proposes longer jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances.

In its original form, those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender" - faced the death penalty.
   
Such offences would now be punished with life imprisonment, it is understood.

The original bill also prohibited the "promotion" of gay rights and called for the punishment of anyone who "funds or sponsors homosexuality" or "abets homosexuality".

Mr Bahati has previously said that the death penalty provision would be dropped but this has not been confirmed until now.

Mr Segona, who is on the Legal and Parliamentary committee of Uganda's parliament, told the BBC: "I can confirm it has been dropped."

"Some of us who are human rights activists would discourage the death penalty," he said.
Ugandan human rights activists “would discourage the death penalty.” Really?

There are human rights activists in Uganda? I guess they don’t consider Ugandan LGBT citizens to be human, so they aren’t entitled to any rights at all.

Map: Continent of Africa with Republoic of Uganda highlighted
Homosexuality is outlawed in Uganda because antiquated sodomy laws related to British colonialism, are still on the books.

I know it’s shocking to most of us living in western democracies, that any legislature in the world would consider a bill to imprison or execute people because of immutable characteristics they were born with. Whether Uganda employs genocide or imprisonment to “outlaw” being gay, both would be a crime against humanity and a total deprivation of basic human rights.

I hope that every western government mobilizes quickly to exert diplomatic pressure on Uganda to kill the bill. It's just as important to develop concrete economic sanctions should Uganda’s parliament move the bill forward. 

There are innocent people whose lives depend on it.



straight talk in a queer world.     jiveinthe415.com         
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