CIVICUS is calling for the immediate and complete withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. As Museveni's government tries to push through the infamous Bill this week, the international community must react quickly and increase pressure on the country.

The proposed Bill was drafted in 2009 but shelved due to international outcry. US President Obama described the Bill as "odious" and civil society organisations around the world have joined a global campaign against the Bill. However, public hearings on the Bill are currently taking place through the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and there is a significant chance the Bill will be passed by Parliament by the end of the week (13 May).

The provisions of the Bill to issue the death penalty for HIV infected persons who 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, all overtly violate personal freedoms and the guarantee of non-discrimination enshrined under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uganda is a party. It also breaches the Ugandan Constitution and existing human rights commitments by violating the rights to privacy, freedom from discrimination, equal protection for all, and protection of minorities.

In addition, the Bill is not just targeted at homosexual individuals, but is a wider attack on the freedoms of expression and association. Civil society space will be suppressed as the work of civil society organisations that promote the rights of LGBTI people will be criminalised through the cancellation of registration and punishment of the head of the organisation with seven years imprisonment.

See the Open Letter by CIVICUS calling for the Ugandan Parliament to fully reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, whether in its original or amended form. We call for the recognition of the freedom of expression and protection of civil society activists in Uganda."

 

Open Letter to the Speaker of the Ugandan Paliament

10 May 2011


Rt. Hon. Edward SsekandiKiwanuka
Speaker of Parliament
PO BOX 7178
Parliamentary Avenue
Kampala
Uganda


Sir,

I write from CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. We urge you to call for an immediate and complete withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is to be brought before Parliament this week. The proposed Bill rolls 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.

We believe that the widely-condemned Bill, which was drafted in 2009 and has been the subject of criticism both at home and abroad, must be unanimously rejected. A number of world leaders have condemned the Bill including US President Obama who described it as "odious." Civil society groups have warned that the Bill risks further isolating Uganda from the international community.

We call on Parliament to reject the Bill for the following reasons:


• The Bill overtly violates personal freedom and the guarantee of non-discrimination enshrined under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uganda is a party.
• The Bill breaches the Ugandan Constitution and existing human rights commitments by violating the rights to privacy, freedom from discrimination, equal protection for al, and protection of minorities.
• The Bill is not just targeted at homosexual individuals, but is a wider attack on the freedoms of expression and association. Civil society space will be suppressed as the work of civil society organisations that promote the rights of LGBTI people will be criminalised through the cancellation of registration and punishment of the head of the organisation with seven years imprisonment.

We urge Parliament to fully reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, whether in its original or amended form. We call for the recognition of the freedom of expression and protection of civil society activists in Uganda.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Srinath
Secretary General
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Cc:
President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Kiddhu Makubuya ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission, Mr. Med S.K Kaggwa ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

CONNECT WITH US

SOUTH AFRICA

Johannesburg Office
CIVICUS
25  Owl Street, 6th Floor
Johannesburg, 2092
Tel: +27 (0)11 833 5959
Fax: +27 (0)11 833 7997

SWITZERLAND

Geneva Office
11 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1202
Geneva
Tel: +41 (0)22 733 3435

UNITED STATES

Washington DC Office
CIVICUS World Alliance

1775 Eye Street NW Suite 1150

Washington DC 20006, USA

 

UNITED KINGDOM

London Office
Unit 60
Eurolink Business Centre
49 Effra Road
SW2 1BZ, London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7733 9696