African civil society campaign against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill
6 January 2010. Related: Other news.
Following the tabling of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before the Ugandan Parliament which provides for imprisonment and the death penalty for infringements of the Bill, civil society organisations in Africa are mobilising to persuade Ugandan Parliamentarians to block this pernicious Bill. The Bill has already gone through the first reading in Parliament. We are very concerned that it may become law this year. If it is passed, even in diluted form, it would constitute a massive setback for human rights in Africa.
AIDS Law Project in South Africa have produced statement which your organisation is invited to endorse. Please also endeavour to secure the endorsements of prominent individuals, such as religious leaders, influential professional persons, heads of organisations and others with a respected public profile. The statement is self-explanatory. Kindly submit your endorsement on or before 12h00, Monday, 29 March (SA time). Please supply the full name of your organisation together with your full name, office address, telephone contact details and organisational website. Please also indicate in your email that you have been authorised by your organisation to endorse the statement.
Please send your endorsement to Ms Adila Hassim of the AIDS Law Project at:
Please copy your email to Ms Phumi Mtetwa of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project at:
STATEMENT BY AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY
We, the individuals and organisations from African countries listed hereunder, recognise the universality of the human rights of all persons.
We affirm that the right of men and women to have same sex relationships is a fundamental human right.
We are further guided in the knowledge that all forms of discrimination, in particular against vulnerable groups, undermine the human dignity of all in Africa.
We are therefore profoundly disturbed by the nature, content and potential impact of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (“the Bill”) that was recently tabled in and is currently being considered by the Parliament of Uganda.
We believe that the Bill, if enacted, will cut deeply into the fabric of Ugandan society by:
- Violating the rights of an already vulnerable and severely stigmatised group of persons by attacking their dignity, privacy and other constitutionally protected rights;
- Disrupting family and community life by compelling everyone, by the threat of criminal sanction, to report those suspected of engaging in same-sex sexual activity;
- Seeking to withdraw Uganda from the family of nations by reneging on the country’s international law obligations;
- Undermining public health interventions such as HIV prevention, treatment, care and support;
- Promoting prejudice and hate and encouraging harmful and violent action to be taken against those engaging in same sex relations.
We respectfully call on the Parliament of Uganda to reject the Bill in its entirety.
We also call on African governments and the African Union to call on the President and Government of Uganda to withdraw the Bill and to respect the human rights of all in Uganda, without exception.