Proposed genocidal law targeting GLB persons in Uganda
Status of proposed legislation: 2011-MAY to NOV.
"GLB" is an acronym referring to gays, lesbians,
and bisexuals. More commonly, the letter "T" is added to
refer to transgender persons and transsexuals. Sometimes "I" is added to refer
to intersexual persons.
2011-MAY-09: Uganda may be voting on genocide bill in mid-MAY:
We received an Email from the EveryOneGroup on 2011-MAY-09. It appears to be trustworthy:
"During the proceedings of the 3rd Regional Changing Faces, Changing Spaces Conference, recently concluded in Nairobi (Kenya), the delegation of the LGBT movement in Uganda sounded the alarm concerning the imminent adoption by the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda of the anti-homosexuality bill filed by the MP David Bahati in 2009. The measure, which violates the international conventions on human rights and the ethical laws that civilization is built on, would transform Uganda into a ruthless regime bent on the persecution of a minority which has already suffered – due to religious or racial intolerance – serious abuses throughout history. According to the information we have received, the law foresees the death penalty or, alternatively, a life sentence for gay people. Parliament will vote on the measure next week. We truly hope that Uganda, a country that is valued worldwide for its contribution to civilization, will not regress to a state of barbaric intolerance, and we appeal to the authorities of the country, and to President Museveni himself, to do everything in their power to prevent this dangerous drift taking place. At the same time, we are asking the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide support to homosexual refugees if the unjust law is passed as it would lead to a tragic exodus. In a continent already ravaged by wars, internal conflicts, clashes between different factions and disturbing foreign interference, Uganda now has the opportunity to show it has undertaken a path of tolerance, peace and social progress by refusing to approve the bill against homosexuals which would result in the victory of fundamentalist hatred and persecutory and intolerant ideologies of the lowest kind." 1
The EveryOneGroup and a group of individuals sent the above message to government leaders and members of The Parliament of Uganda, the European Parliament, Human Rights NGOs and the International media on 2011-MAY-09.
2011-MAY-09: Ugandan Legal Parliamentary Committee met to discuss genocide bill:
Bishop Christopher Seneno of the Anglican Church of Uganda, a gay rights activist, attended the Committee meeting.
"The Parliament wraps up its work this week and a newly elected parliament will convene soon after. The seven-member committee will make recommendations following several days of public response to the Bahati bill. ... Supporters of the bill included pastor Martin Ssempa and others who continue to claim homosexuality is imported from the West, is a threat to Ugandan children, and needs to be legally stopped."
The San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN) reports:
"Bishop Christopher said he is convinced that the bill will move forward to Parliament and if passed, it will be up to the president to veto it. International pressure from the U.S., the United Kingdom, the European Union and human rights organizations is intense, but Ugandans are being greatly influenced by anti-gay American missionaries from the Religious Right and from the extremely conservative Anglican Church in Africa.
When the bishop spoke at the hearing, one of the parliamentarians thought that he was going to support the bill and was surprised to hear him opposing it.
'I am not advocating for the LGBT community,' Bishop Christopher told the astonished member. 'I am just dealing with reality.'
The bishop spoke specifically to the effect that criminalization of homosexuality has on access to information about HIV and AIDS, prevention and care.
'If we criminalize the LGBT community further, it will drive Ugandans further underground and compromise the relationship of medical, counselors and clergy that is sacrosanct and needs to remain confidential,' the bishop said. 'How can we expect doctors to treat everyone when this bill will require them to report on their patients who are LGBT?'
Three other reports were given by members of the Civil Society Coalition dealing with the legal and medical issues that would be created by the passage of the controversial bill. Two attorneys and a local physician, Dr. Sagmugoma, addressed the issues of discrimination and the major violation of human rights that would transpire if the bill was passed.
Further testimony was given by the Ugandan Human Rights Commission on the bill’s violation of international law, particularly requiring any Ugandan living abroad to be extradited back to Uganda to face prison for being gay.
'Punishing someone for being who they are violated human rights,' the bishop said." 2
2011-MAY-11: Anti-gay bill hits snag in Parliament:
The bill was to be debated in Parliament during MAY-11. However, a protest by some legislators over another bill has delayed discussion until MAY-13. Apparently, the bill's sponsor David Bahati has revised the bill to delete the death penalty. However, the new version has not yet been released publicly.
Online petitions opposing the bill have been organized by two groups -- Avaaz and Allout. Together, they have collected over 1.4 million signatures. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have said the the bill's progress is deeply alarming.
Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay-positive support group, said: "The way I saw, if the bill was debated today, it would have been passed because most MPs were in its favor. We were saved by the lack of quorum."
Hilary Fuller Renner, a spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs said:
"If adopted, a bill further criminalizing homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda. Respect for human rights is key to Uganda’s long-term political stability and democratic development, as well as its public health and economic prosperity."
The Associated Press stated:
"U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said in a statement Tuesday [MAY-09 that] he was disturbed that parliamentarians were again discussing the bill. He said if it becomes law that he would urge the U.S. government to oppose any aid to Uganda from international institutions that the U.S. belongs to, such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.
Avaaz, an Internet group that champions action on issues such as poverty and climate change, said it had collected more than 1 million Internet signatures from people opposed to the bill. The group wants parliament to reject the bill or Uganda’s president to veto it if it passes.
'We’ve helped stop this bill before, and we can do it again,' the group’s web site said." 3
Bishop Christopher Seneno of the Anglican Church of Uganda, a gay rights activist, issued a statement saying:
"We are very worried about the bill, it would be a dark chapter for Uganda. ... We hope that the new parliamentarians will think very differently to this current crop of MPs who prey on fear. We really hope this bill doesn't go any further." 4
2011-NOV-15: Wikileaks comments on the proposed legislation:
Quoting Inter Press Service, South Africa's Big Issue magazine posted an article on their web site stating:
"Val Kalende, a vocal gay rights activist who heads the Board at Freedom and Roam Uganda, is adamant that unless international human rights watchdogs sustain the pressure on the Ugandan government, the Bill might actually make a return in an even more vicious form.
'The people who were behind this Bill are very radical and extreme,' she says. 'You don’t expect such people to simply take the silent death of the Bill lying down. These are people, who inspired by US evangelicals, have sowed seeds of hatred towards minorities.'
She continued: 'The Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Community is depicted as a bunch of subhuman entities that are unworthy of life. And these messages of hate are actually propagated by important and influential members of the government plus opinion leaders from across the religious spectrum. So, while we applaud the pressure the international community brought to bear when this atrocious Bill was tabled, we also urge this pressure to be kept up if our rights are to be won and protected eventually'." 5
This topic continues in the next essay.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Roberto Malini, et al., "Uganda: appeal concerning the adoption of the anti-homosexuality bill," EveryOne Group, 2011-MAY-09, at: http://www.everyonegroup.com/
- Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, "Bishop Christopher Senyonjo: Uganda panel likely to advance 'Kill the Gays' bill," San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, 2011-MAY-09, at: http://sdgln.com/
- Godfrey Ohikya & Jason Straziuso, "Anti-gay bill still on Uganda parliament’s agenda, but delayed," Associated Press, 2011-MAY-11, at: http://www.thestar.com/
- "Uganda 'anti-gay' bill off parliament agenda," Reuters, 2011-MAY-12, at: http://tvnz.co.nz/
- Joseph Opio, "Wikileaks and the truth of Uganda's anti-gay law," Big Issue, 2011-NOV-15, at: http://www.bigissue.org.za/
Copyright © 2011 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-MAY-10
Latest update and review: 2012-JUN-14
Compiler: B.A. Robinson