Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Government Replies on Ugandan LGBT Rights

Stroppyreaders will recall that some time ago, I posted about an attempt at severe legal repression of homosexuality in Uganda. The government has now posted its response, which is as follows:

We received a petition asking:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to condemn the government of Uganda if they pass the ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’ which proposes the death penalty for some homosexual activities.”

Details of Petition:

“A draft of the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” was introduced by Ndorwa West MP, David Bahati on October 14, 2009 providing for a death penalty for those engaging in homosexuality. Homosexuality is already a crime in Uganda (introduced into the penal code by the british), but the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo has been complaining that the law is inadequate to curb homosexuality that is reported to be on the increase in Uganda.”

Read the Government’s response:

The legislation is a private member’s Bill, which was introduced on 14 October and is currently at committee stage in Uganda’s Parliament.

However, the Government is very concerned about the proposed private members Bill, now in its Committee stage in Uganda’s Parliament, which would broaden the criminalisation of homosexuality. The Government has made those concerns clear in numerous representations to the Ugandan Government. Most recently, the Prime Minister expressed his concerns with Ugandan President Museveni at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad and also in a telephone call on 11 February 2010. Baroness Kinnock, Minister for Africa, raised the issue with the Ugandan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa at CHOGM. The UK High Commissioner in Kampala takes every appropriate opportunity to engage Ugandan Ministers on this issue.

We have also lobbied through the EU. Sweden, who held the local EU Presidency in Uganda, led a EU demarche to the Ugandan Foreign Ministry in December. The European Parliament has also called on the Ugandan authorities not to approve the bill in a resolution passed on 17 December.

The UK is in close touch with and is supporting Ugandan civil society organisations campaigning against the bill. There are now reports that the Ugandan Government may not pass the bill in its present form. But the Government will continue to follow the passage of the bill closely and to lobby against its introduction.

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