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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Australian Senate turns its back on Ugandan gays


Source: Blaze

By Ron Hughes

A motion that would have seen the government putting pressure on Uganda to withdraw its recently-tabled Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been rejected by the Senate.

SA Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young moved that the Senate should condemn the criminalisation of homosexuality anywhere in the world.

She also moved that the Senate should “[call] on the Government to actively encourage the Ugandan Government to withdraw its Anti-Homosexuality Bill and respect the human rights of same-sex attracted people.”

On October 14 a bill was tabled in the Ugandan parliament that widened the legal definition of homosexual acts and introduced the death penalty for the new offence of “aggravated homosexuality”. Under the latter, anyone who had gay sex with either a disabled person or anyone under 18, or anyone with HIV who had sex with a person of the same gender, could be executed.

Senator Hanson-Young also called on the Senate to “recognise the universal human rights of same-sex attracted people to live their lives free from persecution on the basis of their sexuality.”

The motion was rejected.

“Freedom of sexuality and gender identity is a fundamental human right, yet unfortunately many Governments around the world fail to recognise this,” Hanson-Young told blaze. “The Ugandan Government’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill represents a hideous abuse of the human rights of same-sex attracted people. It should be condemned by the international community and I was appalled to see the Senate vote against my motion to condemn the criminality of homosexuality and call on the Ugandan Government to withdraw its Bill.”

“Australia could be playing a leadership role in promoting an end to persecution on the basis of sexuality, yet the Rudd Government seems intent on lagging behind,” Hanson-Young continued. “I will continue to pressure the Government to lift its game on this issue.”

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