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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Explaining what is in Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill

By Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law
On the 14th of October 2009, David  Bahati tabled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Ugandan Parliament. The Bill is currently before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

The objective of the Bill is "to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting:-
(i) any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and
(ii) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any Government entity in Uganda or any non governmental organization inside or outside the country".
Amongst other aims, the Bill seeks to prohibit all marriages except those between man and woman, to prevent and penalize homosexual behavior, including a death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, to prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, and to prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality. Read the Bill !! [the bill is embedded below in this post]

On a critical analysis, the Bill covers much more than the title alone proclaims. A much better title for this Bill would have been the “The Anti Civil Society Bill”, the “Anti Public Health Bill”, or the “Anti-Constitution Bill”.

We, the various member organizations of the Uganda Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law see many unconstitutional and Human Rights violating implications of the Bill. As a matter of fact, this Bill represents one of the most serious attacks to date on the 1995 Constitution and on the key human rights protections enshrined in the Constitution including:
  • Article 20: Fundamental rights and freedoms are inherent and not granted by the State
  • Article 21: Right to Equality and Freedom from discrimination
  • Article 22: The Right to Life (the death penalty provisions)
  • Article 27: The Right to Privacy
  • Article 29: Right to freedom of conscience, expression, movement, religion, assembly and association (this includes freedom of speech, Academic freedom and media freedom)
  • Article 30: Right to Education
  • Article 32: Affirmative Action in favor of marginalisd groups and
  • Article 36 on the Rights of Minorities
The Bill has serious implications for instance Parents, Teachers, Lawyers, Medical Personnel, Counselors, or Landlords who do not report homosexual behavior of their child, pupil, client or tenant. They can be fined five million Uganda shillings, or put away for three to seven years in prison. Furthermore, it puts at serious risk any civil society leader or religious leader trying to work with homosexuals, resulting in closing down his or her organization, or punishing him or her accordingly. In short, this Bill targets everybody, and involves everybody: it cannot be implemented without making every citizen spy on his or her neighbors.
Member organisations of the coalition are the following - African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), Advocates for Public International Law in Uganda (APILU), Center for Land Economy and Rights of Women (CLEAR-Uganda), Centre for Women in Governance (CEWIGO), Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA),East & Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U), Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Human Rights Awareness & Promotion Forum, Human Rights & Peace Centre (HURIPEC), Faculty of Law, Makerere University, Integrity Uganda, International Refugee Rights Initiative, Mentoring and Empowerment Programme for Young Women (MEMPROW), MIFUMI Project, National Association of Women’s Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU), National Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA), Refugee Law Project (RLP), Faculty of Law, Makerere University, National Guidance & Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NGEN+), Spectrum Uganda, Uganda Feminist Forum, Women’s Organisation & Network for Human Rights Advocacy (WONETHA)

09 10 14 Bill No 2018 Anti Homosexuality Bill

HT: LezGetReal
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