Petition Closed. Unsuccessful.
Uganda: Dismiss the ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (State House Nakasero) and Honorable Opio Gabriel (Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Affairs)
Petition Started by: CAAH (Community Action Against Homophobia)
The Ugandan government is currently considering the passage of this “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” which would have devastating consequences for that country’s LGBTI community. For their safety it is vital this bill be dismissed. That is the aim of this petition.
The bill proposes that homosexuality be made illegal with the following consequences:
1) Anyone found to be practicing homosexual acts will be punished with life imprisonment
2) Anyone practicing “aggravated homosexuality” — meaning they are homosexual and have AIDS/HIV — would be facing a death sentence (this is apparently being reviewed and may be dropped from the bill).
3) Finally, citizens who do not report known homosexual acts also receive three years imprisonment, and if they publicly support homosexuality through statement or other means, that is another four years on top of that, making seven years in total.
Besides the obvious horrible consequences for the LGBTI community and their supporters, this would also affect media freedom in their country, making less information available to needy people.
People’s willingness to seek help when they are infected with HIV would be non-existent, which could mean the disease is less discussed and spreads unspoken throughout the country, even more than its devastating current presence in the region.
As stated by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission:
“The negative repercussions of the bill in Uganda will be immediate and severe. It effectively bans the free association and expression that are necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility that undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. Effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be difficult, if not impossible.”
We need to act on this, if not for the reasons above, then for basic human rights!
CAAH (Community Action against Homophobia)
Text of Bill:
Uganda, dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
I am writing to express concern about legislation that would severely restrict the rights of Ugandan citizens, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their defenders, in direct contravention of domestic and international law. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 would not only reaffirm penalties for homosexuality, but would criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality,” including funding and sponsoring LGBT organizations and broadcasting, publishing, or marketing materials on homosexuality. Any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison – even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends.
The negative repercussions of the bill in Uganda will be immediate and severe. It effectively bans the free association and expression that are necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility that undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. Effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be difficult, if not impossible.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill violates National Objective 5(2) of the Ugandan Constitution, which provides that “the State shall guarantee and respect the independence of non-governmental organizations which protect and promote human rights.” Moreover, it directly violates the right to equality and freedom from discrimination (Article 21), the right to privacy (Article 27), the right to freedoms of speech, expression, association, and assembly (Article 29), the protection of minorities (Article 36), and the protection of civic rights and activities (Article 38) to which all Ugandans are entitled. It also violates the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party. This bill undermines Uganda’s commitment to the international human rights regime and threatens the basic human rights of all its citizens.
The Bill’s revocation of fundamental rights would also seriously undermine the country’s reputation and credibility in the international arena. Because it claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while outside of the country, the Bill will strain Uganda’s relations with regional and international partners.
While people may hold differing opinions about sexual orientation and gender identity, the legislation before Parliament is an ineffective and fundamentally illegal way to express opposition to a minority group. In recognition of the importance of a diverse, dynamic civil society and the domestic and international commitments that Uganda has made, I urge you to swiftly dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 and reaffirm the rights and responsibilities of all Ugandans.
[Your name here]