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GLAAD: Stop the Uganda 'Kill the Gays' bill
From press releases
2012-11-21

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This article has been updated with the addition of news releases as they come in

From GLAAD:

Yesterday, the Ugandan Parliament added a bill to its schedule that would sentence LGBT people in Uganda to death. According to reports from international news providers like Agence France-Press www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/ugandan-parliament-debate-anti-gay-bill and LGBT news sites including Towleroad www.towleroad.com/2012/11/uganda-consideration-of-kill-the-gays-bill-imminent-activists-warn.html, the bill might be debated as early as today or over the next several weeks.

You can take action by signing All Out's petition urging Uganda to drop the "Kill the Gays Bill" here www.allout.org/uganda .

Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, recently told the Associated Press www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/11/12/uganda-gay/1699065/ that the anti-gay bill would be a "Christmas gift" to the population.

The bill shifts attention away from laws and policies that would benefit Ugandan society as a whole, such as addressing corruption, land-grabbing, as well as the suppression of media freedom and civil society space. Instead the bill scapegoats the LGBT population.

Sexual Minorities Uganda's Frank Mugisha, who has fearlessly worked to prevent the bill from becoming law, detailed the bill's draconian provisions in an email today ww.towleroad.com/2012/11/uganda-consideration-of-kill-the-gays-bill-imminent-activists-warn.html .

"Any person alleged to be homosexual would be at risk of life imprisonment or in some circumstances the death penalty"

"Any parent who does not denounce their lesbian daughter or gay son to the authorities would face fines of $2,650 or three years in prison"

"Any teacher who does not report a lesbian or gay pupil to the authorities within 24 hours would face the same penalties"

"And any landlord or landlady who happens to give housing to a suspected homosexual would risk 7 years of imprisonment"

Mugisha also wrote: "All of the offences covered by the Bill as drafted can be applied to a Ugandan citizen who allegedly commits them - even outside the country of Uganda! At the very least, the bill violates all principle human rights and if enacted, it would contravene 8 articles of Uganda's own constitution. It not only violates the Constitution of Uganda but Uganda's international human rights obligations, and also stifles debate, undermines Civil Society and demeans the common citizenship of all Ugandans."

"We all must speak out against this bill - which flies in the face of all decent human decency by punishing and murdering people simply for who they are," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "As Americans pause to be grateful for family and friends on Thanksgiving, our thoughts are with those brave people in Uganda working to fight this hateful law."

Gay Star News www.gaystarnews.com/article/ugandas-kill-gays-bill-officially-added-parliament%E2%80%99s-schedule221112 reports that the bill is expected to pass Parliament. It will then be up to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to veto the bill. If he does so, his veto could be overturned by the assembly. The bill was originally put to the government in 2009 but was temporarily shelved because of international criticism. It resurfaced after Kadaga became speaker last year.

In 2010, The White House released a statement condemning the legislation www.glaad.org/2009/12/14/update-white-house-denounces-proposed-anti-gay-legislation-in-uganda .

The president strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history.

In addition to All Out's petition www.allout.org/uganda-now, you can ask the U.S. to once again s peak out by writing the U.S. State Department on its Facebook page www.facebook.com/usdos .

GLAAD is sharing this news along with steps that can be taken to prevent LGBT Ugandans from being sent to prison or murdered for who they are with national media today. We urge you to speak to your own friends and family and encourage them to also take action www.allout.org/uganda-now . www.glaad.org/blog/stop-ugandas-kill-gays-bill .

HRC Calls on American faith leaders to do their part in stopping human rights abuse

WASHINGTON — Upon news the Ugandan Parliament is poised to consider a bill as soon as today that proposes jail terms for gay individuals, including a life sentence in some circumstances, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, calls on American faith leaders to reach out to their influential friends and colleagues in Uganda to urge them to condemn the bill and work to halt consideration. The bill, originally proposed in 2009, has been delayed numerous times. Experts believe the Ugandan Parliament is now positioned to vote on and pass the anti-LGBT bill. The bill also prohibits promoting LGBT rights and calls for the punishment of anyone who funds or sponsors gay rights. It is reported that a clause in the original bill calling for the death penalty will be dropped.

"American faith leaders know that calling for the death penalty - or even calling for imprisonment of - an entire community is not in line with Christian values," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "American Christian faith leaders with ties to Uganda, like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes, must reach out to their influential Ugandan friends to ensure that the human rights of Ugandans are not put up to a vote."

American Christian faith leaders have been active in Uganda for decades and have significant ties to Ugandan political leaders and faith leaders. Such influential American faith leaders, including Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and voices from the Trinity Broadcasting Network, have a moral obligation to urge their Ugandan friends and allies to condemn the bill. Many of these American faith leaders have shown a commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Uganda and know passage of this bill would curtail these efforts. Public statements and private conversations by these American faith leaders, if they are done immediately, could save the lives of thousands of Ugandans.

NEWS RELEASE FROM SEXUAL MINORITIES UGANDA, Nov. 22, 2012

Dear Partners and Allies,

The "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" was been re-tabled before the Ugandan Parliament in February 2012 amidst full house applause. The Speaker of Parliament has promised to pass this bill as a Christmas gift to Uganda.

This Bill's provisions are draconian. Among them, the Bill states that:

"Any person alleged to be homosexual would be at risk of life imprisonment or in some circumstances the death penalty"

"Any parent who does not denounce their lesbian daughter or gay son to the authorities would face fines of $2,650 or three years in prison"

"Any teacher who does not report a lesbian or gay pupil to the authorities within 24 hours would face the same penalties"

"And any landlord or landlady who happens to give housing to a suspected homosexual would risk 7 years of imprisonment"

Similarly, the Bill threatens to punish or ruin the reputation of anyone who works with the gay or lesbian population, such as medical doctors working on HIV/AIDS, Civil Society leaders active in the fields of sexual and reproductive health; or even religious leaders providing guidance and counseling to people who are unsure of their sexuality or any other consultations. There are claims that the bill has been watered down, however we reiterate our position that we condemn this bill in its entirety.

The existing law has already been employed in an arbitrary way, and this Bill will just intensify that effect. Since it's first reading, increased campaigns of hate have continued uncontrolled. The violence directed at homosexual Ugandans has resulted in the unwarranted arrests of many people and closure of educational workshops for LGBT persons. We have documented about 17cases in and outside various courts all over Uganda. These acts of violence have now resulted in murder and suicide of LGBT Ugandans. SMUG's Advocacy and Litigation Officer David Kato who was brutally murdered at his house in January 2011.

All of the offences covered by the Bill as drafted can be applied to a Ugandan citizen who allegedly commits them - even outside the country of Uganda! At the very least, the bill violates all principle human rights and if enacted, it would contravene 8 articles of Uganda's own constitution. It not only violates the Constitution of Uganda but Uganda's international human rights obligations, and also stifles debate, undermines Civil Society and demeans the common citizenship of all Ugandans.

The Bill does little more than to entrench stigma and prejudice, which will polarize the Ugandan society further and undermine public health efforts to combat the spread of HIV. It places a total ban on public discussion of an issue whose existence cannot be wished away. If the Bill is adopted, it will make Uganda a pariah in the international community. We therefore urge the Ugandan Parliament to reject this Bill in its entirety.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) have vehemently responded to the bill and issued several press statements in protest to the bill and continue to engage in various ways to stifle the progression of this bill. When the bill was first introduced in 2009 we called upon our regional and international partners and allies for support in denouncing this bill in simultaneous demonstrations at Ugandan foreign missions in your respective countries. We ask you once again to stand with us and do simultaneous peaceful demonstrations at Ugandan foreign missions in your respective countries.

SEXUAL MINORITIES UGANDA

Statement, The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: Proposed Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill is a Vicious Attack on Human Rights

Press Release, Nov. 23, 2012

The "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" was re-tabled before the Ugandan Parliament in February 2012. Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, has promised to pass this bill as a Christmas gift to Uganda. The bill now appears on the Parliament's order of business, following the discussion and consideration of legislation related to oil production in Uganda. The provisions of the bill range from years of imprisonment and high fines to risk of life imprisonment or the death penalty. The bill was first introduced in 2009. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a Ugandan non-governmental organization, has vehemently protested re-introduction of the bill.

Statement from Damian Ugwu, Regional Program Coordinator for Africa, IGLHRC

"The Ugandan government has an obligation to promote and protect the human rights of its population without distinction of any kind, including sexual orientation or gender identity. The Uganda anti-homosexuality bill is therefore a vicious attack on human rights of sexual minorities in Uganda. The bill, if passed, will surely incite hatred and specific acts of discrimination, harassment or violence against anyone suspected of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We must raise the questions: Why is the Ugandan parliament bringing this legislation forward at this time? Whose interests does it serve?"

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), founded in 1990, is a leading international human rights organization dedicated to improving the lives of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. We are dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the LGBT human rights movement worldwide to conduct documentation of LGBT human rights violations and by engaging in human rights advocacy with partners around the globe. We work with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies and civil society partners. IGLHRC holds consultative status at the United Nations as a recognized Non-Governmental Organization representing the concerns and human rights of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people worldwide. For more information about the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission visit: www.iglhrc.org .


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