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British MPs condemn Uganda "kill gays" Bill

EDM urges: scrap the Bill, decriminalise same-sex relations; Anti-gay Bill is a diversion from tackling poverty and ill-health


9 April, 2010

A scene from last December's protest in London against the Bill - Photo: Brett Lock
LONDON — 118 British MPs have condemned Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. They have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 575) in the UK Parliament, urging the scrapping of the Bill.

See the EDM here.

The EDM, drafted by East London Labour MP Harry Cohen and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, urges the Ugandan government to "uphold international humanitarian law by abandoning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults in private, and outlawing discrimination against gay people."

British MPs are especially appalled that the Bill proposes the death penalty for "serial offenders" (people who commit repeat homosexual acts) and life imprisonment for merely touching or kissing another person of the same-sex with homosexual intent.

"We hope this motion will send a signal from the British parliament to the Ugandan government that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill constitutes an outrageous attack on the human rights of Uganda's lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens," said Peter Tatchell of the London-based gay human rights group OutRage!

OutRage! is helping coordinate the UK campaign against the Bill, with the support of Ugandans living in Britain.

"Even if the death penalty is dropped, the Bill will remain unacceptable. It will still violate the equality guarantees of international human rights agreements, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," added Mr Tatchell.

"We support the many Ugandan people who oppose this homophobic witch-hunt. Not all Ugandans are homophobic. Many have spoken out against this legislation. We salute their compassion and courage.

"The scapegoating of gay Ugandans is reminiscent of the way Adolf Hitler scapegoated Jewish people in Germany in the 1930s.

"Demonising lesbians and gay men is a diversion from the real issues that blight the lives of most Ugandans: poverty, unemployment, low wages, disease, poor sanitation, dirty drinking water and inadequate health and education services.

"Uganda's anti-gay laws were not devised by Ugandans. They were devised in London in the nineteenth century and imposed on the people of Uganda by the British colonisers and their army of occupation. Before the British came and conquered Uganda, there were no laws against homosexuality. These laws are a foreign imposition. They are not African laws.

"This Bill violates Article 21 of the constitution of Uganda, which guarantees equality and non-discrimination:

21. Equality and freedom from discrimination.

(1) All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.
Refer here.

"It also breaches the equality and anti-discrimination clauses 2, 3, and 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which Uganda has signed and pledged to uphold," added Mr Tatchell. – Issued by OUTRAGE!


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British MPs condemn Uganda 'kill gays' Bill

 

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