Ugandan anti-gay bill signed into law: A terrible set back for human rights
The Kaleidoscope Trust has condemned the signing of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. The bill became law today at a public ceremony in Entebbe, where Ugandan President Museveni signed the notorious legislation into law.
The new law will greatly expand the range of same-sex activities that will be criminalised and introduces life imprisonment for acts of so-called 'aggravated homosexuality'. Aggravating features include repeat offenders, or those who are HIV positive.
The law also acts to criminalise the "promotion of homosexuality." This wide-ranging provision now makes it illegal for individuals and organisations to work to protect LGBT people, advocate for their rights or to protect their health. It is in clear violation of the right to the freedom of expression and assembly as protected by the Ugandan constitution and will harm efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Purna Sen, Chair of the Kaleidoscope Trust said:
This is a terrible blow to the struggle for human rights in Uganda, for LGBT people, their allies and human rights defenders everywhere. The Trust is calling on the British government to act firmly in response to this blatant violation of human rights, the Ugandan constitution and its international responsibilities.
The Trust continues to work with LGBT organisations, activists and communities in Uganda to help them secure their human rights and seek to restore the rights of all. The great fear on the ground is that the passing of the bill will give a free reign to vigilantism and mob violence, while silencing the voices that support LGBT people. It is now more important than ever to support the vital work being done by brave Ugandans.
The Trust acknowledges the calls made by Uganda's Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law which include a plea to diplomatic missions and international donors to:
- Step up public criticism of the bill
- Temporarily recall ambassadors from the EU, US and other European countries to consult strategically on the bill
- Announce a review of foreign aid assistance to the Ugandan government
Last week the Kaleidoscope Trust was one of a number of UK organisations calling on the British Foreign Secretary William Hague to take firm action should the bill become law.