KAMPALA, Feb 7, 2012 (AFP) - Amnesty International warned on Tuesday that
Uganda could soon pass an anti-homosexuality bill that would introduce
draconian provisions and constitute "a grave assault" on human rights.
A controversial bill that calls for the death penalty for certain
homosexual acts was recently re-introduced in the Ugandan parliament after
lawmakers failed to debate it during the last session of the legislative body.
It brings in the death penalty for anyone caught engaging in homosexual
acts for the second time as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor
or has HIV.
It also proposes to criminalise public discussion of homosexuality and
would penalise an individual who knowingly rents property to a homosexual.
"Its alarming and disappointing that Ugandas Parliament will once again
consider the Anti-Homosexuality Bill," said Michelle Kagari, Deputy Africa
Programme Director at Amnesty International.
"If passed, it would represent a grave assault on the human rights of all
Ugandans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity," she said.
"The bill introduces draconian provisions on top of Ugandas existing
prohibition on consensual same-sex relations, which already violates
international norms," Amnesty said.
"At the bills reintroduction, the Speaker informed the House that the bill
would not need to be considered again by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Committee, raising fears that it could be passed into law imminently," Amnesty
"The bill would significantly hamper the work of human rights defenders and
others who find themselves in conflict with the law merely by carrying out
their legitimate activities.
"The knock-on effect of passing this bill would reach far beyond gay and
lesbian people in Uganda, impeding the legitimate work of civil society,
public health professionals, and community leaders."
"This deplorable bill would not only violate the rights of Ugandans to
life, to non-discrimination, to equality before the law, and to privacy, but
would sanction hatred, violence and the persecution of a group of people based
on whom they love alone," Kagari said.
"We strongly urge the Ugandan Parliament to reject this bill in its
entirety. It must not legislate hate."