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Uganda's New Homophobic Bill Is Even Worse Than Last Year's Anti-Homosexuality Act

A government committee in Uganda has drafted a new anti-gay law, one that has the potential to be even more draconian than the country's (now-invalidated) Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The Guardian reports:

According to a leaked copy of the new draft law, MPs have instead focused on outlawing the “promotion” of homosexuality – a potentially far more repressive and wide-reaching measure.

MugishaFrank Mugisha [pictured], a gay-rights activist, said: “People don’t realise that the ‘promotion’ part of it will affect everybody. If newspapers report about homosexuality it could be seen as promotion. My Twitter account could be seen as promotion. All human rights groups that include LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] rights defence in their activities could be accused of promotion.”

According to the draft, anyone convicted of “promoting” homosexuality would be liable to seven years in prison. “We have confirmed that the draft comes from the cabinet. Their plan is to present it to parliament as soon as possible, before the end of the year,” Mugisha said.

“They have just twisted the language but it is the same thing. It’s actually worse because the ‘promotion’ part is harsher and it will punish the funding of LGBT and human rights groups.”

In an editorial published earlier this month in Uganda's leading newspaper, president Yoweri Museveni warned that the country would be devastated by trade boycotts should lawmakers pursue additional anti-gay legislation. 

Check out the draft legislation below:


Trade Boycotts Force Ugandan President to Reconsider Anti-Gay Laws

President Yoweri Museveni

There's a special place in hell for Anita Bryant for helping to popularize the myth that the gays are after the world's children to recruit them to the cause, like some fabulously well-dressed militant regime. This fueled one of the cries - and lies - spread 'round the world that people and governments are anti-gay because they just want to protect the children. We've seen it in Russia, the U.S., and of course Uganda.

The "protecting the children" rational is a lie through and through, of course, and Uganda at least is proving it to be as such. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni claimed that he signed on to his country's viciously anti-gay laws to ostensibly protect children and prevent them from being "recruited" into the deviant homosexual lifestyle, but either he never really believed that or the "recruitment of children" isn't that big of a deal as Museveni is now backtracking on those laws.

Though the author of the anti-gay laws said that any international backlash would be "worth it", President Museveni is singing a different tune, saying that his country could endure aid cuts, but that trade boycotts would be devastating:

It is about us deciding what is best for our country in the realm of foreign trade, which is such an important stimulus for growth and transformation that it has no equal.

He still takes a chance to make a nasty stab at homosexuals and still blame them for his country's troubles, however:

It is now an issue of a snake in a clay cooking pot. We want to kill the snake, but we do not want to break the pot. We want to protect our children from homosexuality, but we do not want to kill our trade opportunities. That now forces us to disassemble this whole issue.

How about just leaving the snake alone, knowing that it always was and always will be a snake, and letting everyone live in peace?


Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Recommended For Asylum In The U.S. - VIDEO

John Abdallah Wambere

Immigration officials are recommending that the U.S. grant asylum to John Abdallah Wambere, a prominent gay rights activist in Uganda who lives in fear of death threats and repression at home, reports The Boston Globe.

Wambere arrived from Uganda on February 21 on a temporary visa, three days before Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off on his country’s new law punishing gay sex and the “promotion of homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a letter on September 11th recommending Wambere for asylum, although final approval is still pending a mandatory background check.

Wambere said he has been evicted, arrested three times, beaten unconscious and has received anonymous death threats, including in 2011, after gay rights leader David Kato was bludgeoned to death.

Although Uganda’s constitutional court in August overturned the country’s anti-gay laws on technical grounds, some lawmakers have vowed to refile the overturned bill.

According to Allison Wright, one of Wambere’s lawyers at GLAAD:

“The antigay sentiment has just been rising and rising over the years. Just because the act is gone doesn’t mean that hostility is not there. That hostility is very much still alive.”

In an interview earlier this week, Wambere hailed the decision and vowed to continue advocating for gay rights in Uganda from abroad.

“I’m so excited; I’m overwhelmed. I felt like standing on the streets and shouting out to the whole world.”

On adjusting to life in Massachusetts, he said he had been shocked at the sight of a gay couple openly holding hands on Boston Common:

“To me, it was amazing. Nobody cared about it. Even they themselves were not even freaking out.”

Watch an interview with Wambere and a report on the asylum case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Recommended For Asylum In The U.S. - VIDEO" »


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Signs Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission

MuseveniUgandan President Yoweri Museveni has officially criminalized the transmission of HIV, a move that many public health experts worry could ultimately exacerbate Uganda’s well documented struggles with the virus. Similar to law that sometimes appear here in the U.S. Uganda’s new HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Bill targets those individuals who willfully expose others to the virus without their knowledge. In theory provisions like these would encourage people to exercise safer sex practices. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case. Rather than fostering openness about one’s HIV status, the criminalization of HIV has been proven to be ineffective and ultimately harmful.

The circumstances under which the mandate made its way through the Ugandan legal systems are dubious at best. The law, which surfaced earlier this week, is dated to have have officially been signed in late July, closely following the nullification of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The AHA’s passing was invalidated after legal review revealed that the Ugandan Parliament did not have the quorum of its members necessary to turn the homophobic legislation into law. President Museveni has insisted that the law, which is being reintroduced the Parliament, will be gentler towards adults consensually engaging in homosexual acts. Those found in violation of the original AHA could be sentenced to life in prison but, Museveni says, the revised law focuses solely on the protection of children.

Read the full text of Uganda's law criminalizing the transmission of HIV AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Signs Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission" »


Obama Welcomes Ugandan President to the White House

Obama_museveni

President Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to the White House on Tuesday as part of the U.S.-Africa leaders summit this week.

Despite announcements in June from the State Department that it would "take measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals" the man responsible for signing Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act (which this week was struck down by that nation's high court on a technicality) into law was not blocked from attending the summit in the nation's capital.

Human and gay rights activists have called on Obama to discuss anti-LGBT discrimination at this week's summit.

Ugandan media reports:

The business forum is part of an unprecedented three-day summit underway in Washington, with nearly 50 African heads of state in attendance including President Yoweri Museveni. Obama was hosting the leaders at a White House dinner Tuesday night.
 
At the meeting, U.S. companies announced $14 billion in investments for Africa. Among them: a $5 billion investment from Coca-Cola to fund manufacturing lines and production equipment; $2 billion investment from GE by 2018; $200 million in investments across Africa by Marriott, and a $66 million commitment by IBM to provide technology services to Ghana’s Fidelity Bank.
 
Obama said with the new financial commitments, he was boosting that goal to 60 million homes and businesses.
 
He also announced $7 billion in new government financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa. That includes $3 billion in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank aimed at supporting American exports to Africa over the next two years.


Ugandan President Says Foreign Pressure Had 'Nothing To Do' With Striking Down Of Anti-Gay Law

MuseveniPresident Yoweri Museveni has denied that the recent court decision to scrap Uganda’s draconian anti-gay law had anything to do with the U.S.-Africa Summit taking place this week, reports the Mail & Guardian.

In the lead-up to this week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, human rights groups had urged President Obama to discuss anti-gay discrimination in Uganda and other African countries. Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act last February, which penalizes same-sex relations with life imprisonment.

Museveni has said that the decision by Uganda’s constitutional court to overturn the country’s anti-gay legislation last Friday had “nothing to do” with the summit or with the sanctions placed on the country by the U.S.

However, saying he intends to take the issue to the country's Supreme Court, Christian evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa, who has campaigned to “kick sodomy out of Uganda”, described the court’s decision as a “judicial abortion” designed to polish Uganda’s reputation before the summit.

Under earlier legislation which is expected to return following the court’s decision, homosexuality in Uganda remains illegal and punishable by jail sentences.

 


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