Amnesty International Calls on Ugandan Parliament to Reject Legislation to Outlaw Homosexuality

May 12, 2011

Amnesty International Calls on Ugandan Parliament to Reject Legislation to Outlaw Homosexuality

Vote in Parliament Set for Friday

(New York) -- Amnesty International today repeated its call to the Ugandan Parliament to reject a draconian anti-homosexuality bill, which would violate international law and threaten the lives of gays and lesbians.

The bill would introduce the death penalty for some homosexual acts; it is set to be debated and voted on in the Ugandan parliament on Friday. Amnesty International this week mobilized its supporters worldwide to urge members of the Ugandan Parliament to reject the law.

"The Ugandan parliament must immediately reject this bill, which flies in the face of international law and puts lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda at serious risk of further human rights violations," said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International's deputy director for Africa.

In January, a prominent gay rights activist, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer after his picture appeared in a newspaper urging that gays be hanged.

Kagari noted that Amnesty International has documented numerous recent cases of discrimination, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, and mistreatment of gays, lesbians, and the bisexual and transgendered community in Uganda. “This bill will only make matters worse," Kagari said.

The bill was set for discussion in parliament on Wednesday but the session ended before the bill could be discussed.

Parliamentarians have agreed to sit for a final time on Friday to complete parliamentary business before the new parliament is sworn in.

The bill would make it an offense for a person who is aware of any violations of the bill's provisions not to report them to the authorities within 24 hours.

There have been suggestions that some provisions of the bill may be modified, but no further version has been published. Regardless of any amendments, Amnesty International urges the Ugandan parliament to reject the bill in its entirety.

New MP's are set to be sworn in next week and the bill could be put forward again if a vote does not take place on Friday.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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