The government of Uganda is re-opening discussion around the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that triggered an international outcry among civil rights groups, physicians and public health experts, and the U.S. Congress in early 2010.
The legislation, originally proposed to the Ugandan Parliament by David Bahati in September of 2009, would impose life imprisonment or the death sentence for same-gender consensual sex. Those found guilty of not reporting suspected homosexuals to the authorities could face prison time as well.
Civil rights groups are once again rallying to oppose the bill. The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law submitted a position statement containing “a human rights and constitutional audit” of the bill to the Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Committee of the Ugandan Parliament on Monday. According to the statement, the bill violates rights to privacy, freedom from discrimination, equal protection for all and protection of minorities, and six of the 18 substantive provisions of the bill are unconstitutional.
“From a public health perspective the bill, if passed into law, would b ea direct attack on Uganda’s already weak efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, as it would criminalize outreach, education and information at a time when new infections are on the rise and more people need to be placed on [antiretroviral] treatment,” according to the coalition’s press release.
Center for Global Health Policy Director Christine Lubinski’s testimony before Congress in 2010 on the subject echoed these public health and human rights concerns.
The organization All Out is circulating a petition to President Museveni, calling on him to make plain his intention to veto the measure if enacted. The bill is up for reading on May 11.