Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pan Africa ILGA - Press Statement

Press Statement:

Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.

On behalf of the Pan Africa ILGA part of the global Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). We write to express our concern about THE UGANDA ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL, NO 18, 2009. As a leading human rights community we believe that the bill goes beyond an intention to protect the nation, Homosexual expression is part of the human family, we believe that everyone is unique and must have the liberty to express their unique individuality without fear and prejudice. We expect governments globally to look at the promotion of the welfare of all peoples, against criminality and discrimination.

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality bill goes against the grain of the protection of the human family and demonstrates State Sponsored discrimination against persons attracted to the same sex.

We believe in the rights of all persons to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. It is with this notion that we ask the government of Uganda to reconsider her position on the furtherance of this bill.

This bill will not only punish those consider offenders, it will punish the innocent people, break up family, interfere with honourable businesses, ruin people’s livelihoods, promote fear, discrimination and hatred.

Treaty bodies have repeatedly affirmed that laws criminalising homosexuality violate international rights to privacy and non-discrimination. As the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, Ms N. Pillay emphasized in December 2008, that, “there remain all too many countries which continue to criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex in defiance of established human rights law.”

The current penal code of Uganda Article 140 continues to threaten the existence of sexual minorities, and this law violates the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Uganda is a party.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Committee's 1994 ruling in the case Toonen v. Australia, laws criminalizing homosexual conduct violate the right to privacy protected by article 17 of the ICCPR. As you are aware, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has also found that arrests for consensual homosexual conduct are, by definition, human rights violations.

It is our hope that the bill will be reconsidered to promote rather than criminalise and alienate homosexuals in Uganda.

We now urge the Ugandan government to implement and take further action;

· To repeal the penal code and other criminal provision which criminalizes homosexual activity and or against consenting same sex conduct between consenting adults, and review other national legislation which results in the discrimination, prosecution and punishment of people solely for their sexual orientation or gender identity and bring this into line with the provisions of the ICCPR, particularly articles 2 and 26.
· We also ask the government to adopt measures to promote tolerance in this regard, to reject any attempt to create discriminatory new laws, and eliminate all existing legislation that discriminates based on sexual orientation and gender identity which would also facilitate more effective educational programmes for prevention of HIV/AIDS; and
· To provide legislators, law enforcement and judicial officials with specific training regarding the protection of human rights of sexual minorities.

Yours Faithfully,

Executive Board and Regional Members of
Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans And Intersex Association (PAI)

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