ISHR supports Global Day of Action against Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

10.02.2014

ISHR is joining with thousands of human rights defenders in Uganda and around the world to support a Global Day of Action against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was passed by the Ugandan parliament on 20 December 2013.

(Geneva) - A draconian 'anti-homosexuality' bill passed by the Ugandan parliament flagrantly violates international law and should be vetoed by the Ugandan President, the International Service for Human Rights said today.

ISHR is joining with thousands of human rights defenders in Uganda and around the world to support a Global Day of Action against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was passed by the Ugandan parliament on 20 December 2013.

'We stand in solidarity with the Ugandan Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Coalition of African Lesbians, Sexual Minorities Uganda and many other civil society organisations in condemning this Bill,' said ISHR Director Phil Lynch.

'The Anti-Homosexuality Bill would have wide-ranging and devastating impacts on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. It must not be signed into law,' Mr Lynch said.

The Bill criminalises a wide range of activities that are expressly protected by international law, including same-sex relations and the 'promotion of homosexuality'. Entry into a same-sex marriage is punishable by life imprisonment.

'This Bill is manifestly incompatible with international human rights law, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill is also clearly incompatible with the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, all of which are fundamental pillars of a safe, secure and democratic society,' Mr Lynch said.

ISHR is particularly concerned that, if allowed to stand, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will lead to an increase in homophobic violence, discrimination and harassment.

‘We are deeply concerned that this Bill not only criminalises same-sex relations and institutionalises discrimination, but also implicitly condones homophobic violence and harassment,’ Mr Lynch said.

The Bill has already been linked to an increase in the arrest, harassment and assault of LGBT persons in Uganda. 

ISHR is also deeply concerned at the Bill's provisions relating to the 'promotion' of homosexuality, which make it an offence to stand up or speak out for LGBT rights.

‘In addition to targeting same-sex relations, the bill targets human rights defenders who take a take stand for equality and against discrimination, effectively criminalising their work,’ Mr Lynch said.

'Human rights defenders play a crucial role in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. Their work is vital to developing an inclusive, healthly and prosperous society. The criminalisation of their work is not only contrary to Uganda's obligations under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, but a backward step for democracy and development in Uganda,' Mr Lynch said.

ISHR urges Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to urgently veto the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Contact: Phil Lynch, Director, International Service for Human Rights, on + 41 76 708 4738 or p.lynch@ishr.ch

Photo: Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Topic
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • LGBT rights
Country
  • Uganda