Friday, February 7, 2014

Monday, February 10: Global Day of Action Against Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill


On Monday, February 10, Global Rights and dozens of other human rights organizations will participate in an international “Day of Action” against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill

This global advocacy campaign was initiated by the Ugandan Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitution Law, a coalition of 51 Ugandan human rights groups that was formed in 2009 to prevent the passage of the anti-homosexuality bill.

The notorious “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda was first introduced in 2009 but was quickly shelved due to international pressure. England and other European nations threatened to withdraw international aid if the bill became law. U.S. President Barack Obama called it “odious.”

Regrettably, however, the anti-gay bill did not disappear. Reintroduced without the death penalty clause, the bill passed with a majority vote in the Ugandan Parliament on Dec. 20, 2013. The bill includes life sentences for persons convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”

The good news is that the bill has yet to become law, and we concerned human rights advocates can play a role to ensure that it never does.

As part of the planned events for February 10, Global Rights and other rights groups will hold a demonstration from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in front of Ugandan Embassy, located in Washington at 5911 16th St, NW. We and the other participating organizations have also launched a social media campaign to galvanize support to strike down the draconian bill. We encourage you to join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #stopAHB.

As was evident in 2009, the international community holds immense power to shape Ugandan legislation and safeguard the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Uganda. We at Global Rights strongly believe that in our role as human rights advocates, we must defend the rights of all marginalized groups, whether they are LGBT persons, women, or ethnic and religious minorities.

We are currently working with LGBT-rights advocates in Cameroon—where more people are prosecuted for being gay than anywhere in the world—to strengthen legal assistance for people charged or convicted for homosexuality.  In Sierra Leone, we are working with LGBT- and mainstream rights organizations on an advocacy campaign to advance the rights of LGBT individuals.  Our work in Sierra Leone is largely informed by the first-ever report about the discrimination faced by the Sierra Leonean LGBT population, which we drafted in collaboration with our local partner organizations.

Thirty-eight of Africa’s 54 countries have laws against homosexuality. Brave people there are fighting for equality, but they can’t do it alone. We encourage you to spread the word about the Ugandan bill and to help ensure that all Africans—irrespective of gender identity and sexual orientation—receive equal treatment under the law.

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