The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid issued the following statement today (17 February) on the subject of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda:
I am utterly appalled that Uganda’s President Museveni is intending to sign into law a bill that would make homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison. It is particularly shocking that he is basing his decision on the claim that homosexuality has spread in society because of social factors.
Human rights are indivisible. All people have the right, anchored in law, to be protected from discrimination, persecution and violence irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Uganda has an obligation under its own constitution as well as international agreements to guarantee the protection of human rights. I call on President Museveni to revise his decision and not sign this bill into law.
In Uganda, as in 79 countries around the world, homosexual acts are a punishable offence – although no‑one is known to have been sentenced for such offences in recent years. A new Anti‑Homosexuality Bill is now intended to increase the maximum sentence. The Ugandan parliament passed the bill on 20 December 2013. President Museveni previously refused to sign it into law but announced on 14 February 2014 that he now intended to sign after receiving reports from medical experts alleging that homosexuality was caused by social rather than genetic factors.