Archive for the ‘Uganda’ Category

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

January 4, 2010

The Ugandan parliament is considering adopting a bill that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death or life in prison, and it would impose the same penalty for those infected with HIV/AIDS.  The legislation, the official title of which is The Anti-Homosexuality Bill,  was proposed by David Bahita in October 2009.  Discrimination and intimidation directed toward gays are widespread in Uganda and other parts of Africa, and some fear that the bill would precipitate more acts of violence against them and encourage other African nations to adopt similar laws.

Many governments, including the US, have protested the measure and some have threatened to cut financial aid to Uganda in an attempt to pressure Kampala to kill the bill.  Religious groups and human rights organizations have also condemned the legislation, but some evangelical leaders in America, including Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer, have been criticized for promoting the hostility toward homosexuals that led to the legislation in anti-gay speeches that they delivered to prominent Ugandans.

Thus far, the Obama administration has not publicly threatened to take any actions against Uganda if the Anti-Homsexuality Bill passes.  The US provides development and humanitarian assistance to the poor central African country, and it is helping its security forces battle the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the most brutal militant groups in the world which has committed the worst atrocities imagineable over the past two decades.  Ending or scaling back aid in response to passage of the appalling legislation would probably prove counterproductive and hurt average Ugandans more than their government, so the international community might have to find other ways of pressuring Kampala to change course.

Hopefully Western nations will persuade President Yoweri Museveni and other Ugandan leaders to prevent the bill from becoming law.  If they are unsuccessful, the parliamentary measure could be a precursor to an increase in hate crimes.

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