UK: Over 100 MPs and peers write to Uganda’s President urging him to amend anti-gay bill

February 13, 2014
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More than one hundred MPs and peers have signed an open letter to President Yoweri Museveni, calling on him to amend Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Prominent signatures include Labour’s former culture secretary Dame Tessa Jowell, Tory MP and former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, and Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron.

The letter says to President Museveni: “Across all parties represented in the United Kingdom Parliament, there is immense anxiety that Uganda doesn’t send a message about itself to the world that it aligns its values with one of the more regressive and regrettable parts of the British colonial era and not in a way consistent with a growing global consensus that sexuality is innate and all people deserve the proper protection of a universal standard of human rights and freedom from discrimination. The LGBT Ugandans who you represent must be no exception.”

In December, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

However, President Yoweri Museveni will reportedly only sign Uganda’s anti-gay bill into law if he has proof that gay people are ‘made’ and ‘not born’ into their sexuality.

President Museveni announced he would currently not be signing the bill last month, leading to a furious response from MPs who support the law.

Attached to the letter is a reference to the adjournment debate which Conservative MP Crispin Blunt organised on Wednesday night.

In his speech Mr Blunt argued that Britain should impose a travel ban and strict sanctions on Uganda’s politicians if President Museveni approves the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Reflecting on the debate and the letter, Crispin Blunt stated: “Ugandan activists have asked that we act and so we should.

“The UK cannot be seen to abdicate its special responsibility. Let us hope, for the sake of LGBT Ugandans and the reputation of Uganda, that my parliamentary colleagues and I can give President Museveni cause to act consistently with the tide of scientific understanding and history.”

Sexual Minorities Uganda have suggested the following amendments to the bill – which those who have signed the letter support.

They include:

  • To make sexual offences laws gender neutral
  • To ensure a system of mandated reporting of child abuse
  • To commit the government to addressing risk factors associated with child sexual exploitation
  • To prevent discriminatory access to healthcare in line with Uganda’s own HIV Prevention and Control Bill 2010

More: Africa, anti-gay law, anti-gay laws, crispin blunt, homophobic law, homophobic laws, MPs, Peers, President Yoweri Musveni, Uganda, Uganda, yoweri museveni

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