Health

Kazibwe: Uganda Must Repeal Anti-Gay Law

ed http://concasol.org/wp-content/plugins/revslider/inc_php/framework/image_view.class.php sans-serif; font-size: 9pt; line-height: 200%;”>Kazibwe, medicine who is the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for HIV/AIDS in Africa, said in a statement seen by Chimpreports on Monday that since her appointment in August 2013, “I have as my top priority linked human rights and the AIDS response.”


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She added: “In recent months, I have engaged with governments, public officials and civil society leaders in Africa, where we are seeing a dangerous resurgence of discrimination and homophobia in some countries.


In Uganda, I highlighted to President Museveni that the criminalization of homosexuality only serves to fuel stigma and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons and risks undermining the national AIDS response, which is otherwise making significant progress.”


Kazibwe further said in her meetings with members of Parliament, she expressed extreme caution that the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act would have negative public health implications and serious consequences for Uganda’s international reputation and support from donors.


“While the most odious provisions of the original bill prohibiting the “promotion” of gay rights and the death penalty provision were dropped, it is with deep regret that, despite my efforts, the President of Uganda recently signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law.”


The new law criminalises, outlaws and provides tough jail terms for same sex relationships in the country.


It further provides a fourteen year jail term for one convicted for the offence of homosexuality; and imprisonment for life for the offence of aggravated homosexuality.


According to Parliament, the legislation seeks to establish a comprehensively consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any government entity in Uganda or any other non-governmental organization inside or outside the country.

The Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said in its Report, “The Bill aims at strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family.”


The Committee also said that there is need to protect the children and youth of Uganda who are vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviations as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child development settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption and foster care.


The international community and civil society groups have since castigated Museveni for endorsing the law, saying it violates human rights of minority groups.


Some countries and donor groups have as well delayed aid to bolster Uganda health services until they receive assurances that lesbians and gays would not be discriminated in health service delivery.


Health Minister Ruhakana Rugunda told BBC last month that Uganda would maintain its non-discriminative approach in the health sector.

Kazibwe reacts


Nevertheless, Kazibwe said she stands in full support of the Secretary-General’s leadership and UNAIDS’ position and engagement on this issue.


“In my capacity as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, I am working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that the Act is subjected to a regulatory impact assessment, and the Minister of Health of Uganda has also made public assurances that the Act will not undermine the Government’s policy of non-discrimination in the delivery of health services.

I am in full solidarity with the LGBT community and I will continue to defend their rights in Uganda and across Africa. Rest assured of my unwavering support and action for the realization of the rights for every human being, which has been my struggle since childhood. I will not reverse my path.”


She promised to “continue to engage with the Government of Uganda and civil society organizations on this important matter, and I continue to urge the Government of Uganda to revise or repeal the Anti-Homosexuality Act at the earliest opportunity.”

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