Uganda Law Society Opposes the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

I received this statement earlier today. Obviously, Uganda’s lawyers have great reservations about the Bahati bill.

 

UGANDA LAW SOCIETY VIEWS ON

THE ANTI HOMOSEXUALITY BILL

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposed to Parliament in 2009 would, if enacted into law, in its current state violate international human rights law and lead to further human rights violations.

The bill has been received with mixed feelings of both praise and strong criticism with  praise coming from the local populace and criticism from the international media, western governments, international and local gay rights, human rights, civil rights, and scientific organizations, world leaders, some Christian organizations including the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) is an institution that defends and promotes constitutionalism, the rule of law and the human rights of every Ugandan citizen. The ULS therefore in the same spirit acknowledges and defends 100% the rights of all citizens including the small percentage of the population living as homosexuals.

Predicted outcomes of this bill

If passed, the bill would institutionalize discrimination against those who are, or thought to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It would also reinforce the existing legislation against consensual sex between individuals of the same sex which legislation is itself contrary to international human rights norms. The bill would further purport to criminalise the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, compel HIV testing in certain circumstances, impose life sentences for entering into a same-sex marriage, introduce the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ homosexuality, as well as punish those who fail to report knowledge of any violations of its provisions within 24 hours.

Generally, the bill would violate the principle of non-discrimination and would lead to violations of the human rights to freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, liberty and security of the person, privacy, the highest standard of health, and to life. These rights are guaranteed under the Constitution of Uganda and in international and regional treaties to which Uganda is party, which include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter). Specifically under our Constitution the relevant provisions promoting protection and non-criminalization of minority activities as long as they are not contrary to the law are provided under –

Article 20(1) on inherent fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual; Article 21 on equality before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect as well as the enjoyment of equal protection of the law. Further, Article 24 requires that no person shall be subjected to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Discrimination and punishment basing on one’s sexual orientation is cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Article 29(1) (a), (b), (c), and (d) states every person shall have a right to freedom of speech and expression, freedom of thought, conscience and belief, freedom to manifest such practicewhich shall include the right to belong to and participate in the practices of any organization, freedom of association which shall include the freedom to form and join other civic organizations. The bill criminalizes all forms of publications and expression concerned or related to gay rights.

Article 36 requires the protection of rights of minorities in decision-making processes, and their views and interests shall be taken into account in the making of national plans and programs – the gay and lesbian community is a minority in Uganda.  And Article 45 saves other additional human rights and freedoms not specifically mentioned in the preceding articles and these rights include gay rights.

All these provisions when interpreted are to the effect that individual rights and freedoms should be respected as long as those rights don’t affect the enjoyment of other people’s rights.

The ULS is not in any way promoting homosexuality in Uganda but calling for the observance and protection of the rights of homosexuals as human beings, a minority group and as citizens of Uganda. We reckon that the spirit of the bill is for noble and moral intentions such as to protect the traditional family, children, youth and cherished cultural values among others. It should however be alive to the fact that we live in a multi–lateral society comprised of various rights, interests and freedoms and should either be tolerated, restricted but not criminalized or banished.

FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY 

James Mukasa Sebugenyi

PRESIDENT – UGANDA LAW SOCIETY

Email: president@uls.or.ug

  • Richard Willmer

    Since the Catholic Church is mentioned as one of the organizations ‘expressing concern’, here is the Statement again: http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=a9849daa-dd60-4028-adc0-2dfa024cb3a9

    Archbishop Lwanga has also voiced concern, of course; in his comments in December 2009 he expressed concern about, among other things, hanging or imprisoning people simply because they are gay.

  • Maazi NCO

    I received this statement earlier today. Obviously, Uganda’s lawyers have great reservations about the Bahati bill.

    Not really. If all lawyers in Uganda were polled, a vast majority will come out in favour of a revised Bahati Bill.

    UGANDA LAW SOCIETY VIEWS ON THE ANTI HOMOSEXUALITY BILL

    The Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposed to Parliament in 2009 would, if enacted into law, in its current state violate international human rights law and lead to further human rights violations.

    Look more like the personal opinions of James Mukasa Sebugenyi and couple of his close mates in the ULS. Like I said previously, most Ugandan lawyers favour the anti-gay bill with appropriate revisions. Nevertheless, I am sure that Western donors will be impressed with the write-up including the dishonest quotation of African Charter on Human Rights.

    Of course, James doesn’t tell his Western donor mates that the African Charter he is quoting has explicit clauses restricting individual rights and freedoms when they run contrary to common interests, morality and security. The Charter also speaks of “communal rights” and the promotion of African culture above all else.

    Archbishop Lwanga has also voiced concern, of course; in his comments in December 2009 he expressed concern about, among other things, hanging or imprisoning people simply because they are gay.

    The nuanced position of the Catholic church on gayism is well understood in the context of a Vatican being suffocated by the extreme pro-gay obssession of surrounding European nations. Uganda is not similarly surrounded by Europe and therefore there is no need for these nuances to be taken into account by our MPs. Besides, since when have gay sex propagandists respected the Catholic church’s opinion on the immorality of gayism??

  • Richard Willmer

    You sound a little rattled, ‘Maazi NCO MP’! (I think there may be more for you become ‘rattled’ over on the way …)

  • Richard Willmer

    BTW, I would agree that the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality per se is ‘nuanced’; its position on the Bahati Bill is NOT, and the Vatican Statement makes that very clear indeed. Even Ab+p Lwanga said quite clearly that the Bill is ‘unnecessary’, and stated plainly that key aspects of the Bill are contrary to ‘the core values of the Christian faith’. That’s not ‘nuanced’!

  • Richard Willmer

    (The ‘we-don’t-approve-of-homosexuality-but-we-approve-of-the-Bahati-Bill-even-less’ line is one I’ve heard from a considerable number of Ugandans with whom I’ve discussed the matter.)

  • Richard Willmer
  • Maazi NCO

    You sound a little rattled, ‘Maazi NCO MP’! (I think there may be more for you become ‘rattled’ over on the way …)

    Me rattled?? Ha, ha, ha, ha….I am confident that the ULS President is not speaking on behalf of majority of Ugandan lawyers. The other NGOs are also singing for their supper. These NGOs all receive generous funding from the West and therefore need to sing for the master. The Bahati Bill will be passed into law because it is backed by majority of Ugandans.

    The ‘we-don’t-approve-of-homosexuality-but-we-approve-of-the-Bahati-Bill-even-less’ line is one I’ve heard from a considerable number of Ugandans with whom I’ve discussed the matter

    People who speak like that are engaging in double-talk. Saying nice things about gayism to westerners to continue receiving western donor funds. And then in private conversations with other Ugandans say the exact opposite thing

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2012/02/17/uganda-human-rights-coalition-opposes-the-anti-homosexuality-bill/

    So a bunch of Western-funded fringe NGOs in Kampala make some noise in favour of the foreign masters and MPs are supposed to take them seriously??

  • Pingback: Uganda: Myndighetene stengte LHBT-konferanse | Homonytt fra hele verden

  • Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » Uganda Law Society Opposes Anti-Homosexuality Bill


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X