ITUC shocked by the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, but a new draft bill proposes introducing the death sentence for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for a second time, as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV.

It would also criminalise the public promotion of homosexuality with a sentence of up to seven years in prison for anyone convicted.

First introduced in 2009, the proposed bill was initially shelved following international condemnation. But yesterday the bill was put on the agenda of the Parliament whose session ends mid-December.

This means that the bill might be debated as early as today or over the next several weeks. A speaker of the Ugandan parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has urged the Parliament to adopt this legislation before the end of the year as a “Christmas gift” for the Ugandan people. Yet the bill establishes a dangerous precedent for the persecution of any minority group in the country, and was moved forward without input from civil society and relevant stakeholders in violation of Uganda’s own parliamentary practice and democratic principles.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “This draft bill is extremely shocking, and we hope Ugandan members of parliament will reject it. No one should be sentenced to death or imprisonment just for being gay. This appalling piece of legislation in Uganda is the latest of a series of attacks on the rights of gay men and lesbians in several countries. The ITUC demands that all laws criminalising homosexuality, wherever they exist, be repealed.”