Dear Ambassador Kamunanwire,
I am writing to express concern over the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” that is currently being considered in Uganda’s parliament. The parliamentary proposal represents a shocking assault on fundamental human rights and scientifically supported health interventions. In response, and in the belief that an attack on human rights anywhere is an attack on human rights everywhere, a group of human rights activists will gather tomorrow in Washington to express our concern with the bill. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss those concerns.
The bill, as introduced, appears to be one of the most extreme legal provisions ever proposed in any country. It would increase the penalty for consensual homosexual conduct to life in prison. It also limits the distribution of HIV information through a provision criminalizing the “promotion of homosexuality.” Beyond that, it creates a crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” punishing anyone who is HIV-positive with death for having consensual same-sex relations, even if the relations are informed and safe, and regardless of whether the person is even aware of his or her HIV-status. That provision is contrary to every established health protocol and frustrates efforts to create the necessary social and legal framework to reach vulnerable communities. Even more outrageous, the law also potentially exposes anyone in Uganda—including HIV outreach experts—to criminal sanction for failing to report suspected homosexuals to the government.
We are concerned that this proposal would also undermine our country’s ability to provide medically appropriate support for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in Uganda. The passage of this law will only make it more difficult to reach Uganda’s gay and bisexual men with HIV information, care and treatment, thereby seriously compromising the national HIV response and our own country’s substantial investment in Uganda’s health sector.
Thank you, Ambassador, for your attention to this important human rights issue. In view of the gravity of this situation, we would appreciate a meeting with you tomorrow, or at your earliest convenience.
The Council for Global Equality
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a proud member of the Council for Global Equality