Ugandan Legislator Reintroduces Anti-Gay Bill
Freedom House is alarmed by the Ugandan parliament’s decision to reintroduce anti-gay legislation, and welcomes the Ugandan government’s move not to support the parliament’s decision. Rather than contributing to the persecution of sexual minorities in the country, parliament must make every effort to ensure the safety of all lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT).
The anti-gay bill was reintroduced by Ugandan Member of Parliament David Bahati on February 7, 2011– Bahati authored a 2009 bill proposing the death penalty for repeated same-sex relations and life sentences in other instances. The latest version of the bill does not include the death penalty provision and reduces proposed prison sentences to two to seven years. The bill was influenced in part by a group of US evangelicals with close ties to Uganda, and stalled on multiple occasions after an international outcry; it was shelved in May 2011. The plight of homosexuals in Uganda has been the subject of much scrutiny. Since the introduction of the bill, harassment of gays has increased, according to gay rights groups. David Kato, an outspoken defender of LGBT rights, was beaten to death in January 2011 after his picture and address were featured on the front page of anti-gay Ugandan newspaper, Rolling Stone, along with 100 other LGBT activists with a headline reading, “Hang Them.” In a ruling hailed by human rights organizations globally, a Ugandan court later found that the newspaper violated their constitutional rights to privacy and safety, and the plaintiffs in the case were awarded damages.
Freedom in the World 2011: Uganda
Freedom of the Press 2011: Uganda