Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Receives International Criticisms, Parliament Debate Delayed

By on May 12, 2011 in Africa, International, Politics, World Comments

Uganda‘s parliament was forced to delay its plans to debate the anti-gay bill on Wednesday after female legislators walked-out over an unrelated bill, several news sites reported today. However, officials indicated that the lawmakers will stil debate on the controversial bill on Friday.

David Bahati
David Bahati, Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill Author
Image Credit: The MadDow Blog

According to reports, the original proposed bill would mandate death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV. Anyone who gets convicted of a homosexual act would face life imprisonment. Furthermore, anyone who allowed people in committing homosexual acts – including landlords who rented houses or rooms to gay people – would face seven years in jail.

David Bahati, the bill’s author reportedly said that a new version of the bill will not contain the death penalty. However, reports said that the new version has not been released publicly.

The controversial bill receives international criticisms. U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly condemned it as “odious.” Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International strongly oppose the bill.

“It is deeply alarming that the Ugandan parliament is again considering this appalling bill, which flies in the face of human decency and violates international human rights law,” Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International‘s deputy director for Africa, was quoted saying.

The U.S. State Department opposed the bill. “If adopted, a bill further criminalizing homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda,” Hilary Fuller Renner, a spokeswoman for the State Department‘s Bureau of African Affairs reportedly said.

Avaaz and Allout, internet groups that are strongly against the bill, have reportedly collected more than 1 million internet signatures on their online petitions.

Meanwhile, U.S. Representative Barney Frank reportedly said in a statement that he would urge the US government to oppose any aid to Uganda from international institutions that the US belongs to, such as the African Development Bank and World Bank, if the bill becomes a law.



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