amfAR Supports Congressional Resolution Condemning Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda
Researchers say bill would imperil AIDS work in the country
For Immediate Release
Contact: Cub Barrett, Manager, Program Communications, (212) 806-1602, firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, February 3, 2010—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research commends leaders in Congress for Congressional action to condemn the “anti-homosexuality bill” under consideration in the Ugandan parliament.
The resolution (H.Res. 1064), introduced Wednesday by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), calls upon President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to express the “belief in the intrinsic human dignity of all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation” and the “unequivocal United States opposition” to the proposed bill. Furthermore, the resolution calls on President Obama and Secretary Clinton to ensure that investments in combating HIV/AIDS are “efficient, effective, and appropriate to the local epidemiology of the disease, including in Uganda.”
“The Ugandan legislation is a violation of human rights,” said Kent Klindera, manager of amfAR’s MSM Initiative, which provides support to grassroots organizations around the world—including a group in Uganda whose work would be outlawed under the terms of the proposed legislation and whose members would be imprisoned. “If enacted, the new law would force LGBT Ugandans further underground, undermining the efforts of local organizations to provide essential HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment education and services.”
Men who have sex with men (MSM) face a significantly higher risk of HIV infection than the general population. A 2007 analysis of data from 38 low- and middle-income countries found an overall HIV prevalence among MSM of 12.8 percent.
Although there have been recent reports that its harshest provisions may be scaled back, Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill as originally proposed would impose a range of severe punishments for homosexual acts, including the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes any same-sex sexual activity by people who are living with HIV. The legislation also calls for imprisonment of anyone who fails to report individuals who engage in homosexual acts—a provision that would effectively criminalize the efforts of all organizations working in LGBT communities, including those delivering lifesaving HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care.
“If passed, this legislation could undo Uganda’s widely noted success in combating AIDS and undermine the effectiveness of U.S. funding through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy. “If the U.S. is serious about seeing returns on its global health investments, our leaders need to work with all aid-recipient countries to help them decriminalize homosexual behavior.”
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.
“Ugandan Anti-Gay Legislation Threatens Human Rights, Reverses Gains in HIV/AIDS Fight, Berman Says”