Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill Threatens Progress Against AIDS
November 18, 2009—On Thursday, November 19, join human rights groups around the world to protest proposed legislation in Uganda that would criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality,” including the work of organizations that combat HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community.
Ugandan law already criminalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature”—a charge that has been used to prosecute men who have sex with men (MSM) and other LGBT people. The new bill would explicitly penalize homosexual activity with life imprisonment and would impose the death penalty on anyone committing “aggravated homosexuality,” which would include any sexual activity by LGBT people who are HIV positive.
Local activists say the bill is likely to pass, according to Kent Klindera, manager of amfAR’s MSM Initiative. Since 2007, the Initiative has supported the provision of HIV prevention, treatment, care, and other services for MSM through grassroots groups in many countries in Africa and the developing world. “MSM are one of the most vulnerable groups in Uganda when it comes to HIV/AIDS,” said Klindera. “If this bill passes, the work—and the lives—of our partners there will be severely threatened.”
Uganda’s proposed legislation has been widely decried by human rights groups around the world, including the African Services Committee, IGLHRC (the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission), Human Rights Watch, and Health GAP. These groups are organizing a protest in New York City on November 19, which will take place at 12:30 p.m. outside the Ugandan consulate at 336 East 45th Street. Similar events are also happening in Copenhagen, Ottowa, Pretoria, Washington, D.C., and other cities in the days leading up to Human Rights Day on December 10.