Four nations have taken preliminary action against the brewing human-rights disaster in Uganda.
As previously reported, passage is expected in January of a law requiring execution of Ugandan HIV-positive homosexuals and long prison sentences for pastors and family members who refuse to turn in someone they know to be gay. The law would also ban all speech that discusses homosexuality in a neutral or tolerant fashion, thus inhibiting health care and sound science, and it would effectively prohibit human-rights advocacy and legal defense of LGBT persons.
The penalty for homosexual orientation in Uganda is life imprisonment.
In Britain, according to PinkNews.co.uk, a spokeswoman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:
We are concerned by the introduction of a private member’s bill on anti-homosexuality in Uganda.
Adoption of the bill could do serious damage to efforts to tackle HIV and its criminalisation of organisations that support homosexuality could, in theory, encompass most donor agencies and international NGOs.
The UK, alongside our EU partners, has raised our concerns about the draft bill and LGBT rights more broadly with the government of Uganda, including with the prime minister and several other ministers, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, and senior officials from the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We will continue to track the passage of the bill and to lobby against its introduction.
France’s foreign ministry released a statement:
France expresses deep concern regarding the bill currently before the Ugandan parliament.
France reiterates its commitment to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In the United States, four members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning that the legislation had severe implications for the freedom and safety of gay people and for freedom of speech and public health in Uganda.
However, In Australia, the national senate declined to condemn the death-penalty and family-imprisonment legislation. According to the Sydney Star Observer, Joe Ludwig of the Labor Party told senators it was inappropriate for the Senate to hear such a resolution.
The Government’ view is that complex matters of international relations should not be considered in the Senate by means of formal motions. It is counterproductive for motions of this kind to single out one country,” he said, before restating the Government’ opposition to laws criminalising GLBT people.
As recently as last month … the Australian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva noted the importance of eliminating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Star Observer notes that the death-penalty legislation “is supported by the Ugandan Muslim Supreme Council, as well as the Orthodox, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and Anglican churches in Uganda.”
Now would be an appropriate time for the Episcopal Church USA to appeal to the Anglican Communion for an emphatic condemnation of antigay violence, execution, and censorship in Uganda.