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Monday, March 1, 2010

UN rights experts urge Uganda to redouble efforts to shelve anti-homosexuality bill

In November 2009, I reported on a new bill that was being presented before the Ugandan Parliament proposing a death penalty for homosexuality and "serial offenders" and a life sentence for "touching a person with homosexual intent".

Today, at the United Nations in Geneva, a media statement, entitled Uganda: last chance to shelve Anti-Homosexuality Bill should not be missed, warn UN human rights experts, was released. "With its third and final reading imminent before the Ugandan Parliament, two UN Special Rapporteurs voiced their deep concerns about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which, if adopted, would have an extremely damaging impact on the important and legitimate work of human rights defenders in the country, and would curtail fundamental freedoms."

Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, stressed, "The Bill would not only violate the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandan people, but would also criminalize the legitimate activities of men and women, as well as national and international organizations, who strive for the respect for equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The independent experts, UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, and the UN Special Rapporteur on health, Anand Grover, "urge Parliamentarians to refrain from adopting this draconian Bill". Read more here. 


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