Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill?
Uganda decided in February to close the UN human rights office that was in their country. This office was set up in 2006 to keep an eye on human rights violations in Ugandan areas that were at war. In 2009, the office’s mandate was expanded to cover all human rights issues across Uganda.
Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that the UN’s human rights office came to monitor violations during a war period that ended two decades ago. Therefore, Uganda no longer needed the UN’s office for human rights because the country is at peace and the current government is committed to promoting the human rights that are written in their constitution.
When the UN’s office for human rights closed, Ugandan activists said that the office was still needed to show the “worsening record” of civil liberties in the country.
In March, Uganda’s parliament passed an anti-homosexuality bill.
Supporters of the bill say it’s necessary to protect children from “an array of LBGTQ activities” that threaten to erode the country’s traditional values. The bill bans promoting and abetting homosexuality and conspiring to engage in homosexuality. Any one guilty of aggravated homosexuality — which involves gay sex with persons under 18 or when the perpetrator is HIV positive — will be executed.
Anti-gay legislation isn’t uncommon in Africa.
More than 30 African countries, including Uganda, ban same-sex relations, but Uganda’s latest anti-homosexuality bill is unprecedented because it goes beyond sexual acts. Human Rights Watch says Uganda’s latest legislation makes it illegal for individuals to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.
Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill one of the worst of its kind in the world. He also said, “If signed into law by the president, it will render lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in Uganda criminals simply for existing.”
Traditionalists around the world have shown support for Uganda by stating a sovereign nation has the right to make laws in accordance with their traditional values.