The east African nation of Uganda is on the verge of passing a bill criminalizing homosexuality. There is a growing campaign against homosexuals in Uganda which has culminated in the draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill. David Bahati, the bill’s author, has gone on record stating “Homosexuality is not part of the human rights we believe in” that the legislation is about promoting family values.

The bill, which is still in committee stage, proscribes the death penalty for “serial offenders” and is expected to pass with little opposition and with a few minor changes. The changes are expected to include modifying the death penalty to life imprisonment, altering clauses nullifying international treaties, conventions and protocols that contradict the act, and removing a section about extradition.

“It’s catastrophic. People are being arrested, intimidated already. What’s going to happen if it’s passed?” said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group.

Kate Sheill, Amnesty International’s expert on sexual rights, has issued the statement that “Certain provisions in this bill are illegal. They are also immoral. They criminalize a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse.”

The legislation is seen as another sign of the growing impact of U.S. evangelicals and anti-gay campaigners in Uganda. This stance taken by activists is countered by Bahati who has stated that homosexuality is a Western import, joining some Ugandan and continental religious leaders who believe it is un-African.

The act will criminalize anyone “who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality”, and a person in authority who “aids, abets, councils or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality”.

Frank Mugisha of SMUG has stated “We’re not going to stop. We’re going to challenge it in the constitutional court. The bill is not just about homosexuals, it can touch anyone.”

The east African nation of Uganda is on the verge of passing a bill criminalizing homosexuality. There is a growing campaign against homosexuals in Uganda which has culminated in the draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill. David Bahati, the bill’s author, has gone on record stating “Homosexuality is not part of the human rights we believe in” that the legislation is about promoting family values.

The bill, which is still in committee stage, proscribes the death penalty for “serial offenders” and is expected to pass with little opposition and with a few minor changes. The changes are expected to include modifying the death penalty to life imprisonment, altering clauses nullifying international treaties, conventions and protocols that contradict the act, and removing a section about extradition.

“It’s catastrophic. People are being arrested, intimidated already. What’s going to happen if it’s passed?” said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group.

Kate Sheill, Amnesty International’s expert on sexual rights, has issued the statement that “Certain provisions in this bill are illegal. They are also immoral. They criminalize a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse.”

The legislation is seen as another sign of the growing impact of U.S. evangelicals and anti-gay campaigners in Uganda. This stance taken by activists is countered by Bahati who has stated that homosexuality is a Western import, joining some Ugandan and continental religious leaders who believe it is un-African.

The act will criminalize anyone “who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality”, and a person in authority who “aids, abets, councils or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality”.

Frank Mugisha of SMUG has stated “We’re not going to stop. We’re going to challenge it in the constitutional court. The bill is not just about homosexuals, it can touch anyone.”

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