I almost cannot believe it. That Orombi and Zac Niringiye have signed this petition against the Bill?
What a Change of Heart!
Here is the Press Release.
Press Release: March 31, 2009
Leading African clergy and civil society groups call on
to stop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill Uganda
Leading African clergy and prominent individuals, as well as more than 60 civil society and human rights groups from 10 sub-Saharan African countries have endorsed a statement calling on the President, Government and Parliament of Uganda to reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in its entirety.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill provides for severe punishment, inclusive of imprisonment, for those engaging in same sex relations, as well as for members of the public who fail to report such activities to the authorities. The original draft also provides for the death penalty and life imprisonment. The Bill has already gone through the first reading in Parliament and is now before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. “We are very concerned that it could become law within a few weeks or months”, said Adrian Jjuuko, Coordinator of Uganda's Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law.
The statement has been endorsed by leading African clergy such as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala, the Most Reverend Henry Luke Orombi; the current Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Dr. Thabo Cecil Makgoba; the Suffragan Bishop of
, the Right Reverend Zac Niringiye; and Bishop Jo Seoka, Bishop of Pretoria. Others endorsing the statement include jurists, academics, truth commissioners and human rights activists. Kampala
In the declaration, the endorsing individuals and organizations reaffirm their commitment to the universality of the human rights of all persons. They note that “all forms of discrimination, in particular against vulnerable groups, undermine the human dignity of all in
Africa”. The statement declares that the Bill “promotes prejudice and hate and encourages harmful and violent action against marginalized groups in Africa”.
“Civil society organisations throughout Africa are mobilizing to persuade Ugandan Parliamentarians to block this pernicious Bill”, said Godwin Bua, a lawyer with the Refugee Law Project in
. “If it is passed, even in diluted form, it would constitute a massive setback for human rights in Kampala Africa”, Bua said.
The statement calls on African governments and the African Union to call on the President and Government of Uganda to withdraw the Bill and to respect the human rights of all in
, without exception. Uganda
The list of individuals and organizations continues to grow and will be updated regularly. The full list can be viewed at www.ugandans4rights.org and www.alp.org.za.
CALL BY AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY: REJECT THE ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL
We, the individuals and organisations from African countries listed hereunder, recognise the universality of the human rights of all persons.
We affirm that the right of men and women to have same sex relationships is a fundamental human right.
We are further guided in the knowledge that all forms of discrimination, in particular against vulnerable groups, undermine the human dignity of all in
We are therefore profoundly disturbed by the nature, content and potential impact of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (“the Bill”) that was recently tabled in and is currently being considered by the Parliament of Uganda.
We believe that the Bill, if enacted, will cut deeply into the fabric of Ugandan society by–
· Violating the rights of an already vulnerable and severely stigmatised group of persons by attacking their dignity, privacy and other constitutionally protected rights;
· Disrupting family and community life by compelling everyone, by the threat of criminal sanction, to report those suspected of engaging in same-sex sexual activity;
· Seeking to withdraw
from the family of nations by reneging on the country’s international law obligations; Uganda
· Undermining public health interventions such as HIV prevention, treatment, care and support;
· Promoting prejudice and hate and encouraging harmful and violent action to be taken against those engaging in same sex relations.
We respectfully call on the Parliament of Uganda to reject the Bill in its entirety.
We also call on African governments and the African Union to call on the President and Government of Uganda to withdraw the Bill and to respect the human rights of all in
, without exception. Uganda
and then, of course follow s the list of people. Desmond Tutu first. But, Orombi also. Wow!
I have to savour the moment.