By Melanie Nathan, February 17, 2013.
Warren Throckmorton, has published a draft copy of a Minority Report which apparently had made its way out of the Ugandan Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Committee on the Anti-homosexuality Bill. The Bill, otherwise known as The Kill the Gays Bill which had reached position number 3 last week on Uganda’s Parliament Order papers, in preparation for the Bill’s second reading in parliament, which may occur this week.
MP Fox Odoi, a member of Parliament’s committee on Legal Affairs has come out against the bill. According to the report Odoi notes that if lawmakers ignore his report and pass the bill, they will have set a wrong precedent–that government can enter or legislate what happens in your bedroom.
Throckmorton further notes: “While one may debate some of Odoi’s conclusions, he points to child protection proposals that are more in line with what proponents of the anti-gay bill say they want while at the same time pointing out that the anti-gay bill infringes on individual rights and does nothing to protect children.”
The Minority report which was written in November 2012 notes:
3. While the Members agree that there is the need for children to be protected against recruitment by homosexuals, The Members disagree that this is the law to protect the children since a closer analysis of the Bill also reveals that there are no specific clauses that provide for the protection of children against recruitment. The Members argue that in that regard there is a need for a comprehensive law to protect children against more than just homosexual recruitment and sex. This other law can protect children against child labour, violence, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, slave:ry and trafficking.
4. It should be noted that Uganda belongs to an International Polity and cannot afford to exclude herself from the rest of the world by way of enactment of this law. The introduction of this law contravenes many International conventions and treaties. which are already ratified by Uganda; Such as;
• The .African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (The Banjul’s Charter) ratified by Uganda on 10th May, 1986.
• The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Also Odoi seems to buy into the myth that gays can be “reformed” of being gay and uses that as a reason not to criminalize gays:
5. The Bill is discriminatory and rather than persecute the homosexuals in our society, the State should be trying to find ways to help them reform. (R-l’t») . In the wise ruling of Justice Mulenga of the Supreme Court “in the case of Andrew Mwenda and Onyango Obbo Vs The Attorney General, he states that, The duty to protect those we do not agree with is a duty we have over and above protecting those … that we agree with.
Odoi’s report can be read here and urges that Parliament scrap the entire bill, where it refers to the existing Penal Code prohibiting homosexuality as being sufficient.
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