Bill includes Life in Prison | Ugandan Speaker Rebecca Kadaga delivered her Xmas present to Ugandans, just one year later than promised
By Melanie Nathan, Dec 20, 2013. 7.00 AM
I have received several accounts that Uganda has passed the Anti-homosexuality Bill, once referred to as the The Kill the Gays Bill. The BBC is now reporting the same.
Helen Kawesa, spokeswoman for Uganda’s Parliament, told Warren Throckmorton today that the Bill has indeed passed. Apparently the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was affirmed by the lawmakers in Kampala during today’s session.
I have been watching the Bill and keeping an eye for some years and again these past months, and I thought it was odd that I have not seen the Bill appear on the Parliamentary Agenda for a while. However for months had suspected that it would be passed furtively. The West as a rule has also been so focused in Russia, that the ongoing attention given to Uganda seemed to diminish. Then came India’s recent Bill and one wonders if that could have added courageous license for the Ugandan lawmakers, who have long favored the Bill.
Kawesa confirmed to Throckmorton that Parliament’s website, did not indicate the Bill was on the Order papers, where it usually appears, but Kawesa said it was on the paper she had.
The Parliament also passed the Anti-Pornography Bill yesterday. However, according to Kawesa, the bill passed today is the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. We are all now waiting to see the copy of the revised Bill and one wonders if the death penalty has indeed removed and what amendments may have been made.
The parliament has come close to considering the bill several times since 2009.
BBC is also reporting the passage.
“The anti-homosexuality bill also makes it a crime punishable by a prison sentence not to report gay people.
The prime minister opposed the vote, saying not enough MPs were present.
The bill has been condemned by world leaders since it was mooted in 2009 – US President Barack Obama called it “odious”.
I am glad the parliament has voted against evil”, noted its sponsor and author, David Bahati MP
The BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala says the government knows there will be an international outcry, which could see some countries suspend aid to the country.
She says that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi might follow up on his complaints about a lack of quorum, while it remains to be seen whether President Yoweri Museveni will sign the bill into law.
There are several steps that the Bill should still need to go through. My understanding is the Museveni can return the Bill to Parliament, though he does not have actual veto power, because it is a private members Bill. We have yet to hear comment from the Presidency.
Frank Mugisha, award winning and out LGBT Ugandan activists has informed me this morning that the LGBT community will be ready to comment after Monday, “after all changes to the Bill have been incorporated.”
PLEASE KEEP AN EYE FOR UPDATES
UPDATE: Ugandan Monitor:
“After voting to pass the Bill into law MPs asked the President to assent to it fast enough so it becomes law. They also passed a motion thanking the House Speaker for the “gift”.
A protest is planned today in London at the Uganda House.
UPDATED 8:48 AM:
We would like to report that the Anti homosexuality bill has been passed by parliament of Uganda. It moved from the Second to the third reading before being passed in a matter of minutes this morning on the floor of parliament.
Although the bill wasn’t on the official order paper for today, the rules of procedure allow the speaker to allow an urgent matter to be put on the table of parliament.The Prime minister, tried to oppose the motion but the speaker refused.
The motion was moved by Hon. Mp Obua Ogwal Benson, Moroto County Mp.He is an opposition member of parliament.The only amendments we know on the bill that has been passed is that the death penalty has been replaced with life imprisonment for certain offences.Other than that,we believe that the bill has been passed in the same draconian state as it was in in 2009.This is a huge blow and set back for the LGBTI community and their allies in Uganda.The next step is for the bill to be sent to the president for signing.We believe that at this point, this is where we should focus our attention, as parliament has betrayed Human Rights in Uganda.In solidarity,Coalition Co-coordinators.Human Rights Defenders,
Frank Mugisha of SMUG has tweeted: “Ugandan MP Fox Odoi & author of the minority report, says he will challenge the anti gay bill in the constitutional court”
Tweets from Parliament Watch @pwatchug about what amendments were made to the Bill as it was passed. The full text is not yet available.
Amendments of #AHBill2009:clause 14 Failure to disclose the offense was deleted because the clause will be too hard to implement #AHBill2009
Amendments of #AHBill2009:Clause 12:a new clause was inserted which sentences any institution or person that conducts gay marriage to 7 yrs
Amendments of #Anti Homosexuality Bill2009 :clause 10; detention with intent to commit homosexuality was deleted fro the bill now Act.
Amendments :Clause 9(b) the words”either in Uganda or elsewhere”or” appearing at the end of the end of the sub- clauses 1(a) (b)were deleted
Amendments Clause 9 of #AHBill2009 was amended by deleting the words “etc ” in the head note, because it makes the head note appear vague
Update 12:23pm: Press Release – Sexual Minorities Uganda
Sexual Minorities Uganda: Outrage at the Passing of the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009
For Immediate Release
[Kampala, Uganda December 20, 2013]- Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has learnt with deep regret that the ninth Parliament of Uganda has passed the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009.
SMUG has learnt that the Bill as passed by Parliament maintains the prohibition of consensual same sex acts between adults and prescribes a penalty of life imprisonment for so-called repeat offenders. It also requires “persons in authority, including persons exercising religious or social authority to report offences under the Act within twenty four hours or else face imprisonment for three years or a fine.” Furthermore, the Bill maintains the offence of “Promotion of Homosexuality” against anyone who acts as an accomplice or in any way abets homosexuality and “related practices”.
“I’m outraged and disappointed that the Uganda parliament has acted in a very ignorant and irrational way” said Frank Mugisha the Executive Director, SMUG. “We shall fight this legislation TO THE END.” he asserts.
While the Bill is yet to be signed into law by the President, SMUG condemns in the strongest terms the haphazard manner in which Members of Parliament passed it with little if any regard to procedure and to whether it complies with the 1995 Constitution as the Supreme law of Uganda. SMUG has received reliable information that the Bill was passed without the requisite quorum despite protests from some Members of Parliament. There is also no evidence that the Bill was subjected to the Human Rights Checklist which the Speaker of Parliament launched late this year.
“Today will go down in history as the worst day for LGBTI identifying persons and human rights in general. The passing of the bill has caused significant panic even before its assented” Mr. Mawadri, SMUG Legal/Human Rights Officer.
Should the President assent to the Bill, it would greatly undermine the fundamental Constitutional Rights of equality and non-discrimination of Ugandan citizens who identify as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual (LGB). The Act would also have dire implications for the rights to privacy, assembly, association and speech in addition to other basics rights of members of the LGBTI community in Uganda. If assented to, the law would as well spell a major setback for the freedoms of association of human rights organisations engaged in the promotion of these rights. The law would also curtail Uganda’s gains against HIV/AIDS as it may compromise doctor-patient confidentiality, which could push LGB affect persons further underground for fear of prosecution.
SMUG reiterates that the Anti Homosexuality Bill undermines rather than upholds the family as it seeks to create fear and suspicion within families and societies and entrenches state sponsored homophobia.
The Act also undermines Uganda’s obligations under international and regional human rights instruments, which uphold the basic human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination.
SMUG calls upon; the President of the Republic of Uganda H.E Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni not to sign this bill into law so as to prevent its dire effects on human rights work and HIV/AIDS progress in Uganda.
We also call upon the entire international community to remind Uganda of its international treaty obligations and to join hands against the Anti Homosexuality Bill.
SMUG remains committed to pursue all possible lawful means to challenge the existence of such an intrusive law on Uganda’s Statute books, and to defend the fundamental human rights of sexual and gender minorities in Uganda.
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