“no personal opinion, no religious belief, no matter how deeply held or widely shared can ever justify depriving another human being of his or her basic rights…”
By Cathy Kristofferson, March 11, 2014
Today advocates from the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRSL) filed a constitutional challenge to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA). The team that filed the petition consists of seven advocates from five law firms, who have consulted with at least 20 lawyers worldwide.
The petitioners maintain that the recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act violates the LGBT community’s right to privacy, freedoms of expression, assembly and association which are all guaranteed in the Ugandan Constitution.
The lead petitioners in this case include Prof. Joe Oloka-Onyango, Hon. Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, Andrew Mwenda, Prof. Morris Latigo, Dr. Paul Ssemugoma, Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera, Julian Pepe Onziema, Frank Mugisha, as well as the indigenous organisations Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) and the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).
The petitioners are an impressive group and include a Professor of Law as the leading petitioner, an MP who is among the authors of the minority report, a journalist/political commentator, a former leader of opposition, an openly gay medical doctor, along with the three LGBTI leaders (Kasha, Pepe and Frank) and the two organisations.
Additionally today, petitions were filed for a stay against implementation of the AHA, and also to stop the on going media outings by tabloids such as Red Pepper and Hello which have been mercilessly outing actual and perceived members of the LGBT community daily since Museveni’s ascension to the Law on February 24th.
Speaking at the press event following the filing, MP Fox Odoi said:
“I do not fear losing an elections, I fear a society that seeks to discriminate minorities. I cannot have my name there”
We will update with a copy of the petition when it becomes available. Until then we will sit in awe of the brave human rights defenders…
UPDATE: The Press Statement and Petition text: