Brown joins Harper against Uganda's Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has joined Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in speaking out against Uganda's Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009. Brown spoke to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held this weekend in Port of Spain, the capitol of Trinidad and Tobago.
President Museveni is also this year's CHOGM Chairman. So far, it does not appear that raising the issue of Uganda's anti-gay bill has divided the Commonwealth leaders, who hold deeply polarized views on homosexuality. The Commonwealth has the power to both suspend or expel Uganda from the Commonwealth if it does not respond to its demand to stop this bill from becoming law.
A Downing Street source said: "The Foreign Office will be following the passage of the bill closely and we will continue to do everything we can privately and publically to prevent its passage . . . it has been raised in the strongest terms at the highest possible level today."
The bill, which had its first reading in Parliament last month,would mean death or life imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality. Those found guilty of "promoting" homosexuality would also received harsh punishments.
The death penalty would be used against those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality"- a sexual act where one person has HIV or AIDS.
Gay rights groups have urged Commonwealth leaders to throw Uganda out of the Commonwealth unless it drops the proposed law.
Earlier this month, the Foreign Office told PinkNews.co.uk: "The adoption of the bill could do serious damage to efforts to tackle HIV and its criminalisation of organisations that support homosexuality could, in theory, encompass most donor agencies and international NGOs.
"The UK, alongside our EU partners, has raised our concerns about the draft bill and LGBT rights more broadly with the government of Uganda, including with the prime minister and several other ministers, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, and senior officials from the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"We will continue to track the passage of the bill and to lobby against its introduction."
Although Brown's discussions with President Museveni have not been made public, his spokesperson said that he raised the issues and that the British government's view on this matter was clear.
Brown's position was echoed by Canada's prime minister Stephen Harper. His spokesman said: "If adopted, a bill further criminalising homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda."
Previously on NowPublic by this Author:
US fundamentalist group at heart of Uganda's anti-gay law (November 26, 2009)
Uganda anti-gay bill has potential to divide Commonwealth leaders (November 25, 2009)
Museveni claims European gays are 'recruiting' Ugandan citizens (November 23, 2009)
Jefferson Awards winner recognizes genocide looming in Uganda (October 21, 2009)
Uganda's Daily Monitor raises its voice on behalf of defenseless (October 20, 2009)
Did Exodus conference in Uganda unleash anti-gay vigilantism? (October 19, 2009)
Human rights groups blast Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (October 18, 2009)
Exodus International Holding Bryce Faulkner Hostage? (July 16, 2009)
Most Recommended Comment
Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom