Uganda to drop death penalty, life imprisonment for gays
According to Uganda's Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting, the 'refined version' of the anti-homosexuality bill is expected to be ready for presentation to The Parliament of the Republic of Uganda in two weeks. The death penalty and life imprisonment penalties are being dropped to attract the support of religious leaders who are opposed to the penalties.
Uganda will drop the death penalty and life imprisonment for gays in a refined version of an anti- gay bill expected to be ready for presentation to Parliament in two weeks, James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of ethics and integrity, said.
The draft bill, which is under consideration by a parliamentary committee, will drop the two punishments to attract the support of religious leaders who are opposed to these penalties, Buturo said today in a phone interview from the capital, Kampala.
Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati presented a private member’s bill on Oct. 14 which sought the death penalty and life imprisonment for gay people in the country. The Ugandan government supports the bill because homosexuality and lesbianism are “repugnant to the Ugandan culture,” Buturo said. Still, it favors a more refined set of punishments, he said.
In addition to formulating punishments for the gay people, the bill will also promote counseling to help “attract errant people to acceptable sexual orientation,” said Buturo.
The proposed legislation has attracted a wide range of criticisms from religious, political, and human rights circles.
A joint statement issued by Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good was signed by dozens of religious leaders condemning the violence against Uganda's gays. The statement stems from a declaration by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Shori, who said:
"...(A)ttempts to export the culture wars of North America to another context represent the very worst of colonial behavior. We deeply lament this reality, and repent of any way in which we have participated in this sin."
In addition, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper against Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill at the Commonwealth Summit held in Port of Spain last month. Uganda's Daily Monitor raised its voice on behalf of the defenseless gays and lesbians, and Human rights groups blasted the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.
The joint statement by the rights groups, which include New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the bill would "criminalise the legitimate work of national and international activists and organisations working for the defence and promotion of human rights in Uganda."
Exactly what does a "refined" set of punishments mean? Even as it stands now, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill clearly violates the human right to non-discrimination, to be free from violence and harassment, the right to life, the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and freedom of movement.
If the Parliament of Uganda refuses to respect human rights and refuses to dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in its entirety, member nations should impose harsh sanctions against the government of Uganda.
Take Action: Tell Uganda To Respect Human Rights And Dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Previously on NowPublic by this Author:
No visible ties, Christian leaders denounce Uganda anti-gay bill (Dec. 9, 2009)
It's not so invisible anymore: 'The Family's' influence in Uganda (Nov. 28, 2009)
Brown joins Harper against Uganda's Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 (Nov. 28, 2009)
Harper to raise issue of Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill at Summit (Nov. 26, 2009)
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)
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