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Uganda ‘kill gays’ bill returns to parliament

Bill which gives death or life imprisonment to gays back on Uganda parliament’s agenda
Parliament of Uganda still discussing 'kill the gays' bill.
Photo by Andrew Regan.

Uganda’s ‘kill the gays’ bill is returning to the country’s parliament this week for debate, despite reports it was off the table.

The anti-homosexuality bill of 2009 includes the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and harsh prison terms for gay and lesbian sex.

Reports state that a meeting is scheduled for this week which will examine parliamentary business for the next session and will look at when the bill can be debated.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in Kampala confirmed to Gay Star News that the bill is back on the parliamentary agenda. Speaking last week in London, SMUG’s executive director Frank Mugisha predicted that if it gets to the floor of the house, the bill will be passed.

Uganda has faced a lot of international pressure to axe the bill, leading to the country’s ambassador to the USA, Perezi Kamunanwire, claiming the bill was ‘dead’ last month.

It has also been condemned by former South African president Thabo Mbeki during a visit to Uganda. And the debate is continuing despite the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon calling on African nations to respect LGBT rights.

Under the bill ‘aggravated homosexuality’ includes sex by a person who is HIV positive, is a parent, authority figure, or who administers intoxicating substances. Sex involving minors and the disabled is also ‘aggravated’ and repeat ‘offenders’ would get the death penalty too.

Other same-sex acts, and involvement in a lesbian or gay marriage would attract life imprisonment. And Ugandans may be extradited back home by the authorities, even if they have same-sex relations outside of the country.

There are also penalties in the bill for people, media, organisations or companies who don’t report gay people they know or support LGBT rights. The intention is to prevent any kind of gay liberation movement in the country.

It was originally tabled by MP David Bahati in 2009 as a private members bill. It stalled in 2010 but in October 2011, parliament voted to continue discussing it.

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