The Ugandan government has released a statement on the Anti-Homosexuality Act, claiming it is not anti-gay.
Not getting the clue from the law’s title, Ugandan officials have taken a page from Russia’s book to say the law is about protecting children – not hunting down homosexuals.
The statement claims it was ‘misinterpreted as a piece of legislation intended to punish and discriminate against people of “homosexual orientation”, especially by our development partners.’
Perhaps realising they might need that aid from the West after all, the Ugandan government has said ‘no activities of individuals, groups, companies or organizations will be affected by the Act’.
The Act’s only purpose, they say, is to ‘stop promotion and exhibition of homosexual practices’.
They also say they will:
- Remain committed to the protection of the rights of all individuals on the territory of Uganda and to ensure that nobody takes the law into their hand.
- Remain committed to guaranteeing full access to social services, including health and HIV/AID services for all persons in Uganda without discrimination
- Will continue to guarantee equal treatment of all persons on the territory of Uganda and respect the constitutional provisions on the right to privacy
Responding to the Ugandan government’s action after international pressure, gay rights activists have described the statement as ‘welcome’.
Frank Mugisha said: ‘Welcome steps taken by Ugandan government to ensure non-discrimination & non-violence towards LGBT Ugandans.
‘We call for entire repeal of AHA’
The US cut aid to Uganda last month, with President Obama describing it as a ‘step back for all Ugandans’.
In response, President Yoweri Museveni said it is ‘sinful’ for other countries to demand gay rights in return for aid.
Since the anti-gay bill was passed, at least 17 Ugandans – mostly under the age of 25 – have attempted suicide. Other consequences of the anti-gay law include arrests, evictions, homes burned down, blackmail, attempted lynchings, kidnappings and torture.
The law punishes homosexuality, explicitly, with life in prison.