Uganda: anti-hate bill killed

Uganda: anti-hate bill killed

After an unprecedented global backlash that saw nearly 2,000,000 people sign a petition, a bill in Uganda which would have seen people executed for having same-sex relationships was dropped from the country’s Parliamentary agenda and expired.

The bill was believed to have been abandoned earlier this year after drawing criticism by world leaders including US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

However, in the dying days of parliament the bill was endorsed by a committee with the death penalty clause intact.

In the final 72 hours of the parliamentary session, online global activist group Avaaz collected more than 1.6 million signatures against the bill.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the US State Department, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and the head of the global Anglican Communion, Rowan Williams had all criticised the bill.

Uganda is currently in a state of political unrest. President Yoweri Museveni (pictured) has just been sworn in for his fourth term after 25 years in power, following a disputed election. Some commentators have suggested the anti-homosexuality bill may have been brought back to distract the country’s attention from a government crackdown on mass protests over high food and petrol prices.

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2 responses to “Uganda: anti-hate bill killed”

  1. Dear friends,

    Frank Mugisha and other brave human rights defenders delivering our petition to the Ugandan Parliament just before leaders dropped the gay death penalty law.
    Uganda’s anti-gay law has failed! It looked sure to pass last week, but after 1.6 million petition signatures delivered to Parliament, tens of thousands of phone calls to our own governments, hundreds of media stories about our campaign and a massive global outcry, Ugandan politicians dropped the bill!

    It was down to the wire – religious extremists tried to push the bill through on Wednesday, and then convened an unprecedented emergency session of Parliament on Friday. But each time, within hours, we reacted. A huge congratulations to everyone who signed, called, forwarded and donated to this campaign – with our help, thousands of innocent people in Uganda’s gay community do not wake up this morning facing execution for whom they chose to love.

    Frank Mugisha, a courageous leader of the gay community in Uganda sent us this message:

    “Brave Ugandan LGBT activists and millions of people around the world have stood together and faced down this horrendous anti-homosexuality bill.The support from the Avaaz global community has tipped the scales to prevent this Bill going forward. Global solidarity has made a huge difference.”

    The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs’ Office also wrote to Avaaz:

    “Many thanks. As you know, thanks to a very large extent to the intensive lobbying and combined effort of you, other civil society representatives, EU and other governments, plus our delegation and embassies on the ground the Bill was not presented to the Parliament this morning.”

    This fight is not over. The extremists behind this bill could try again within just 18 months. But this is the second time we’ve helped defeat this bill, and we’ll keep going until the hate-mongers give up.

    Transforming the deeper causes of ignorance and hatred behind homophobia is an historic, long term struggle, one of the great causes of our generation. But Uganda has become a front line in that struggle, and a powerful symbol. The victory there echoes across many other places where hope is desperately needed, showing that kindness, love, tolerance and respect can defeat hatred and ignorance. Again, a huge thanks to all who made it happen.

    With enormous gratitude and admiration for this amazing community,

    Ricken, Emma, Iain, Alice, Giulia, Saloni and the whole Avaaz team.

    Media highlights:

    Anti-gay bill shelved:

    Avaaz’s response to the outcome in the Guardian:

    Ugandan President did not back bill because of “criticism of human rights groups”:

    Anti-gay bill delayed amid outcry:

    Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill defeated:

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