African Human Rights Coalition, May 29, 2023: Uganda's President of 33 years, Yoweri Museveni, has signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, an aged dictatorial grasp at holding onto power. The hype in the country for the need for such legislation among the populace follows a decade or more of scapegoating and lies that placed gays, lesbians, trans and bisexual people squarely responsible for the ills the land, a land so steeped in corruption and oppression of freedoms. This has given Museveni his perfect shield to hind behind, averting the real reasons for the country's problems, with its very trajectory reminiscent of Hitler's hold on Germany where Jews became the target, ending in genocide.
"We have stood strong to defend our culture" said Ugandan Parliament's speaker Anita Among, as she thanked Museveni, with an announcement that stirs the very violence one can now expect against Ugandans who are LGBTQI+ or perceived as such. But the community is ready to fight in Court.
I am informed by Uganda's leading activists that a lawsuit is ready to go. This new law is clearly unconstitutional and it will be challenged in the courts immediately. Museveni in signing this Kill the Gays Act has in essence declared war with the World, where now the country will be subject to major sanctions and the withholding of aid. As the people will suffer more, the gays will be further blamed. African Human Rights Coalition's (AHRC) Melanie Nathan notes: "Today, horrific legislation targeting LGBTI people was signed into law, in UGANDA , establishing long-term prison, and the death penalty for so called aggravated homosexuality. This law robs people of basic human rights and freedoms and sets up Ugandan LGBTQI+ people for further hunting, physical violence, and a possible impending genocide, forcing them into hiding and to flee their own country.
We are heading into global Pride Month. There should not be a single #PRIDE message appearing on social media without mention of solidarity, for the LGBTQI community of Uganda, with a call to outrage and action. It is impossible for us as communities to treat this coming month of June, as celebration without acknowledging what is happening to our LGBTQI+ family in Uganda. If we sit back these heightened anti-Homosexuality and Kill the Gays laws will spread throughout the Continent. It is time for multinational corporations to speak out, governments to suspend aid and call for sanctions.
Countries have a choice. While we respect sovereignty, Uganda cannot have it both ways. Its desire to trade and function globally, rather than isolate, means it has no choice but to do a better job of navigating its human rights record versus its desire to legislate sovereign laws. The message is - a country cannot function globally if it robs people of basic human rights and must grow up to self-sustain in its isolation. That said the unconstitutional laws that infringe human rights will now be tested by the independent Ugandan courts. It is going to take some brave judges in a populace where 90% want to rid the country of its gays, lesbians, bi and trans people."
The way this has been spun by the Ugandan press to its readers, noting that over 85% of Ugandans support the law.
Headline in UGANDAN PRESS: President Museveni has finally assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 to make it law.
"The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among revealed the development on Monday.
“His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has executed his constitutional mandate as prescribed by Article 91 (3) (a) of the Constitution. He has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Act,” Among said in a tweet.
“As the Parliament of Uganda, we have answered the cries of our people. We have legislated to protect the sanctity of family as per Article 31 of the Constitution of Uganda. We have stood strong to defend our culture and aspirations of our people as per objectives 19 & 24 of national objectives and directive principles of state policy.”
Having been passed by parliament, President Museveni returned the Anti-Homosexuality bill back to parliament for improvement.
This followed advice by the Attorney General to President Museveni asking him not to assent to the bill in its current form.
The Attorney General, who is the chief legal advisor for government said the new law provides for mandatory death sentence for a person convicted of aggravated homosexuality which he said is in contravention with articles 21, 22(1), 28, 44(a) and 44(c) of the Constitution.
He said the Constitutional Court t has already itself on laws concerning mandatory death sentence which he said is inconsistent with the constitution.
According to the Attorney General, the new law risks violating the principle of separation of powers when it prescribes mandatory death sentence as it doesn’t not give the judiciary discretion to determine an appropriate sentence.
He cited several other provisions in the new law that he said need to be revised by parliament before it is assented to - by the president or else it risks being challenged in courts of law on grounds of being unconstitutional.
Consequently after making amendments, parliament passed the Anti gay bill for the second time.
The Speaker of Parliament has hailed the president for finally assenting to the bill that she said will protect the Ugandan cultures.
“I thank His Excellency, the president, for his steadfast action in the interest of Uganda. With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country. By their action, we have lived by our motto, for God and our country,” Among said.
“We shall always stand for and promote the interest of the people of Uganda. I now encourage the duty bearers under the law to execute the mandate bestowed upon them in the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The people of Uganda have spoken, and it is your duty to now enforce the law in a fair, steadfast, and firm manner.”
The development comes on the backdrop of fears expressed by members of the public, including Members of Parliament over the ability by the president to assent to the law. Many said by assenting to the law, Uganda risked sanctions from the west.
However, speaking to Daily Monitor recently, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem said whereas government recognizes the threat of sanctions, it wont be backing down.
Please note: The death penalty, despite being returned to Parliament, remains in the final Act.
African Human Rights Coalition's (AHRC) Melanie Nathan notes: "This new Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, otherwise known as The Kill the Gays Bill, is now law of the land in Uganda. The law provides license for the continued abuse and persecution of Uganda's LGBTQI+ community, as ordinary citizens and government actors will use it to justify their own criminality such as the assault, blackmail, rape, torture and murder, exacted against the gay and queer community. Now state and non-state actors have their license to do even more and even worse, as they have been fed the lie that 'gays are abominations, deviants and Satanic criminals, out to hurt and recruit children.' Every aspect of life for the LGBTQI+ person in Uganda is impacted as Ugandans now interpret the Act as meaning a person is a criminal simply because they identify as LGBTQI+. Even though "Being LGBTI a crime" was taken out of the Bill, Ugandans are now licensed to believe that one's very existence is criminal and so with this law, the platform for genocide has been established. Many in Uganda's LGBTQI+ community are desperately trying to flee the country. Some have already done so. Structures by community human rights defenders, on the ground, are proving to be inadequate, as people are reporting that their requests are not receiving attention. However such is complicated. Trust is being whittled down as a dangerous "who can we trust" environment is developing, with many opportunists trying to make a buck off this terrifying situation.
AHRC is one of few organizations providing resources for those forcibly displaced as a result of the law. We are in contact with people in hiding and assisting others who are fleeing. But our fund is low and our partners few. All the while big multinational corporations, such as Citibank and U.S. hotel chains, and others continue to make money in Uganda and have remained dead silent since passage of the Bill first occurred in March. It is time now for fast action by any global group operating in Uganda. While backlash is feared, activists are saying that the world must show it is on the side of human rights for all."
Melanie Nathan is a country conditions expert witness testifying on behalf of Ugandans who seek asylum in the United States of America: Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Uganda:
The United States annual Human Rights Report notes the following in its general Executive summary about Uganda's dismal human rights record: for 2022:
"Uganda is a constitutional republic led since 1986 by President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement party. In 2021, voters re-elected Museveni to a sixth consecutive five-year term and returned a National Resistance Movement majority to the unicameral parliament. The elections fell short of international standards and included allegations of arbitrary killings and disappearances of opposition supporters, disenfranchisement and voter intimidation, harassment of the opposition, closure of social media websites, and lack of transparency and independence in the Electoral Commission.
The national police maintain internal security, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs oversees police. The president detailed army officials to leadership roles within police and the executive, including government ministries. The law allows the military to support police operations to maintain internal security. The Ministry of Defense oversees the army. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. There were reports that members of the security forces committed numerous abuses, with only a few low-ranking officers purportedly punished.
Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; forced disappearance; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by government agencies; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention; political prisoners or detainees; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; punishment of family members for alleged offenses by a relative; serious abuses in a conflict, including unlawful civilian harm; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including violence, threats of violence, and unjustified arrests or prosecution of journalists, and censorship; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws on the organization, funding, or operation of nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations; serious flaws with citizens’ ability to determine their government through free and fair elections; serious and unreasonable restrictions on political participation; serious government corruption; serious government restrictions on or harassment of domestic and international human rights organizations; lack of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence, including domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and child, early, and forced marriage; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex persons; and existence of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, albeit not fully enforced.
The government was reluctant to investigate, prosecute, or punish officials who committed human rights abuses or engaged in corruption, whether in the security services or elsewhere in government, and impunity, including for serious abuses, was a problem."
And yet we continued to do business as usual with Uganda, for decades of this oppression, but now the Gays will be blamed, because America cannot turn its back any longer with the Kill the Gays Bill being the last straw. This, the last straw to finally bring sanctions will be because of the LGBTI issue, where all along it could have been because of extensive general human rights abuses.
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THE SPEAKER APPLAUDS THE PRESIDENT HERSELF AND THE COUNTRY with rhetoric that serves to kill: