By Melanie Nathan, April 21, 2023
As previously reported, the ruling NRM Party caucus agreed with the President of Uganda to return the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, other wise known as the Kill the Gays Bill to Parliament.
According to HRAPF, an Ugandan legal services and human rights organization, among other reasons, the main reason was that Parliament has been asked to to reconsider allowing persons who seek rehabilitation not to be prosecuted for homosexuality.
The Bill will now take longer to be signed into law as Parliament has to reconsider it and take it through the different readings.
Activists have an opportunity to re-engage Parliament on this matter. According to HRAPF: "The reasons for its return are not based on human rights or constitutional law grounds. If what the President suggests is done (reconsider the aspect of rehabilitation) , it will imply that the first person to report to authorities will be regarded as the victim and the one who does not report will be seen as the perpetrator. This will cause more violence and turn LGBTI persons against each other as victimhood 'pays' while 'perpetrator 'status sends one to jail for life.
HRAPF therefore calls upon partners to continue pushing for the Bill to be completely withdrawn because of its human rights, constitutional law and public health implications.
HRAPF has also issued a report on cases handled within the 30 days following the passing of the Bill.
There is an exponential increase in cases of violence and violations against LGBTI persons, fueled by the politicization around the Bill.
59 cases have been handled during the period 21st March 2023 when the Bill was passed and 20th April 2023, which is one month after the passing of the Bill. 40 of these cases (67.8%) were of arrests, evictions and violence against LGBI persons - with 11 cases of arrests of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, 14 cases of violence against persons on the basis of their sexuality, and 15 cases of evictions from property.
The full report can be found at the following link: https://hrapf.org/?mdocs-file=11275 African Human Rights Coalition has also received direct reporting by many who are afraid to report in Uganda, expressing mistrust for any on ground reporting.