News / Africa

Gay Activist Calls Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Absurd

Ugandans demonstrate last year at their country’s embassy in London against a controversial anti-homosexuality bill introduced by Ugandan MP David Bahati
Ugandans demonstrate last year at their country’s embassy in London against a controversial anti-homosexuality bill introduced by Ugandan MP David Bahati

Multimedia

Audio
Douglas Mpuga

A gay rights activist has condemned the re-introduction of a bill in Uganda's parliament that calls for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts. Frank Mugisha, the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, described the revival of the bill as absurd.

“This bill is not only about homosexuality but it can actually target the heterosexual community, who, for instance, fail to disclose people they know are homosexuals,” said Mugisha, who won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award last year.

The bill was formally reintroduced in parliament Tuesday after lawmakers voted last year to pass it over to the new session after failing to debate it.

Originally tabled in 2009, the bill calls for "serial offender[s]" to face the death penalty, and proposes jail sentences for family members and landlords who fail to report homosexuals to the authorities. Mugisha finds the bill’s intents excessive.

“Fundamental extremism is witnessed in this legislation,” he says. “It is asking for extreme measures such as killing someone who is perceived to be homosexual.”

“This bill,” he added, “penalizes two consenting adults who have not harmed anyone.”

The proposed law would introduce the death sentence for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for the second time, as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV. All that, Mugisha said, contradicts the constitution.

The bill also proposes to criminalize public discussion of homosexuality - including by rights groups - with a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

US President Barack Obama has described the bill as "odious.”

Mugisha said if passed, the bill is likely to bring disharmony and hate in society.

“Imagine the bill asks people to report on each other. It will bring hate within families,” he said. “We will do everything possible to see that this bill doesn’t become law in Uganda,” vowed Mugisha.  

He said in a country where people don’t quite understand the law, the threat might not be the state or law enforcement, but people who think this [legislation] is already law.

“Some people who are perceived to be gay have already been attacked – and violence is likely to increase,” he said.

At an African Union summit last month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged African leaders to respect gay rights, a controversial issue in many African countries.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More