Monday, September 12, 2011

US Embassy in Uganda:
No 'Serious Move' on 'Kill the Gays' Bill

Remember the recent effort by Gays Without Borders and its allies around the globe, requesting updates from the US State Department's liaison for African affairs, Johnnie Carson, regarding Uganda's draconian "kill the gays" bill and the potential for it moving forward?

He's kept his promise to pass our concerns along to the American embassy in Kampala, pictured, and today an update hit my in-box from Daniel A. Travis, our public affairs officer over their. Needless to say, we in Gays Without Borders are quite pleased to receive this communication, have thanked Travis for the note and again requested continued dialogue with the embassy.

Here is the update from Kampala:

Thank you for your message to Assistant Secretary Carson. I understand he advised you that the Embassy would provide you with additional details on the bill in question. I hope you find this message useful.

Contrary to some press reports, we are not aware of any serious move to reintroduce the bill in the Ugandan Parliament as of this writing. That said, Members of Parliament do have the right to introduce legislation at any time if they follow the proper protocol. According to Ugandan law, a bill must be read into the record twice before being voted on to ensure time for proper debate. Therefore, the Embassy, other donor nations, citizens, and concerned non-governmental organizations expect to have ample time to react and be heard, should the bill actually be put before parliament for a final vote. Needless to say, the Embassy is keeping a very close eye on any developments.

It is our position that democratic governments are responsible for protecting the constitutional rights of all citizens, including minority populations. The Ugandan judiciary has reaffirmed this principle in several recent rulings, and the Uganda Human Rights Commission determined that the Anti-homosexuality Bill violated the Ugandan Constitution and international law.
We continue to urge Uganda to protect and respect the rights of all its citizens.

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