as Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill Looms
On behalf of the Gays Without Borders activist group, I wish to acknowledge with much gratitude and pleasure that it took less than 24-hours to receive this substantive reply from Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson (pictured), whose portfolio for the U.S. State Department is African Affairs.
We initiated a drive to send letters, emails or faxes to Secretary Carson requesting comments opposing an effort in the Ugandan parliament on September 7 to push forward a draconian and deadly bill targeting LGBT persons, HIV positive people and their supporters. Many thanks to all who contacted him. He wasted little time sending back this powerful and frank statement, and we will maintain communications with him and his colleagues.
We at Gays Without Borders feel our activism that produced this US State Department affirmation for gay citizens of Uganda is one piece of a larger global network of non-governmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, LGBT and HIV/AIDS groups, grassroots activists and diplomats working to advance respect for the human rights of gay and HIV positive Ugandans.
Like many others, we remain very worried about the September 7 parliamentary hearing and will be monitoring the situation closely, and we stand ready to again activate on Ugandan matters.
Please share this US State Department statement far and wide:
September 4, 2011
Dear Mr Petrelis:
Thank you for your email expressing your concern about an anti-homosexual bill that may be introduced shortly in the Ugandan parliament. We too are concerned about the passage of any legislation in Uganda (or anywhere else in Sub- Saharan Africa) that would criminalize or punish homosexual activities between consenting adults.
We believe that gay and lesbian citizens should enjoy the same rights and individual freedoms as other citizens. The Department of State has spoken out clearly and repeatedly against this type of discriminatory legislation in Uganda, and we will continue to do so.
In this regard, I have spoken to the most senior officials in the Ugandan government about this issue, and stand ready to add my voice as required in the future. Our ambassador and embassy in Kampala will continue to monitor any anti-gay and lesbian legislation and we will speak out forcefully to prevent its passage.
I will pass your letter to our ambassador in Kampala, who may provide you with more information on this specific bill. Thank you again for your interest and your concern about this issue.
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs