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Labour LGBT: Ugandan 'kill the gays' bill must be stopped

Fears have been raised over Uganda vowing to pass an extreme homophobic law that includes a provision prescribing the death penalty for gay people.

David Bahati, Ugandan Member of Parliament and the proposer of the Controversial anti gay bill
David Bahati, Ugandan Member of Parliament and the proposer of the Controversial anti gay bill
Image: Ronald Kabuubi/AP/Press Association Images

LABOUR LBGT HAVE spoken out against an announcement by a senior political figure in Uganda, who said the country intends to pass an extreme homophobic law that includes a provision prescribing the death penalty for gay people.

Louise Hannon, Co-Chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group in the Labour Party said: “We are extremely disturbed to hear that this odious proposal, known as the ‘Kill The Gays Bill’, has been revived, after an international outcry saw it being shelved last year. It is simply unconscionable that such an idea would even be considered in the 21st century.”

Read: The Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009)

Parliamentarian David Bahati first introduced the bill, which carried the death penalty for some homosexual acts, in 2009. It was widely supported in Uganda – however its progress was slowed by an international outcry, including condemnation from US President Barack Obama.

Homosexuality, already illegal under Uganda’s penal code, is highly stigmatised in the country. Several popular newspapers engage in ‘outing’ members of society as gay – a practise which has led to violence and death.

One Ugandan rights activist whose name appeared on a tabloid hitlist, David Kato, was beaten to death in his home after Rolling Stone newspaper (no connection to the US magazine) published his photograph, and the names, photos, addresses of many members of the LGBT community, next to a headline reading “Hang Them” in late 2010.

“Uganda is a priority donor country for Irish Aid and so we need to use all the influence at our disposal to help stop this horrific law in its tracks. We also must be prepared to review our aid commitments to the Ugandan government in the context of this issue,” said Hannon.

She noted that the British and Swedish governments had already made threats to freeze aid to Uganda if the anti-gay law is passed.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said last year that he wanted to “see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights”.

“LGBT people in Uganda and Africa more generally, already face extreme discrimination amid an atmosphere of State sanctioned homophobia,” said Hannon. “This abhorrent ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill will make their lives even more difficult, and the international community, including Ireland, must do everything in our power to ensure that this draconian piece of legislation is shelved for good.”

Read: Controversial anti-gay bill reintroduced to Ugandan parliament>

Read: Cameron threatens to cut aid to ‘anti-gay’ countries>

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