Uganda set to pass anti-gay bill, appease donors

Wed Dec 2, 2009 2:01pm GMT

"It's catastrophic," said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group.

"People are being arrested, intimidated already. What's going to happen if it's passed?"


Bahati, of the ruling National Resistance Movement party, said diplomatic pressure would not affect the legislation.

"We cannot exchange our dignity for money," he said.

Rights groups say gays and lesbians already face illegal detention and abuse under Uganda's current laws, a situation that is likely to worsen if the bill is passed.

"Certain provisions in this bill are illegal. They are also immoral," said Kate Sheill, Amnesty International's expert on sexual rights, in a statement with 16 other rights groups.

"They criminalise a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse."

Museveni has been quoted in that local media as saying that homosexuality is a Western import, joining some Ugandan and continental religious leaders who believe it is un-African.   Continued...

<p>Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni addresses delegates during the opening ceremony of the African Union Summit on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa on the outskirts of Kampala October 22, 2009. REUTERS/James Akena</p>
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