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Global Ministries Responds to Uganda's Bill on Sexual Discrimination

October 28, 2009

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

State House Nakasero

P.O. Box 24594

Kampala, Uganda

 

Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi

Post Office Building, Yusuf Lule Road

P.O. Box 341

Kampala, Uganda

 

Speaker of the Parliament Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuka

P.O. Box 7178, Parliamentary Avenue

Kampala, Uganda

 

Dear President Museveni, Prime Minister Nsibambi, and Speaker Kiwanuka,

On behalf of Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, we write to share our concern about the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which was tabled on October 14, 2009.

Global Ministries has, for many years, been in solidarity with Uganda on HIV/AIDS campaigns. We, along with the global community, have celebrated you as a model for Africa in the fight against HIV & AIDS. You have effectively addressed the pandemic with strong government leadership, broad-based partnerships and effective public education campaigns, all contributing to a decline in the number of people living with HIV and AIDS. You have also helped other African nations to respond to the crisis and reduce the number of new HIV/AIDS infections. Given your years of leadership to Africa in the fight against HIV, we want to share our concern about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.

It is our humble opinion that the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 violates the rights of God's children in Uganda.  It punishes the free association and expression that is necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility which undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans. We agree with Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) that this bill will "set a dangerous precedent and send a signal that any Ugandan's privacy is unguaranteed—all of our civil society could be put under attack. If this bill is passed into law, it will clearly endanger the work of all human rights defenders and members of civil society in Uganda." 

Because the bill also prohibits any organizing around sexual orientation, it will make it difficult, if not impossible, to do effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex material.  "The proposed bill also support stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive people, and would undermine years of effort to tackle the epidemic, " according to Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe, a human rights activist, and Frank Mugisha, co-chair of SMUG.  Further, we believe this bill would criminalize the legitimate work of national and international activists and organizations working for the defense and promotion of human rights in Uganda. It would also put major barriers in the path of effective HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. Discrimination aimed at people who are most affected by HIV drives people underground which research consistently shows facilitates the spread of HIV

We request that you consider the concerns raised in this letter, which are also the concerns of many throughout world who are committed to creating a community of peace with justice for all of God's children.

Sincerely,

Rev. David Vargas - Co-executive of Global Ministries

Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte - Co-executive of Global Ministries

cc. 

Honorable Opio Gabriel, Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Affairs

Med Kaggwa, Chair of the Uganda Human Rights Commission Directorate for Ethics and Integrity

Mathisen Gorild, Chair of the Uganda Diplomatic Human Rights Working Groups

Perezi K. Kamunanwire, Ambassador to the US

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations

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