Jimmy Sserwadda, hbt-aktivist som flytt förtrycket i Uganda.

Uganda may allow death-sentence for homosexuality

2011-05-13 | Karin Råghall padlock


Today, Friday, the parliament of Uganda may vote through the controversial Anti Homusexuality Bill, that allows for life time imprisonment or death penalty as punishment for homosexuality.

– It will be terrible for those who remain in Uganda, says LGTB activist Jimmy Sserwadda, who has fled to Sweden to seek asylum.

He was recently indicted in Uganda for promoting homosexuality. He was active in the Ugandan LGTB organisations Spectrum and Sexual Minorities Uganda, but have now been forced to leave the country since a conviction could bring seven years in prison.

Life or death

The already harsh laws of Uganda against homosexuality can now be further tightened, when the so called Anti Homosexuality Bill was taken up to discussion in parliament again on May 6th. The bill was first presented in October 2009, but was stopped after strong international pressure.

In it’s original form the bill suggested that homosexuality should be punishable by life imprisonment or in some cases death. It would also be criminal to support homosexuality, and that anyone who do not report homosexuality within one day to the police could end up in prison. Furthermore it would be forbidden for Ugandan citizens to practice homosexuality outside Uganda’s borders.

The bill was expected to be debated during the parliamentary sitting on Wednesday, but was postponed until Friday because the parliament lacked a quorum, reports the Guardian. Whether it is the original proposal that today will be discussed, or if there is a modified proposal in which the death penalty is removed, is still unclear.

Hate actions against LGBT people escalates

The protests against the Anti Homosexuality Bill are prevalent also this time. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the Ugandan Parliament on Tuesday to scrap the bill, and protest lists have been spread rapidly on the Internet. Avaaz campaign organization had collected over 1.5 million signatures on Thursday afternoon.

Jimmy Sserwadda hopes that the international outcry may help to stop the bill once again. But he points out that whether there be a new law or not, LGBT are people hugely vulnerable in the country.

- Since the politicians started making noise about this bill in 2008, it has become harder to live as an open LGBT activist in Uganda. It was then the media began to report negatively about homosexuals and expose homosexuals in photos, says Jimmy Sserwadda.

The escalating hate actions against LGBT people - driven by politicians, religious leaders and media - have, inter alia, resulted in one of Uganda's leading LGBT activists, David Kato, being murdered in his home on 26 January of this year.

Political unrest in Uganda

While the bill returns to date, the political situation is very tense in Uganda. People protest against rising food and gasoline prices, among other things. Several analysts, including RFSL, believe that the Ugandan government with draft legislation against homosexuality is trying to shift focus from the recent police brutality and abuse against the political opposition in the country.

- Once again LGBT people as used as scapegoats for other problems. Right now there are serious violations of human rights in Uganda and politicians are trying to shift the focus from them. We fear for our lives, we wonder whether we as activists will be jailed, or perhaps even be killed. The rest of the world must act forcefully against the bill, says Kasha Jacqueline N., Ugandan LGBT activists, in a press release from RFSL.

Översättning: Jenny Rönngren


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