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Uganda Taken to Court by Gay Activist

Uganda Taken to Court by Gay Activist


Uganda’s Constitutional Court will resume hearing a precedent setting petition against the law that bars gay people from employment and accessing equal opportunities in Uganda today, October 4th.

Activist Adrian Jjuko, Executive Director of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) petitioned the court to nullify section 15(6) d of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007.

The challenged section reads:

(6) The Commission shall not investigate—
(d) any matter involving behaviour which is considered to be—
(i) immoral and socially harmful, or
(ii) unacceptable,
by the majority of the cultural and social communities in Uganda.

LGBT people are not mentioned by name as one of the groups in the act, however during the debate to pass the law, Syda Bbumba, the then Finance Minister said homosexuals should be targeted using the disputed clause.

“It is very important that we include that clause. This is because the homosexuals and the like have managed to forge their way through in other countries by identifying with minorities,” she said.

Uganda’s judiciary has stood up for gay people before, such as in the case brought by activist Victor Mukasa following a police search of his home and the case which stopped the ‘outing’ of homosexuals by the tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone.

Uganda is shortly due to appear before the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review. In their submission [PDF] they write that:

“There is information of covert recruitment, of especially our children and youth, into such practices which we consider to be detrimental to the moral fabric of our society.”

No evidence provided for this claim of course – because none exists.

The ‘recruitment’ line is one used widely by the proponents of the ‘Kill gays’ Anti-Homosexuality bill. Chief frontman for the bill, David Bahati MP, was challenged by US MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow on this last year when he appeared on her show. Specifically, she asked, where is the evidence? Challenged to produce it, he never has. Nor has anyone else.

Uganda is also arguing before the UN:

“While the Constitution, under Chapter Four, guarantees rights of persons, it also imposes duties and obligations on them to ensure that in the enjoyment of such rights, they do not infringe on the rights of others. Those who practice and / or support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues continue to push for their recognition as a right.”

“In Uganda, there is an overwhelming consensus that such practices are untenable; and thus culturally and legally unacceptable. It is our considered opinion that such practices remain a matter of private choice. There should be no promotion of those practices.”

The UN’s High Commissioner for human rights, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, and the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders and on the right to freedom of opinion and expression have all criticized [PDF] Uganda’s treatment of LGBTs.


Related Stories:

Parent Group Supports Uganda Kill the Gays Bill

Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Still a Threat

Suspicious Burglary at Ugandan Gay Rights Organization


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5:20AM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:22PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Uganda even said- "It is a matter of private choice"- so stop hassling gays for what they do in the privacy of their own homes!

11:03AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Homophobia should be dæmonised and homophobic violence prosecuted as capital or felony assault world wide. The USA needs to scrap DOMA and stupid marriage amendments as much as Uganda and other backwards countries need to outlaw discrimination against non-rape non-pædophile alternative sexuality. Uganda's government should suffer having all 'anti gay' politicians arrested and tried for treason. The worldwide problem with murder of LBGT people should bring a host of capital murder convictions to put a stop to murders. Consenting adults who perform alternative sexual practises in private are NOT criminals!

11:01AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Good luck to you, Adrian Jjuko. Stay safe.

9:27AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

If a country's courts can't protect the rights of minorities then there is no hope for those countries to advance. A true free, democracy protects the rights of all minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Let's hope Uganda's courts do their job.

Don't forget it wasn't that long ago that the Conservative US Supreme Court ruled that LGBT people were the only class of people in the US of A that had NO right to privacy or protection from illegal search.

The US may be ahead of Uganda in treatment of LBGT people, but it is still quite a ways behind the most advanced countries.

8:27AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011


7:58AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

"If AIDS was somehow supposed to be the barometer of morality, lesbians would be the most moral people in the World! Because from the standpoint of risk, lesbian is the way to go!"
-Dr. John Corvino

7:32AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

There is hope when matters such as this are presented before the courts. Legislators, especially on emotionally charged issues are reluctant to protect the rights of minorities for fear of losing the next election. It is also clear that people such as David Bahati refuse to consider any evidence (scientific, psychological or otherwise) that supports LGBT people and their human rights. To refuse protection for minorities, even unpopular minorities, undermines democracy, replacing it with either dictatorship or mob rule. The courts in Uganda (and anywhere else where minority rights are under attack) must do their duty and act to protect the minorities under attack.

5:51AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT- it seems to me that Uganda needs to learn how to be far all I have heard convinces me that the prevailing attitude is one severely lacking in humanity.why am I not surprised?

5:41AM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Thanks for the info.

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