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Ugandan Parliament Committee Backs Death Penalty Inclusive Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Ugandan Parliament Committee Backs Death Penalty Inclusive Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Contrary to reports that a Ugandan parliamentary committee would recommend the death penalty be dropped from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 which is due a vote Friday in an extraordinary session of Uganda’s 8th Parliament, Human Rights Watch reports that, having seen the committee’s recommendations, the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is still present and what is more, the committee recommends the bill be passed.

From Human Rights Watch:

The committee’s report, as seen by Human Rights Watch, recommends amendments deleting some provisions but adding criminal penalties for “conduct[ing] a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex.”

The committee’s report is likely to be presented to parliament on May 13, 2011, as part of a debate before the bill could be up for a vote. Such reports are required under parliamentary procedure. The committee said that it consulted with several key stakeholders in generating its recommendations, including civil society, government agencies, including the Justice Ministry, Uganda Law Reform Commission, prisons, and the Uganda Human Rights Commission. It is not clear how many committee members participated in drafting the report. At consultations attended by Human Rights Watch only three of the committee’s 20 members were present.”It should be scrapped. The committee’s recommendations fall wholly short of making this a bill worth parliament’s time,” said Graeme Reid, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Program at Human Rights Watch. “Even if these suggestions are taken on board, the bill will remain discriminatory, a profound threat to Uganda’s LGBT community and put Uganda at odds with its fundamental human rights obligations.”

The committee proposes amendments to the October 2009 draft bill. Despite the suggestion by the bill’s author, David Bahati, that the death penalty could be deleted from the legislation, the committee recommends retaining it. The committee proposes rewording the provision to align with the current Penal Code provision on “aggravated defilement,” which is punishable by death.

Penalties that the committee recommends be dropped include “attempted homosexuality,” another stipulation that would unilaterally break all ties with human rights commitments in opposition to the bill’s aims, and an extradition order returning gay Ugandans from abroad so as to face charges for their homosexuality.

The committee is also said to have raised concerns about a provision that says citizens must disclose to the police any homosexual activity they have witnessed or suspect of others within 24 hours or risk a fine or jail time.

The committee also recommends an amendment to create an additional crime, “conduct[ing] a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex,” punishable by three years in prison. This was not in the original bill.

It is important to stress that while these changes have been recommended, they have not yet been adopted so all or none may make their way into the final bill before it is voted on in its third and final reading.

We will keep you updated throughout the day as the bill nears a vote.


UPDATE: Due to a problem regarding parliamentary procedure, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, as well as other bills scheduled for debate Friday, were not taken up.

It is thought that Cabinet was dissolved prior to President Yoweri Museveni’s inauguration on Thursday meaning there was no Cabinet in place for the extraordinary session Friday and therein no bills could legally be discussed.

This “technicality,” as it was described by a parliament spokesperson speaking to Doctor Warren Throckmorton, means that the fate of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill remains uncertain.

It is already established that the bill could be handed over to the 9th Parliament along with the rest of Friday’s business (but not on its own) so long as a procedural order has been made, however it appears that no continuation has been filed.

The AP reports that the Speaker adjourned Parliament on Friday with no date set for its return, suggesting it is unlikely an order of continuation will be made before the 9th Parliament is sworn in, at which point time runs out. Without continuation, MP David Bahati will have to once again go through the process of introducing a private members bill in the next Parliament.

Given how convoluted the process has been to date, it would be premature to say the bill is firmly dead for this session, but there is an air of optimism that, at least for the time being, the bill may have been put to rest.

We will update you as more news emerges.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to US Army Africa

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31 comments

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10:03PM PDT on Jul 28, 2013

Will this insanity never end?

5:34PM PST on Dec 14, 2011

IN "MAINSTREAM" CHRISTIANITY HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A WORSE SIN THAN ANYTHING ELSE, - FORNICATION, ADULTURY ETC!

THOU SHALL NOT KILL!
THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE!
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE DONE TO YOU.
WHOEVER AMONG YOU HERE IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR.

GOD BLESS!

4:10AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

In general, the death penalty is reserved for individuals who have committed felony murder or capital murder. However, there are other crimes that may be punished by the death penalty. The capital punishment debate has sparked a great deal of controversy and has gained national attention. There are two main reasons why others oppose death penalty: 1) because of the quote "thou shall not kill" from the Bible and 2) some prisoners are wrongly convicted and found out their innocence too late. Some governments, though, still practice this as part of their disciplinary strategies. Florida Rep. Brad Drake desires the state's system of capital punishment to ramp it up from lethal injection, notes the AP. HB 325 would get rid of the argument over the nature of the drugs in lethal cocktail, and substitute the whole thing with death by firing squad. Death row prisoners would have an option: Death by firing squad, or via electric chair. Article resource: Florida bill would bring back death by firing squad

9:29AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

This type of law and the enforcement of it are the reasons so many people in america and around the globe who are open minded and feel people should be punished when they commit a crime, not fall in love, learn to hate other cultures and religions who adopt such crazy policy and ideas.

2:30AM PDT on May 16, 2011

There is no wrong way to love and anyone who claims differently is deluding themselves.

2:01AM PDT on May 16, 2011

Homosexuality is as old as The Bible. Nothing has ever succeeded in attempting to stamp it out. Doesn't that indicate that it is not God that sees it as wrong, but mankind? Studies have established that sexuality, i.e., heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, (and yea, maybe even pedaphilia,) is dependent on the inuterine environment of whichever trimester. Factors that influence that environment include strong emotions, particularly those of survival. Statistics indicate that homosexuality is more prevalent after a war, surprise, surprise. See book/doco "Brain Sex". I wondered how that applied to my life until I remembered, when I was pregnant, sticking my hand in bark stained, opaque water where I last saw my 17 month daughter disappear, and something told me she wouldn't come up again. In that moment I went into survival mode, the shock and fear didn't even register, not even after. I just sent a prayer into the ether as my hand went down and was lucky enough to grab hold of her. My experience proved the study results, before I knew of the study, and it is nature that decrees sexuality, whichever it is. How can anyone believe homosexuality is against God's will if our biology has no control over the factors that manifest sexuality? Uganda, you created what you despise by your own evil actions. How dare you stand up and decree that ANYONE, man, woman or child, should be put to death for ANYTHING? After your track record? May God have mercy on your souls!!!

8:40PM PDT on May 15, 2011

I ask you: "How many gays must God create before we accept that he wants them around?”
Minnesota State Rep. Steve Simon asked that question during a debate over a proposed vote on a same-sex marriage amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution, warning, “If this becomes part of our Constitution, history will judge us all very, very harshly,” he says

4:59PM PDT on May 14, 2011

I hope this never goes through!

12:16PM PDT on May 14, 2011

Time for the international community to close those purse strings.

3:14PM PDT on May 13, 2011

Once again I can only hope that future generations don't feel the need to destroy ppl they don't understand.

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