SANAC Civil Society Forum calls for SA Government to Act on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Jul 20, 2023 | News

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SANAC Civil Society Forum calls for SA Government to Act on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

 Nthateng Mhlambiso

South African National AIDS Council Civil Society forum (SANAC CSF) has condemned Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed in March and is asking the South African Government to speak up against this gross violation of human rights.

The legislation, which Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is yet to sign into law, calls for lengthy prison sentences for people who identify as gay or are found to have promoted homosexuality. It establishes the death penalty for homosexual acts with minors, people with disabilities and several other groups.

Legislators amended significant portions of the original draft law, with all but one speaking against the bill. Supporters of the tough legislation say it is needed to punish a broader array of LGBTQ activities, which they say threaten traditional values in the conservative and religious East African nation.

“South Africa can’t keep quiet, our struggle for realisation of universal human rights speaks to a better Africa and a better world”, Mmapaseka Steve Letsike, SANAC Civil Society Forum Chairperson says.”

She adds “the passing of this discriminatory Bill will result in the worst law in the world of its kind. If Uganda truly believes in development, rule of law, and protection of human rights, they will do the right thing. People are entitled to Human rights by virtue of being human. If this law gets signed by the President Museveni, it will erase lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Uganda and it will criminalise many others.”

“South Africa should rise with its foreign policy to ensure that it stands for building a better Africa for all. Lives are at stake, and we cannot just shut up in respect of sovereignty, we should rise as signatories of universal declaration of human rights to ensure equality, freedom, peace, and security for all is achieved.”

In support, Chairperson of CSF Law and Human Rights Sector Thabo Majuja says “The Ugandan Government has to revisit the decision as it is a serious violation of rights of the LGBTQI+ community. Africa will never be free until everyone is free like it was said during the apartheid days, when SA was not free. We call on the South African government to engage their counterparts in Uganda to reverse the decision of the Ugandan parliament.

On the other hand, Nonhlanhla Mkhize Chairperson of the CSF LGBTIQ+ Sector says, “ It shows deep seated prejudice, and dare I say self-hate for them to consume their thoughts with how other people identify, or expresses who they are, worse the sexual, practices they probably engage in, in private, she added”.

In an opinion submitted to a Ugandan parliamentary committee earlier this month, Human Rights Watch said the new law “would violate multiple fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s Constitution and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a party”.

“Criminalization of consensual same-sex conduct contributes to a climate in which violence and discrimination against LGBT people is widespread,” Human Rights Watch said.