Friday, December 04, 2009

Ugandan church leader blasts anti-gay bill as 'genocide'

Prominent member of the Ugandan Anglican church, Canon Gideon Byamugisha (pictured), joins international condemnation of the anti-homosexuality bill, saying it will breed violence and intolerance.

UK Guardian reports:
If Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill becomes law, it will be little short of state-sponsored "genocide" against the gay community, a prominent member of the Ugandan Anglican church said this week.

Canon Gideon Byamugisha said the bill, which recommends the death penalty for anyone repeatedly convicted of having gay sex and prison sentences for those who fail to report homosexual activity to the police, would breed violence and intolerance through all levels of society.

"I believe that this bill [if passed into law] will be state-legislated genocide against a specific community of Ugandans, however few they may be," he said.

The bill, which will strengthen Uganda's existing laws against homosexuality under its Penal Code Act, has been widely condemned by world leaders and human rights groups, who fear it will trigger a witchhunt against the gay community. Activists have raised concerns that the bill will hinder the country's fight against HIV/Aids among the gay community and legal experts have said it will undermine freedom of expression and association.

Sweden has joined the growing list of countries heaping pressure on Uganda to discard a proposed law that would severely punish homosexuality.

Daily Monitor reports:
According to comments attributed to Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden’s development assistance minister, the Swedish government says it would cut aid to Uganda over an anti-gay law they find “appalling”.

“My number two at the ministry, who has direct contact with the Ugandan government, has brought it up,” Ms Carlsson recently told Swedish Radio News. “We’ve talked about it in Uganda, and I’ve also tried to speak to the kind of organisations in Uganda that are the target of the legislation.” Uganda receives about $50 million in development aid from Sweden annually. “I’m doubly disappointed, partly because Uganda is a country with which we have had long-term relations and where I thought and hoped we had started to share common values and understanding,” the minister is quoted as saying.

In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative government called the proposed law “vile and hateful”, while Britain’s Gordon Brown raised the issue with President Museveni during the recent Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago. Ms Carlsson said the law would make it “much more difficult” for Sweden to continue helping Uganda.

Archbishop of Canterbury in 'intensive and private' talks over Uganda's gay law

UK Pink News reports:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is said to be in "private" discussions with the Ugandan Anglican Church over the country's proposed anti-homosexuality laws. Pressure has been piling on the Church of England to speak out over the legislation, which would see gays executed or jailed for life. A statement from Lambeth Palace given to The Times religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill said: "It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to publicly influence either the local church or political opinion in Uganda would be divisive and counter-productive. READ MORE

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