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Saturday 23 June 2012

Uganda: Rights Group Condemns Ban of LGBTI Groups

The Ugandan government’s announcement and the Parliament’s continued consideration of draconian legislation to criminalize homosexuality violates those rights by discriminating against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

By Henry Neondo

KAMPALA--A US-based human rights organization has strongly reacted to the Ugandan government announcement that it will ban at least 38 non-governmental agencies that it claims are promoting gay rights.

Reacting to the Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo’s plan to ban the NGOs, Paul LeGendre of  Human Rights First said the banning of these nongovernmental groups is a clear example of why the Obama Administration must fulfil its commitment to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people around the globe and make that work a pillar of its foreign policy.

“The rights of LGBT people are fundamental human rights,” he said.

The Ugandan government’s announcement and the Parliament’s continued consideration of draconian legislation to criminalize homosexuality violates those rights by discriminating against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It is imperative that the United States not stand by as the Ugandan government works to silence human rights defenders.”

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda and a bill proposing increasing jail terms to life is before parliament.

Mr Lokodo has submitted the list of groups he wants banned to the internal affairs ministry.

"I have investigated and established beyond reasonable doubt that these NGOs have been involved in the promotion and recruitment in terms of the 'gay' issues," he told the AFP news agency.

Earlier this year, an MP re-tabled a controversial anti-gay bill - it was originally submitted in 2009 but never debated after sparking international condemnation.

Western donors have recently said they could withdraw aid from those countries, including many in Africa, which do not recognise gay rights.

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