SLSJ Statement on Uganda

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May 10, 2011 No Comments ›› David

Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) is a South African students organisation dedicated to protecting human rights, preventing discrimination, and promoting social justice and the rule of law.

SLSJ affirms that all forms of discrimination, especially against vulnerable groups, undermine the human rights of all people.  As students from throughout South Africa we believe that all people have an inherent, inalienable right to human dignity. We are therefore appalled by the disregard for human dignity contained in the virulently homophobic  Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. We affirm that the Bill violates the rights of one of the most marginalised and relentlessly stigmatised group of persons, by attacking their dignity, privacy and freedom of expression. Uganda purports democracy; however this Bill is profoundly discriminatory, undemocratic and un-African. The Bill entrenches existing stigma and prejudice towards homosexual people, and in doing so  further polarises Ugandan society. In addition to the obvious heinous consequences of the Bill for the free association of LGBTI Ugandans, an implication of particular concern is that the Bill will prevent HIV-positive LGBTI Ugandans from seeking their treatment. Under Uganda’s existing laws, men and women accused of engaging in homosexual behaviour have been arrested and detained. In addition, they have been kidnapped and brutally tortured. Such treatment already violates international and regional treaties to which Uganda is party. The Bill openly calls for Uganda to annul any international relations which are deemed to be contrary to the purport of the Bill.

We understand LGBTI rights not as rights that are divisible from other rights, but as human rights. They are not distinct from the rights to which all Ugandans, and all humans – by virtue of their humanity – are entitled. This Bill threatens to further turn Uganda into a police state, and thus threatens the basic rights and freedoms of all Ugandans. We, SLSJ, call on the government of Uganda to reject this Bill in its entirety. Furthermore, we call upon the South African government, and all other governments committed to the protection of basic human rights to demand of Uganda that this draconian Bill is not passed.