22 July 2010

Uganda: Country Rejects AU Gay Group

Kampala — Uganda has opposed the pending recognition of a South African gay rights group, Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), as an official observer at all African Union conferences, and to contribute to the NGO's forum.

"The African Charter and the Constitutive Act setting up the AU tell us to protect African values among our key objectives. These (gay rights) are alien to our culture and values. We shall continue to resist and fight them because common sense dictates against them. They are outlawed in Uganda and most African countries," the foreign service officer, ambassador Rosette Nyirinkindi, asserted.

She was making Uganda's contribution in the permanent representatives committee meeting on Wednesday.

Established in 2004, the CAL is a network of 19-member organisations working to eradicate stigma and discrimination against lesbians, bisexual and transgendered women in Africa, according to the executive director, Fikile Vilakazi.

The African Commission on Human and People's Rights last year deferred an application by CAL to allow the commission to discuss a paper on sexual orientation in Africa.

Other countries, however, called on state parties to repeal laws that discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgendered and intersexual people.

In Uganda, the Anti-homosexuality Bill, if enacted, will broaden the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, are HIV-positive, or engage in same-sex acts with those less than 18 years of age, among other provisions.

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