The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA Uganda) is still against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009).
Today, FIDA Uganda has released an official press statement in opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The statement as it appeared on page 11 in the New Vision of Friday 2 March 2012 can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here or by clicking the image on the left.
The statement reads as follows:
FIDA Uganda works to promote the inherent dignity and human rights of women and children using the law as a tool for social justice. We are an organization that is against any discrimination on whatever ground, and we have struggled through using the Law in order to achieve the goals of equality for all. Being women, we are acutely aware of the indignities, humiliation, marginalization, and powerlessness caused by discrimination on account of sex and gender. As a children-centered organization, FIDA Uganda condemns any sexual exploitation of children by any man or woman regardless of whether it is by people of the same sex or of the opposite sex.
Nevertheless, as a human rights organization we strongly oppose the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In the first instance, human rights are in-born and belong to all individuals equally without requiring any permission for their enjoyment. Human rights are also not conferred by the State or by any other institution, organization or individual.
In the circumstances, we believe that the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill is unnecessary and redundant. The current Criminal Law – particularly the Penal Code Amendment of 2007 – fully protects all children, whether boys or girls from sexual exploitation by any individual who may abuse his or her position of power or authority. Furthermore, the Penal Code Act already provides for the offences outlined in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Moreover, the Bill contains several clauses that cannot survive the many tests provided by the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. This is because the Bill violates, among others, the rights to equality and non-discrimination, privacy, as well as the freedoms of speech, expression, association and assembly.
Sexual relations between willing and consenting adults is a private affair which the State should not police. Attempting to enforce the proposed Bill would amount to a gross and unjustified intrusion into the lives and privacy of all people in Uganda, for it would require constant surveillance of all bedrooms to ascertain who is having sexual intercourse with whom and how.
We urge the Government and Parliament to invest the much needed time and resources that would go into the implementation of the Anti-Homosexuality law to provide for more urgent laws such as the Marriage and Divorce Bill, and to support the implementation of the recently-passed Domestic Violence Act. It would also provide much-needed funding to the Equal Opportunities Commission, which is currently starved of support. Such measures would have a more direct impact on the happiness and well-being of the family and support the development of the nation in general. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill does not help in the achievement of these goals and should thus be rejected in whole.
In September 2011, Kenya’s Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of FIDA House as the guest of honor when he asserted, with explanations, that “gay rights are human rights”.