February 17th, 2010
Veteran UK LGBT activist Peter Tatchell has issued a correction to yesterday’s assertion that Ugandan MP David Bahati, author of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, “is demanding the execution of all scouts and scout leaders who commit repeated homosexual acts.” In an email sent to BTB, Peter’s statement reads:
On 16 February, I issued a news release about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda and the Bill’s sponsorship by David Bahati MP, who is also Chairman of the Scout Board of Uganda.
I should have made it clear that Mr Bahati was not explicitly calling for the execution of gay scouts and scout leaders. His Bill proposes the execution of gay serial offenders, which could, of course, include gay scout members. But his Bill does not target gay scouts in particular and he has not specifically called for the execution of scouts who are gay. The threat to gay scouts in Uganda is implicit, not explicit.
Apologies for my lack of clarity. Below is a revised, corrected version of the news release, together with some new information about the Uganda Bill.
Peter Tatchell – London, UK
In his revised press release, Tatchell asks that UK readers write to their members of Parliament about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Gay scouts may face death penalty in Uganda
Execution of gays proposed by Ugandan scout leader
World scout movement urged to expel Uganda
Call for UK Scout Association to sever links with Uganda scout movement
London, UK – 17 February 2010
“A leader of the scout movement in Uganda is demanding the execution of anyone who is convicted of repeated homosexual acts or related offences. This could include the execution of gay scouts and scout leaders,” reports human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.
“Chairman of the Scout Board of Uganda, David Bahati, is proposing that all serial homosexual offenders should be sentenced to death. This could include young people, such as scouts.
“Mr Bahati is a Ugandan MP. His Anti-Homosexuality Bill is currently before the Ugandan Parliament. It stipulates the death penalty for serial offenders who have previous convictions for same-sex relations or for related non-sexual offences such as aiding and abetting homosexuality, funding gay advocacy groups, having a same-sex marriage or promoting homosexuality. Some of these related offences could also be committed by heterosexual Ugandans. They would also be liable to a death sentence for repeat offences.
“In other words, a person does not have to be gay or to have gay sex in order to be sentenced to death under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Serial offending and previous convictions for the non-sexual offences are sufficient grounds for execution.
“The Bill also specifies life imprisonment for minor same-sex acts, such as kissing, touching or caressing with homosexual intent.
“Although Mr Bahati and his Anti-Homosexuality Bill do not explicitly mention or target the scout movement, the draconian clauses and punishments threaten all lesbian, gay and bisexual Ugandans, including members of his own scouting movement.
“A person in authority who fails to report an offender to the police within 24 hours will face three years in jail, which could apply to scout leaders who fail to inform on gay scouts. Likewise, the promotion of homosexuality carries a sentence of five to seven years jail. This could criminalise any scout leader who provides affirmative, supportive advice to a gay or bisexual scout. The offending scout leader does not have to be gay. They could be heterosexual.
“Mr Bahati’s proposed legislation promotes extreme prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and violence, contrary to scout principles,” said Mr Tatchell.
See a summary and link to the full text Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:
Mr Tatchell has written on behalf of OutRage! to the Chief Executive of the Scout Association UK, Derek Twine.
A copy of his letter follows below.
Mr Twine has already referred OutRage!’s concerns to the General Secretary of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in Geneva. WOSM has written to the scout movement in Uganda expressing its concern.
“I have asked the Scout Association UK to press the world scouting movement to disaffiliate the scout organisation of Uganda, on the grounds that its leader has violated scouting values by proposing the execution of gay people, including gay Ugandan scouts and scout leaders,” added Mr Tatchell.
“My letter calls on the British scout organisation to condemn Mr Bahati and his Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and to refuse to host him again in the UK.
“The British and world scouting movement cannot remain silent, given this threat to execute its gay members in Uganda. They must break all links with the Ugandan scout organisation while it remains under the leadership of David ‘kill the gays’ Bahati.
“The international scout movement has a duty to defend its values of universal respect, equality and brotherhood,” concluded Mr Tatchell.
What you can do – see the end of this email.
Copy of Peter Tatchell’s email to the Scout Association UK:
The Scout Association
London E4 7QW
11 February 2010
Dear Derek Twine,
Uganda Scout leader David Bahati and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Your letter dated 21 January 2010 – Ref: DMT/AEB
Sincere thanks for your reply to the letter of my OutRage! colleague, David Allison.
We are most appreciative of the efforts made by the Scout Association UK to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, such wisdom and fairness is not replicated by the leader of the scouting movement in Uganda, David Bahati MP. As you know, he is head of the Scout Board of Uganda; in effect Chief Scout.
He is calling for the execution of lesbian and gay scouts, and other lesbian and gay Ugandans.
His Anti-Homosexuality Bill, currently before the Parliament of Uganda, proposes that repeat homosexual acts will carry a sentence of death, and that anyone – gay or heterosexual – who advocates gay equality or offers welfare support to homosexuals will be sentenced to five to seven years jail. A person in authority – a parent, teacher or scout leader – who fails to report a gay person to the police within 24 hours will be jailed for three years.
Mr Bahati’s proposals to persecute lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people
are a complete contradiction of scouting values and of the fundamental principles of equality and human rights, as enshrined in international humanitarian laws, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
I am most grateful that you have referred our concerns about Mr Bahati’s plan to execute LGBT Ugandans, including lesbian and gay scouts, to the General Secretary of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM). Please advise me of the reply you have received.
While we appreciate that every National Scout Organisation (NSO) is independent, we also understand that the WOSM membership of each NSO is conditional on them conforming to the WOSM’s scouting values.
David Bahati, the leader of the Uganda scout movement, is promoting hatred, discrimination and the state-sponsored murder of LGBT Ugandans – some of whom will be scouts and scout leaders. His stance and actions are incompatible with scouting values.
If the leader of a NSO was advocating racism and the execution of black people, I am sure the WOSM would take swift steps to rule that the NSO’s membership of the WOSM could not continue while such a person remained in a position of authority within the NSO.
FIRST: We therefore request that you ask the WOSM to disaffiliate the Ugandan scout organisation from the WOSM, until such time as David Bahati ceases to hold office in the Ugandan scout movement or until he withdraws and renounces his Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This is something that the UK Scout Association and the WOSM can do. It is within your powers.
SECOND: We realise that the Scout Association UK is not in a position to intervene in the internal affairs of the scouting organisation of Uganda. However, we do believe that the British Scout Association can and should issue a public statement deploring David Bahati’s homophobia and his Anti-Homosexuality Bill; making clear that his views and his Bill are incompatible with scouting values and are likely to lead to the persecution of Ugandan LGBT scouts and scouting officials. We respectfully ask you to do this.
THIRD: We reiterate our request that the Scout Association UK announces publicly that it will refuse to host Mr Bahati again in Britain (I believe that you did host him at the time of the 2007 Jamboree), as you would refuse to host an anti-Semitic scout leader who advocated the execution of Jewish people. Again, this is a reasonable and justifiable sanction that is within your powers.
The core of the issue is this: Mr Bahati wants to execute lesbian and gay scouts and scout leaders, as well as other lesbian and gay people. He is Uganda’s head scout, and while he remains head scout his actions reflect badly on the whole international scouting movement. It is imperative that the British and world scouting authorities speak out against him and his bill which, if passed, will have deadly consequences for scout members in Uganda.
The reputation of the scout movement depends on action being taken against those in positions of leadership, like Mr Bahati, who abuse and violate scouting values.
Please advise. Thank you.
OutRage! – The LGBT Human Rights Campaign
What you can do
Please ask your MP to sign EDM 575 on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
You can email your MP direct via this website: www.writetothem.com
Just click on the link and enter your postcode. It will tell you who is your MP and you can email him or her direct.
All you need to do is write as follows:
Draft letter to your MP
Dear (insert your MP’s name),
As one of your constituents, I urge you to sign EDM 575, tabled by Harry Cohen MP. It condemns Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This Bill proposes the death penalty for some same-sex acts and life imprisonment for others. The Bill also proposes up to seven years jail for anyone who advocates gay equality and three years jail for parents who fail to report their gay sons or daughters to the police.
See a copy of the Bill here:
And a summary of the key points of the Bill here:
Please also consider writing to the Uganda High Commissioner in London:
Her Excellency, High Commissioner Joan Rwabyomere, Uganda High Commission, Uganda House, 58-59 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DX. Phone 020-7839-5783, Fax 020-7839-8925 or E-mail: email@example.com
Insert your name, address and email.
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