Today’s edition of the Ugandan government-owned New Vision has published a statement from FIDA, the Ugandan Association of Women Lawyers, opposing the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The statement says, in part:
[A]s 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.
The statement’s placement (PDF: 1.7MB/1 page) in the pro-government newspaper is on a page dedicated to news for the country’s significant Muslim minority. It is located under an article in which an Imam at Africa’s largest mosque in Kampala urges Muslim men to avoid the “vice” of homosexuality by taking four wives as allowed by Islam.