55 British Members of Parliament (MPs) have condemned Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
They have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 575) in the UK Parliament, urging the scrapping of the Bill. Support for the parliamentary motion comes from across the political spectrum, from left to right. Many more signatures are expected as MPs return
to the House of Commons.
The EDM, drafted by east London Labour MP Harry Cohen, urges the Ugandan government to uphold international humanitarian law by abandoning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalizing same-sex acts between consenting adults in private, and outlawing
discrimination against gay people.
That this House calls on the British Government and the European Union to press the government of Uganda not to proceed with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which violates the equality and non-discrimination provisions of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter of Human and People's Rights; abhors that this Bill, currently before the Uganda parliament, proposes the death penalty for repeat homosexual acts, extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment
for anal intercourse to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have homosexual relations and imposes life imprisonment for contracting a same-sex marriage; notes that under the provisions of the
Bill membership of providing funding for gay organisations advocating gay human rights and providing condoms or safer sex advice to gay people will result in a sentence of between five and seven years for promoting homosexuality and that a person in
authority who fails to report offenders to the police within 24 hours will incur a three year prison sentence; further notes that this monstrous proposed law contains extra-territorial jurisdiction so that it will apply to Ugandans who breach its provisions
whilst living abroad, even in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence, and that such Ugandans living overseas could be subject to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda; and demands that the Ugandan government uphold international
humanitarian law by abandoning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults in private, and outlawing discrimination against gay people.
We hope this motion will send a signal from the British parliament to the Ugandan government that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill constitutes an outrageous attack on the human rights of Uganda's lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens, said Peter
Tatchell of the London-based gay human rights group OutRage!
Even if the death penalty is dropped, the Bill will still be unacceptable. It will still violate the equality guarantees of international human rights agreements, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, added Tatchell.
A proposed anti-pornography law could see journalists and ISPs jailed for terms ranging from five to 10 years and their
businesses closed, 'Ethics' Minister James Nsaba Buturo said.
Buturo said pornography, which he described as a terrible vice, was growing in the country but the laws against it were too weak. He said the new law, which extensively expands the definition of pornographic material and the accompanying
sanctions, will help rein in offenders. Those who deal in pornographic materials, your days are numbered, Buturo said.
We have finally acted and this time, this law will work because our integrity is not for sale, he told journalists. The Bill, he said also provides for fines. He emphasised that pornography is evil and makes the mind receptive to other vices
such as homosexuality .
The current legal provisions on pornography prohibit obscene publications but Buturo says this law is incomprehensive. The issue of pornography transcends publications and includes communication, speech, entertainment, stage play, broadcast, music,
dance, art, fashion, motion picture and audio recording.
Under the proposed Bill, pornography is defined as any form of communication from literature to fashion or photography that depicts unclothed or under-clothed parts of the human body (such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or genitalia), that narrates or
depicts sexual intercourse or that describes or exhibits anything that can lead to erotic stimulation.
According to the proposed Bill, pornography includes fashion , implying that women could be arrested for wearing short skirts and skimpy dresses.
An increase in pornographic materials in the Ugandan mass media and nude dancing in entertainment world calls for long legal framework to regulate such vices, he said. Only teaching aides, spouses and sportsmen will get exemptions of punishment
from the new law.
However, analysts say the flaws of the proposed law, lies in the broad definition of pornography.
Wearing of miniskirts could soon land one in jail or attract heavy fines if Uganda's Parliament
approves a new piece of legislation that defines anything sexy to be illegal pornagraphy.
In its current form, it is proposed that those found guilty of abetting pornography face a fine of Shs10 million under the draft law or a jail stint not exceeding 10 years, or both.
But the draft law ran into early turbulence in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee after some members expressed concerns about its wide reaching implications for freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. MPs in the committee also criticised the
government's attempts to legislate for sex, a course of action which could see it labelling some age-old cultural practices as pornographic.
The Bill defines pornography as any cultural practice, form of behaviour or form of communication or speech or information or literature or publication in whole or publication in part or news story or entertainment or stage play or broadcast or music or
dance or art or graphic or picture or photography or video recording or leisure activity or show or exhibition. Lawmakers said the Bill's definition of pornography was too broad and that it went against Uganda's tradition of being tolerant of cultural
Members, however, flatly rejected the minister's proposal to establish an Anti-Pornography Committee, observing that the police would enforce the law.
It also prohibits any combination of the preceding that depicts unclothed or under clothed parts of the human body such as breasts, thighs, buttocks and genitalia, a person engaged in explicit sexual activities or conduct; erotic behaviour intended to
cause sexual excitement and any indecent act or behaviour tending to corrupt morals.
'Ethics' Minister Reverend Simon Lokodo, an extremist noted for a string of repressive law proposals, presented the proposed law backed by Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhindi. He claimed the Bill was needed to protect women and children against
exploitation and curb increasing immorality. Lokodo spewed:
The need to put in place a law that prohibits pornography is necessitated by the dangers it poses to moral fabric of the society
While the Bill seeks to outlaw indecent dressing among other social behaviours deemed pornographic under the legal parameters of the Bill, other lawmakers said the lack of definition for what constitutes "decent dressing" makes the Bill
awkward and asked the government to stop curtailing freedoms in the country which could scare away tourists.
The Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC) has asked Parliament to throw out the newly-tabled Anti- Pornography Bill 2011, arguing that the government can fight pornography without enacting a new law. Patrick Nyakana, a ULRC commissioner told Parliament:
We conclude that the provisions of the Anti-Pornography Bill 2011 are already catered for in the Penal Code Act, the Computer Misuse Act, Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009 and other laws and thus, there is no need for this law.
Ugandan MPs have passed a nasty anti-pornography Bill that will ban miniskirts and other clothing deemed to be sexually explicit.
The Bill, widely opposed as a threat to women's rights, could also see many films and TV dramas being banned. Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on their television channels.
According to the Daily Monitor the anti-pornography Bill outlaws anything that shows sexual parts of a person such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or any erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement or any indecent act or behaviour tending to
The Bill needs to be signed by the president before becoming law.
The Ugandan parliament's has also made an abrupt decision to pass anti-homosexuality laws that would condemn same-sex couples to life in jail for mere touching,
The bill, rushed through by MPs, also bans the promotion of homosexuality and makes it a crime punishable by prison not to report gay people to the authorities or to conduct a marriage ceremony for same-sex couples.
The law was first introduced in 2009, when it advocated the death penalty, but after a worldwide outcry, that was removed from the final version .
The morality extremist MP who proposed the bill, David Bahati claimed:
This is victory for Uganda. I am glad the parliament has voted against evil. Because we are a God-fearing nation, we value life in a holistic way. It is because of those values that members of parliament passed this bill regardless of what the outside
Frank Mugisha , a leading Ugandan gay rights activist, said:
This is a truly terrifying day for human rights in Uganda. It will open a new era of fear and persecution. If this law is signed by president Museveni, I'd be thrown in jail for life and in all likelihood killed. We urgently need world leaders to call on
president Museveni and demand he stops this bill of hate from becoming law.
More than a million people have backed Mugisha's campaign on the petition website Avaaz to stop the laws.
Dozens of gay men are reported to have been arrested across northern Nigeria as police begin to enforce nasty new laws that criminalise same-sex marriages and membership of gay rights organisations.
The legislation, condemned by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and human rights groups in Europe, has come into force shortly after the Ugandan parliament passed an Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Last week Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which provides penalties of up to 14 years in jail for a gay marriage and up to 10 years' imprisonment for membership or encouragement of gay clubs, societies
Dorothy Aken'Ova, executive director of the country's International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, said that the legislation, hailed the Jail the Gays law, had led to mass arrests. Police in Bauchi state, she claimed, had a list
of 168 purportedly gay men, of whom 38 had been arrested.
[Note that other reports say that the miniskirt prohibition was actually removed from the bill prior to being passed, but it was discussed as part of the law throughout the period when the bill was being debated.
Around 200 women took to the streets of Uganda's capital defending their right to wear miniskirts. The demonstration came after the government approved a new law that bans indecent outfits for women.
The BBC reports that the demonstrators, some wearing now-forbidden miniskirts, gathered in Kampala to protest the draconian law, arguing it provides a free pass for sexual harassment and encourages blaming the victim.
The new rule is part of a piece of anti-pornography legislation that lists indecent show ... of sexual parts of a person for primary sexual excitement as a form of pornography, Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor explains. And just in case that
sounds confusing, The nutter Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo was on hand to clarify: If your miniskirt falls within the ambit of this definition then I am afraid you will be caught up by the law. Earlier, he added that this includes anything above the knee.
Activists say that since the ban became law there has been an explosion of vigilantes attacking and stripping women who they consider to be dressed inappropriately, according to Daily Monitor. We shall not allow women to pass on the road with
skimpy dresses. Undressing them in public is the only way to stop them, one man told the newspaper.
Activist Patience Akumu, from campaign group End Miniskirt Harassment, told Voice of America that the government is letting mobs harass women over their clothing in order to score cheap political points in the conservative society. I think
women have become an easy target, a scapegoat for all the problems, she added.
Having nude photos on mobile devices in Uganda can land you in jail for up to 10 years under the country's nasty
anti-pornography law, which parliament passed in 2014.
Arch moralist Simon Lokodo, Uganda's minister of 'ethics', told state-owned media that the country has bought an $88,000 pornography-detection machine from a company in South Korea. It will arrive in Uganda next month, he said.
Lokodo reportedly says it will be able to detect, control, and scrutinize porn on mobile handsets and other electronic devices.
The irony of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a pornography-detection machine in the face of competing needs that are arguably much more urgent was not lost on everyone. In particular, Uganda at one point earlier this year had no working
radiotheraphy machines for cancer patients. A tweeter called Payizus tellingly commented:
The gov't of Uganda bought a porn detecting machine. The same gov't is still looking money to buy a cancer Machine. #Mbarara #CancerCharity