October 21, 2009
Thank you to the Global Forum on MSM and HIV for distributing a version of this alert:
As you may know, legislation in Uganda was introduced late last week that will greatly expand criminal penalties against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
Currently, "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" carries a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment in Uganda's penal code. The proposed legislation seeks to imprison anyone convicted of "the offense of homosexuality" for life, while "aggravated homosexuality," will incur the death penalty.
Criminal laws against homosexuality not only violate human rights, but severely restrict efforts to reach most-at-risk populations with HIV prevention.
Please ENDORSE the statement below, asking President Museveni and policy-makers to immediately withdraw the proposed legislation.
Due to the urgent nature of this letter, signatures are are due by end of day Thursday October 22nd. PLEASE SEND YOUR NAME, CITY, STATE AND COUNTRY TO: Krista Lauer, Policy Associate: firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
State House Nakasero
Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi
October XX, 2009
We the undersigned call for the immediate withdrawal of the "Anti Homosexuality Bill, 2009". This proposed legislation is a huge step backwards for HIV prevention, treatment and care initiatives in Uganda. By significantly expanding criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people -- with penalties going as far as the death sentence in some cases -- this bill drives sexual minorities underground and away from vital information and services, further fuelling HIV transmission in the Uganda.
Uganda's own HIV/AIDS prevention experts have recognized that laws targeting sexual minorities are obstacles to effectively addressing AIDS. A 2009 joint report by the Uganda AIDS Commission and UNAIDS specifically called for a review of legal impediments to the inclusion of most-at-risk-populations -- including MSM -- in the national AIDS response. The 2008 law reauthorizing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) -- the source of 61% of all of Uganda's HIV prevention funding in 2006/2007 -- includes a directive for HIV prevention education specifically targeting MSM. Additionally, both UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have each recently adopted new action frameworks for addressing HIV among sexual minorities, in reaction to growing evidence of the impact of HIV on sexual minorities globally.
Recognizing that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights, and in pursuit of our mutual endeavor for an effective HIV/AIDS response worldwide, we call for the immediate withdrawal of this and any bill that threatens the health and human rights of your citizens.
(List in Formation)
Name, City, State, Country
Hon. Dr. Stephen Malinga
Minister of Health
Plot 6 Lourdel Rd, Wandegeya
P.O. Box 7272 Kampala
Dr Kihumuro Apuuli
Uganda AIDS Commission
Ambassador Eric Goosby
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
U.S. Department of State
Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda Embassy of the United States of America
Jerry P. Lanier
Ambassador to the US
Perezi K. Kamunanwire
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations
Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda