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Bill Gives Ugandan Government Legal Right to Torture, Imprison and KillAlysha Atma Salem-News.com African Affairs Corresponent
Anti-Homosexuality Bill features provisions that may spur a witch hunt
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - We have laws in place to protect our animals; if an owner is found to have mistreated an animal, there is often a monetary fine and/or jail time. We have laws to protect our children; if a parent or guardian is seen as unfit or abusive, they lose the privilege of being a parent and are often subjugated by our social care system. How can we have legal expectations regarding the treatment of our children, and even animals, and not have the same respect for human life everywhere? No matter what political opinion, all of humanity should be allowed to love and live. As progressive as some of our worldwide communities appear, there are many that still lack the fundamental respect for human life and diversity.
Case in point: Uganda. The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) is targeting not only the Gay and Lesbian population, but those with HIV/AIDS. The bill gives the government the legal right to torture, imprison and kill many Ugandans at will. It may begin with this population, but who will be next and where could this end? The final section of the bill provides for Uganda to nullify any of its international or regional commitments that it deems "contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act."
As both the African Commission and the UN Human Rights Committee have held, a state cannot, through its domestic law, negate its international human rights obligations. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/10/15/uganda-anti-homosexuality-bill-threatens-liberties-and-human-rights-defenders The Ugandan government is targeting its own people and through the words in this piece of legislation, escapes its obligations to preserving and protecting Human Rights. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill features several provisions that human rights groups say would spur a witch hunt of homosexuals in the country:
March 7, 2010 Yesterday 5 members of our church were arrested with various accusations of being Gay, they are still in jail as we pave way for their release.
They were publicizing for our upcoming workshop caught with information and brochures; right now they are at Police in detention. It is still unclear as to whether these five men are in custody at the jail or hospital. Recent communication conveys there is a significant hospital bill in association with injuries they received after being taken into custody. March 23, 2010 Our workshop was interrupted by the police and my Laptop, which I was using for reference, and a projector were seized by the police on accusation that it was a Gay/Lesbian Workshop. We never knew that we had invited Government spies, who alerted the police because we had used the Rainbow Flayer. This is but one example of the treatment those that are perceived gay or in association with gays. The targeted infringement on rights of movement, activity and well being are a constant threat to many in Uganda There must be international pressure put on this government to stop the passing of such a destructive and dehumanizing bill. There are many afraid to walk outside. If this is allowed to become law, Uganda will not be held to the same human rights standards as those of the rest of the international community. This begins to set precedence for other countries to follow suit. This will affect those that want to be tested for HIV/AIDS; it will also increase the civil strife within a country that has seen very little peace in the past several decades.
HIV/AIDS currently affects an estimated 940,000, with 1.2 million children orphaned by AIDS. There are many who will go without tests and treatment for fear of government retribution, therefore exacerbating an already insurmountable issue. The consequences of this bill on both human life and the health of the country are disastrous. How can we allow others to be terrified in their homes and country by the very government whose obligation it is to protect? At the present time, many are being besieged and at will could be imprisoned, tortured and put to death because of who they choose to love. Many in Uganda are asking to have a voice - you can help. Give them the platform to feel safe in confiding. Call our government and tell them this is unacceptable. Please understand and empower those around you to understand the seriousness of this Ugandan Bill.
People will die at random because of ignorance, HIV/AIDS will spread and many will stop getting life saving treatment. Those with “carnal knowledge” of someone of the same sex can be put to death. Simply knowing someone who is gay pr lesbian can result in up to three years in prison.
This is intolerable. If we as American citizens do not stand for justice, equality and respect for human life; to lead by example, who will? Phone: 1-202-456-1111 White House Line Text: 90822 Secretary of State Clinton Twitter: @dipnote, @barackobama, @whitehouse *Names are protected
Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the belegured people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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