U.S. State Department concerned about Uganda’s Kill the Gays Bill and has yet to see removal of death penalty

Even if Death penalty will be removed we will always refer to it as “The Kill The Gays Bill”

Since it was first introduced in 2009,  the U.S. Department of State has been keeping a keen eye on the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is now back on the Order Papers for a reading this week in the Ugandan Parliament, following its completed report out of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

The United States Department of State has reiterated its concern for the Bill with this weekend’s visit to Uganda by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson’s visit to Uganda.

While many websites, BLOG and news agencies are reporting that the death penalty has been removed from the Bill, it must be noted that no one has actually seen the Legal Affairs Committee report yet, which will remain confidential until the second reading in parliament which is scheduled for this week.  I personally am disturbed by the fact that publications from The Advocate to the BBC and even CNN are reporting that the death penalty has been taken out of the Bill.

Even  the  U.S. State department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that she has yet to see the report purporting to remove the death penalty.   In a previous attempt at passage we were told the death penalty had been removed, and we found that not to be the case.

Activists have agreed that even if the death penalty is removed in a final BILL, the Bill itself is so harmful and egregious – with life imprisonment as a punishment for being Gay, that regardless the Bill will ALWAYS be referred to as “The Kill the Gays Bill.” 

According to a report by Chris Geidner in Buzzfeed:  The State Department spokeswoman says:
“Uganda’s own human rights council has made clear that if this were to pass, it would put the country out of compliance with its own international human rights obligations.”

Here is the Press briefing as reported:

The extended exchange, from a State Department press briefing Monday, follows:

QUESTION: Yeah, I have a question on Uganda, actually. There’s an anti-homosexuality bill that’s making its way through the legislature right there. What is the State Department’s current assessment of where that bill is and if that’s going to be headed toward a vote anytime soon?

MS. NULAND: Again, Assistant Secretary Carson was also in Uganda over the weekend. He had a chance to raise again our concerns about this issue, which we’ve been very vocal about. Our understanding is that a version of the bill has now passed a committee in Uganda. As we have regularly said, we call on the parliament in Uganda to look very carefully at this, because Uganda’s own human rights council has made clear that if this were to pass, it would put the country out of compliance with its own international human rights obligations. And so Assistant Secretary Carson had a chance to make that point again and our strong opposition to this, to the president, to the parliament, and to key decision makers in Uganda.

QUESTION: And there was – and once the bill had a provision that would institute the death penalty for homosexual acts. As far as the State Department knows, has that provision been removed or is it still in the bill?

MS. NULAND: Again, I don’t know that we have actually seen the version that passed committee. They’ve been a little bit close hold about this, partly because there’s been so much controversy in the international community. So our concern is about any criminalization of homosexuality, obviously.

QUESTION: And one last question. Some countries, Britain and Sweden, have threatened to cut foreign aid to Uganda if this bill becomes law. Is there any consideration in the U.S. Administration to cut foreign aid to Uganda if that bill becomes law?

MS. NULAND: Again, I’m not going to get into any hypothetical situations. Our focus now is on raising awareness of the concerns within Uganda about this bill so that we don’t get to that stage.

* * *

Q: On this, Toria. Did Secretary Carson meet with the speaker of the parliament?

MS. NULAND: My understanding is he did see the speaker of the parliament, whether it was in a larger group or whether it was a distinct meeting that he did, yes.

Q: But he – so he made that point directly to her?

MS. NULAND: Yes, he did.

UGANDA Kill The Gays Bill:- Looms before parliament this week. You ask as an American what can you do? I am proud to say that I had the great honor to work this weekend with the extraordinary GetEQUAL Team and we decided to to target THE Evangelicals who were responsible for the KILL THE GAYS BILL as well as The Reps and Senators who form part of THE C STREET FAMILY. This is a fantastic and imperative campaign to help combat the BILL PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT AND SPREAD THIS PETITION AROUND ….. Thank you, Melanie Nathan, nathan@privatecourts.com

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