Friday December 17 2010

Blocked film has segment on gay rights

By Alfred Nyongesa Wandera & Flavia Lanyero

Disagreement between rights activists and the ethics minister over an alleged homosexual video, continued yesterday with Dr Nsaba Buturo holding to his guns that the activists want to promote the vice in the country.

Rights defenders, led by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) chairperson Medi Kaggwa, on Wednesday said the banning the video was unconstitutional.

But the minister accused the UHRC of trying to promote homosexuality and immorality. “The commission is now the spokesman of the people breaking the law, we did not appoint them to promote illegalities,” Dr Buturo said while addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday. “Some people are determined to change the morals of our country and are using all tactics. We shall put up resistance because Uganda doesn’t believe in homosexuality.”.

Mr Kaggwa had earlier quoted Article 54 of the Constitution, saying the commission is independent and shall not, in performance of its duties, be subject to the direction of any authority.

But Mr Buturo said: “The rights body should support what government stands for. If UHRC ignores Uganda’s interests and promotes illegal things, we shall respond appropriately.”
Despite the ban on Monday, the video was shown to journalists and students on Wednesday at UHRC headquarters.

“The documentary highlights the work of human rights defenders and the challenges they face,” Mr Kaggwa said.
In the film, Mr Kikonyogo Kivumbi, who is identified as the defender of minorities, disparages the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as an object to deny the rights of the minorities and allows medical practitioners to report gay patients to police.

“We are giving a very strong voice to Parliament not to pass the Bill. Uganda is committed to fighting HIV/Aids and when the minorities are threatened with arrests, they will fear to go for medication and yet it is their right,” Mr Kivumbi says.

This segment seemed to have angered Dr Buturo who asked that the film be edited before it can be screened to the public.
Mr Kaggwa said children were only invited to make presentations in the form of songs and poems on the theme of the day.

“We wish to categorically state that the UHRC and its partners can never expose children to inappropriate material,” Mr Kaggwa said.