Thursday July 10 2014

EU welcomes clarification on anti-gays law

By Peter S. Mwayi

The European Union has welcomed clarification by government on the anti-gay legisltation which was passed by President Museveni in February.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, the EU Head of Delegation to Uganda, Amb Kristian Schmidt, called the clarification a significant development adding: “We welcome the clarification, and in particular government’s commitment to protect the rights of all individuals and the reaffirmation that nobody should take the law into their own hands.”

“We now expect to see an end to the language that has the potential to incite violence, discrimination, harassment and mob justice,” Amb Schmidt added.

On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement clarifying some of the issues that have raised serious concern to those opposed to the Anti-Homosexuality law.

Among the key concerns are the threats on minority groups including those practicing same-sex activities and lengthy imprisonment terms for those found guilty of practicing homosexuality.
The statement said the Anti-Homosexuality law was aimed at curbing open promotion of same sex activities, especially among children and other vulnerable groups.

However, civil society organisations and anti-homosexuality crusaders dismissed government’s clarification, saying this was an act of cowardice and hypocrisy.

The clarification comes on the back of aid cuts announced by western governments recently.
Last month, the US announced it would cut aid to Uganda and blacklist a number of government officials involved in gross human rights abuse and corruption.

However, government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo dismissed the threat then smacking of vindication and laced with emotions, saying Uganda could live without aid.
In the EU statement Amb Schmidt said the delegation hoped that government would recall the Act.