British MPs want Uganda punished over anti-gays law
Posted Sunday, July 27 2014 at 12:59
The MPs say they want their government to “reconsider its position” on its relations with Uganda.
Members of the UK Parliament have called on their government to punish Uganda for passing the anti-homosexuality law, which they said has “unleashed a new wave of extreme homophobia”.
Lord Ray Collins of Highbury, also the Labour Party spokesperson, told the House of Lords on Wednesday that the anti-gays law in Uganda has, since it was signed in February, inspired “violent homophobia, including physical attacks, arbitrary arrests, blackmail and evictions” and is putting people’s lives at risk”.
What they want
He said it was time for the British government to “reconsider its position” on its relations with Uganda.
“If the United States can act now, so can we,” he told the House of Lords.
Last month, the US government labelled the anti-gays legislation “draconian” and cancelled a planned aviation security exercise with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.
The White House also announced it was suspending funding on particular government projects involving the Ministry of Health and Uganda Police.
President Museveni assented to the law which prescribes life sentences and heavy fines for persons convicted of gay sex or same sex offences.
Several countries like Norway, Sweden and Netherlands cut direct aid to government.
The British High Commission in Kampala said they would keep engaging the Uganda government in dialogue over promotion of human rights.
The police spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga, said the allegations of persecuting gay people are “unfounded” and being propagated by asylum seekers to secure immigration status in the respective countries.
In Kampala, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr James Mugume, said they will continue to engage the UK government and other development partners over the anti-gay controversy.
However, the British Foreign Office Minister for Commonwealth Affairs, Sayeeda Warsi, told the House of Lords that they “continue to press Uganda to defend human rights without discrimination on any grounds”.
Homosexuality has been criminalised in Uganda since British colonial rule and 42 out of the 53 Commonwealth countries outlaw the same-gender sexual orientation.