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Civil society petition court over Anti-Homosexual Act

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By Agatha Ayebazibwe

Posted  Tuesday, March 11  2014 at  12:20

In Summary

The Anti Homosexuality Act was signed into law by President Museveni on February 24, 2014.The new legislation will see those found guilty of “homosexuality” sentenced to 14 years in jail

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A coalition of fifty civil society organisations on Human rights today filed a petition in the constitutional court challenging the legality of Law on Homosexuality.

The activists argue that the Anti Homosexuality Act violates Ugandans’ Constitutionally guaranteed right to: privacy, to be free from discrimination, dignity, to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, to the freedoms of expression, thought, assembly and association; to the presumption of innocence, and to the right to civic participation.

In a statement issued by the Coalition Members, the petitioners said that the Act represents an effort by the Executive and Parliament to scapegoat an unpopular minority for political gain.

“We also believe that the Act violates the highest law of our country. We are calling for the Constitutional Court to pronounce itself urgently on the legality of this Act, and to issue an injunction against enforcement as the case proceeds,” Mr Andrew Mwenda, a Journalist and one of the Lead petitioners.

The group also called for the High Court to issue an order preventing the media from continued inciting of hatred and violation of privacy by publishing the names and pictures of people accused of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, saying that Since the signing of the Bill, there have been a number of allegations of violence and retaliation against people known or suspected to be gay, ranging from uncalled for evictions by many landlords of their tenants, to the threat of violence by community members once the law is gazetted—a step which has not yet occurred.