Friday March 7 2014

EU chief asks Uganda to repeal anti-gay law



The European Union High Representative, Ms Catherine Ashton, has asked Uganda to repeal the Anti-Homosexual law, saying it is discriminatory and violates international human rights obligations.

President Museveni assented to the legislation on February 24, prompting Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, the World Bank and lately Sweden to individually freeze aid.

“The EU is firmly committed to the promotion of human rights worldwide and denounces any discriminatory legislation. The EU will review how best to achieve this in Uganda in this changed context,” she said in a statement on Tuesday. “The European Union condemns the adoption of the Anti-Homosexuality Act by Uganda…”

The US has begun a broad review of its assistance and engagement with Kampala and Amb Scott DeLisi is heading to Washington to, among other things, consult on the process.

Information Minister and government Spokesperson, Ms Rose Namayanja, said last night that Uganda will not repeal the law simply because development partners don’t like it.

“Our relationship with them is not based on this [homosexuality law]…there were reasons why it was enacted,” she said.

The minister added: “There are things the donors do that we don’t agree with, but we don’t stop them. There are things we do they don’t like. Let each of us accept the other as they are.”

The head of the EU Delegation in Uganda, Amb Kristian Schmidt, sent the Tuesday statement to this newspaper in which the High Representative noted that: “The Anti-Homosexuality Act contradicts the international commitments of the Ugandan government to respect and protect the fundamental human rights of all its citizens.”

While signing the anti-gay law, President Museveni denounced the practice and accused the West of attempting to impose a form of “social imperialism” by pushing for universal acceptance of homosexuals.
“We reject the notion that somebody can be homosexual by choice; that a man can choose to love a fellow man; that sexual orientation is a matter of choice,” he said.

An ad hoc team of Ugandan scientists commissioned to examine the subject, he noted, convinced him that homosexuality is caused by both “nature and nurture”.

The President said: “Since my original thesis that there may be people who are born homosexual has been disproved by science, then the homosexuals have lost the argument in Uganda.”

Mr Museveni said he had computed donor contributions to Uganda and that available government resource would be re-assigned to more critical sectors if donors bolt out.