Thursday February 7 2013

Gay rights defenders get Shs5b donation

By Stephen Wandera

Kampala

As Parliament moves closer to enact the Anti-Homosexual Bill, the European Union has given gay human rights defenders Euros1.8 million (about Shs5.6 billion) to defend sexual minorities in Africa.

European Ambassador Roberto Ridolfi announced the grant on Tuesday during the launch of a three-year programme at the Human Rights House in Nsambya. Ambassador Ridolfi said the project would promote a safe working environment for human rights defenders, especially those most at risk like the lesbian gay bisexual trans-gender and intersex human rights defenders.

Mr Ridolfi warned that if enacted, the gays Bill would affect foreign investments into the country. He urged the government to focus on priorities like health education and infrastructure development.

In offing
Parliament resumed on Monday and the Bill is one of those to be considered for enactment. “The Bill has created bad publicity for Uganda. Homosexuality is not new, it has been here,” Mr Ridolfi said. He added: “The sexual minorities should be tolerated if not investors will shun coming to Uganda. Which foreign investor is willing to invest a country where there are discriminatory laws? ”

The ambassador urged the government to focus on priorities like health education and infrastructure development instead of concentrating on the gay bill. However, different sections of the public, including religious leaders have asked the Parliament to urgently pass the Bill to avert the recruitment of youngsters to adopt the same-sex behaviour.

Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali in January said the Church would continue to protect culture and the institution of marriage which advocates the union between man and woman.

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, days after her defence against a Canadian minister’s attacks on Uganda over homosexuality last October, promised to expedite the debate on the gay Bill.

In Africa anti-gay laws have been passed in Burundi (2009), Malawi (2010) and Nigeria (2011).

swandera@ug.nationmedia.com

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