Uganda drops gay death penalty

Advocates of the Ugandan anti-gay bill plan to go ahead despite international condemnation.

Following strong international condemnation, advocates of an anti-gay bill have removed a disciplinary clause that called for hanging people who have consensual gay sex, according to the Los Angeles Times.

They were, however, expected to push the measure, which criminalises the encouragement of homosexuality.

The bill was scheduled for debate on Wednesday, which is the last day of the current parliament, but was dropped from the agenda. It will apparently be debated in a special session on Friday, but if not, it can be reintroduced when the new parliament convenes.

Life sentence

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and punishable by life imprisonment.

The bill was initially introduced in 2009, calling for the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" in cases of rape of a minor by a person of the same sex, or when one partner carries the virus that can cause Aids. Anti-gay activists also promoted the measure in a hostile manner since it was introduced, accusing gays of recruiting children, with newspaper headlines calling for gays to be hanged.

It also says that anyone who aids and abetspeople in committing homosexual acts — including landlords who rent houses or rooms to gay people — would face seven years in jail.

The bill now makes it compulsory for people to report acts of homosexuality within 24 hours of becoming aware of them or face penalties for failing to do so.

'Corrective' rape horror

Meanwhile South Africa finds itself in the midst of homophobia as well, with innocent black women and children falling prey to corrective rape. South Africa, as the rape capital of the world, sees an estimated 500 000 women being raped each year.

Last week a task team was set up to address hate crimes against LGBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex) individuals, following the brutal murder of lesbian activist Noxolo Nogwaza, 24, who was stoned, stabbed with broken glass and gang-raped in Johannesburg. 

(Zaakirah Rossier, Health24, May 2011)

Read more:
Uganda threatens gay rights
Task team to tackle gay hate crimes
The horror of 'corrective' rape

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