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Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Communications to and from Governments, A/HRC/14/24/Add.1,18 June 2010: Uganda-Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Uganda: Concerns about proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill 

Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards on safeguards and restrictions relating to the imposition of capital punishment

Subject(s) of appeal: Group concern

Character of reply: No response

Observations of the Special Rapporteur: The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Uganda has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

Allegation letter dated 23 December 2009, sent with the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

1136. We would like to bring the attention of your Excellency’s Government information received concerning a legislative bill pending before the Ugandan legislature, Bill N° 18 of 2009.

1137. According to the information received, the Parliament of Uganda is currently considering Bill N° 18 of 2009 (also known as the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill”) tabled before it on 15 October 2009. The proposed Bill increases penalties for homosexual conduct and criminalizes many related activities. The envisaged penalties range from imprisonment not exceeding three years for the failure to denounce the commission of an offence as defined by the Bill to life imprisonment and the death sentence. Consensual homosexual conduct is already a criminal offence under article 145 sub a) of the Ugandan criminal code, which penalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature”. However, Bill N° 18 would expand the reach of this existing provision by including “any person who touches another person with the intention of committing an act of homosexuality”. The Bill also punishes ‘aggravated homosexuality’, including activity by ‘serial offenders’ or those who are living with HIV, with the death penalty.

1147. We urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that the enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, of the rights not to be arbitrarily deprived of one’s life or personal freedom, as well as of the right to freedom of opinion and expression is protected. It is our opinion as independent human rights experts of the Human Rights Council that only the withdrawal or rejection of Bill N° 18 of 2009 can ensure that fundamental principles of international human rights law binding for Uganda are not seriously violated.

1148. We would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:

  1. Are the facts alleged pertaining to the proposed “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” correct?
  2. Please provide details of any actions taken to remove the provisions in the Bill which violate the human rights of the people of Uganda – specifically those relating to the application of the death penalty, imprisonment, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, discrimination on the basis of HIV status, freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to health, but generally with a view to the Bill in its entirety.
  3. What measures have been taken to ensure non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?

link to text of extract: Communications-SR Executions-Uganda-Bill-2010-eng

Link to full text of the report: Communications-SR Executions-2010-eng