Peter Tatchell speaks out on Uganda (UCL)

Uploaded by UCLTV on 22.02.2010

[ Silence ]
>> In Uganda, the origins of the current bill
which would in certain circumstances punish same sex
relationships with the death penalty and would
of course make the mere touch or kiss of another person
with homosexual intent punishable by life imprisonment:
that is being driven by the forces
of Christian fundamentalism,
often aided and abetted by Christian fundamentalists
in the United States who have gone there, deliberately,
consciously, to try and promote a homophobic agenda.
This bill, as you know,
it doesn't merely introduce a death penalty
for repeat same sex offenders,
it doesn't merely introduce life imprisonment
for touching another person with homosexual intent,
but it also will punish by five to seven years jail anyone
who does anything to aid and abet or promote homosexuality,
which include things like setting up a gay help line,
you know, publishing a gay newspaper,
distributing a gay film or book, setting up a welfare agency
to support LGBT people.
All these things will become punishable by a minimum
of five years and a maximum of seven years in jail.
There will also be life imprisonment for anyone
who has a same sex marriage.
There will be three years' jail for any person - gay
or heterosexual - who does not report a gay offender
to the police.
This is one of the most draconian pieces
of legislation ever introduced anywhere in the world
and what is so sinister is that it not only applies in Uganda,
it applies to any citizen of Uganda
or to any foreign resident in Uganda who commits any
of these offences abroad.
So if a Ugandan student comes to London to study
and he has a same sex relationship,
or she has a same sex relationship,
if he comes to London and speaks in favour of gay rights,
if the Ugandan authorities become aware of this,
they will seek, under this bill, to extradite that person back
to Uganda to face trial.
That's the draconian nature, the sweep and reach
of this particular bill -
as I say, a bill that has been driven primarily
by Christian fundamentalists.
The laws that already exist
in Uganda are amongst the most draconian in the world.
Life imprisonment already exists for a same sex relationship;
life imprisonment, that's the existing law.
And it's not just the 'law', in preceding years,
the Ugandan government outlawed same sex marriage,
passed a special law to prohibit same sex marriage,
Radio Simba, a very popular radio station, got a massive fine
for merely interviewing a lesbian activist,
talking about the situation faced by lesbians in Uganda.
The head of the United Nations AIDS Agency concerned
with promoting HIV prevention education was expelled
from Uganda a few years ago merely for meeting and talking
with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists.
So these things have been happening even before this bill
was ever dreamt up.
This bill just merely escalates the situation further.