American Jewish World Service Condemns Passage of Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Urges President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill into law

NEW YORK, NY—American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading international Jewish human rights and development organization, released the following statement today, both condemning the passage of the anti-homosexuality bill by the Ugandan parliament and urging the president of Uganda not to sign this bill into law.

Statement from Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS
“Today is a tragic day for human rights in Uganda,” said Messinger. “The passage of the inhumane anti-homosexuality bill by the Ugandan parliament is in conflict with Uganda’s constitution and is a major step backwards for human rights in Uganda, presenting a grave threat to civil society and public health.

“With tremendous respect for his office and for the Ugandan constitution, we urge President Museveni to reject this discriminatory bill. We also urge President Obama and the U.S. government to do all they can to ensure that this bill does not become the law of the land in Uganda.

“Finally, the passage of this bill appears to be one of a growing number of pieces of legislation, which violate the country’s constitution and threaten human rights in Uganda.

“We stand with all Ugandans who seek equal treatment under the Ugandan constitution and in keeping with human rights,” said Messinger.

Statement from Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of AJWS Ugandan grantee Human Rights
Awareness and Promotion Forum “The current trend in Uganda of passing laws that are unconstitutional and against human rights is worrying,” said Jjuuko. “As human rights activists, we strongly condemn the ongoing trend and fear for the future of human rights in this country.”

About the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
First introduced by the Ugandan Parliament in 2009, the bill’s many cruel and unconscionable provisions include life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for repeated homosexual behavior. It also criminalizes the promotion of homosexuality, which includes funding organizations that serve LGBT people or that support the human rights of sexual minorities.

The passage of this bill comes after the approval of a growing number of pieces of Ugandan legislation which violate the country’s constitution and threaten human rights, including the public order management, which was passed in August and restricts free speech, and the anti-pornography bill, which passed yesterday and outlaws media that show “the sexual parts of a person.”

About AJWS
AJWS is the 8th largest U.S. based funder of LGBT rights. AJWS supports social justice organizations that promote equality and work to end discrimination and violence against people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, so that they can access the full spectrum of opportunities in society and live in health, safety and dignity.

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