New York, NY; November 28, 2012—Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), today issued the following statement about Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which may be voted upon by that country’s parliament in the coming days:
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is an abhorrent violation of human rights against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and a grave threat to civil society in Uganda. Whenever basic human rights such as equal treatment under the law and the rights to safety, assembly, association, expression and privacy are denied, we are compelled to speak out.
The most tragic chapter of Jewish history provides a bitter lesson that the stripping away of human rights from specific minorities is often a precursor to the targeted destruction of oppressed people.
We stand in solidarity with Uganda’s LGBT community and with the defenders of human rights in Uganda, who work tirelessly to safeguard the rights and dignity of all.
First introduced by the Ugandan Parliament in 2009, the bill’s many cruel and unconscionable provisions include a punishment of three years’ imprisonment for any person who fails to report, within 24 hours, the identity of anyone perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The law also seeks to criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality,” which includes funding organizations that serve LGBT people or that support the human rights of sexual minorities.
AJWS is the leading Jewish organization in the world focused on realizing human rights and ending poverty in the developing world and currently supports 34 organizations that are working to promote LGBT rights in 17 countries. To learn more about AJWS’s work on LGBT rights in Uganda and elsewhere in the developing world, read AJWS’s 2012 special report: “The Jewish Voice for LGBT Rights Worldwide.”
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