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  • on 14.03.2014
  • at 09:30 AM
  • by Kevin Hind

Anti-Gay Law Will be Overturned Say Uganda’s Campaigners 0

Kampala – Human rights campaigners who filed a recent legal petition against Uganda’s draconian anti-gay law believe that they have a compelling case for its nullification.

“Judges are human beings. But we are pretty sure we have made a compelling case for the nullification of the law and the judges will exercise their judicial minds to the law as presented before them [rather than pay attention to] public sentiments,” Secretary of the Uganda Law Society, Nicholas Opiyo, told IPS.

On Tuesday, Mar. 11, a coalition of campaigners filed a petition with Uganda’s Constitutional Court in Kampala in response to the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014. President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law on Feb. 24.

The law strengthens penalties for homosexual acts, prescribing life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalising the “promotion” of homosexuality. The team is seeking an injunction against the enforcement of the law.

Opiyo, who helped draft the petition, said the legal challenge “raises important constitutional and legal issues that the court must resolve satisfactorily.”

The petition was filed under the auspices of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL), a coalition of 50 indigenous civil society organisations advocating for non-discrimination.

It argues, among other things, that the anti-gay law “violates Ugandans’ constitutionally guaranteed right to: privacy, to be free from discrimination, dignity, to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment…”

The petitioners are also seeking a permanent injunction against media houses or any other organisations from publishing pictures, names, addresses or other details of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and intersex (LGBTI) or suspected LGBTI persons.

On Feb. 25, just one day after Museveni signed the anti-gay law, Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper published a list of what it said were “Uganda’s 200 top homos”. A string of other sensational headlines in other editions of Red Pepper, and another tabloid Hello, ensued.

Geoffrey Ogwaro of CSCHRCL was named in a Mar. 1 issue of Red Pepper, which carried the front page headline “Ugandan homos form cabinet”. His photo was featured on page two.

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By Amy Fallon Ips Africa 

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