52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (27 February – 4 April 2023)
Item 8: General debate on the follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
The Vienna Declaration states that human rights are the birthright of all, and that it is the duty of States to protect them, regardless of cultural settings.1
A week ago, the Ugandan parliament approved a law denying the human rights of its LGBTI+ citizens in the most egregious of ways. The bill, whilst entrenching the criminalization of same-sex relations, calls for the death penalty in certain circumstances, and creates new offenses curtailing any activism around LGBTI+ issues.
Arguments defending the legislation have promoted a hateful conflation of LGBTI+ equality and threats to family and children; and have weaponized contrived notions of cultural and traditional values – values certainly not shared by our Ugandan members.
These narratives are not isolated.
In Kenya where colonial-era laws criminalize homosexual acts with punishments of up to 14-years in prison, there was widespread protest earlier this month at a ruling which confirmed the right to freedom of association for LGBTI+ people. Detractors, including Kenya’s President, argued that traditional and religious values do not allow for equality and non-discrimination regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.3
In Ghana an extreme anti-LGBTI+ bill is still being considered by Parliament. Again, it pits LGBTI+ equality against so-called traditional and family values.4
As the High Commissioner said last week, this is not about values. Promoting violence and discrimination against people for who they are and whom they love is wrong and it should be called out and condemned as such.5
We call on this Council to condemn these hateful initiatives and narratives and to urge Uganda’s President Museveni to reject the anti-LGBTI+ legislation accordingly.
'Condemnation of Anti-LGBTI+ Bill in Uganda', Humanists International