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Final Coalition Submission to Legal Committee of Parliament

Final Coalition Submission to Legal Committee of Parliament

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Published by: African Activist on May 10, 2011
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 Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law- Uganda1
STATEMENT BY THE CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ANDCONSTITUTIONAL LAW
 – 
UGANDA ON THE ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL 2009
Submitted to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Uganda‟s parliament on 9
th
May 2011
 As man and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general, and in particular discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. When individuals are attacked,abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation, we must speak ou 
t. …Today, many 
nations have modern constitutions that guarantee essential rights and liberties. And yet,homosexuality is considered a crime in more than 70 countries. This is not right. Yes, we recognize that social attitudes run deep. Yes, social change often comes with time. But let there be no confusion; where there is tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, rights must carry the 
day. Personal disapproval, even society‟s disapproval is no excuse to arrest, detain, imprison, haras 
or torture anyone, ever.
 – 
 
Ban Ki-Moon
 When we discuss a contentious subject like homosexuality, we need to do so recognising that we are 
talking about human beings…We also need to realise that we live in a large world, not a narrow Uganda…
(in) my opinion as a pediatrician and medical doctor who has studied the subject of homosexuality, I can tell you that homosexuality is not an acquired condition 
. -
Dr. MuniniMulera
 
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
-
UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights
 
Introduction
 This statement is written and delivered by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights andConstitutional Law Uganda (herein after the Coalition). The Coalition is composed of over 31 civilsociety organizations, namely;1.
 
 Advocates for Public International Law in Uganda (APILU)2.
 
 African
 Women‟s Development Fund (AWDF)
 3.
 
 Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)4.
 
Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP)5.
 
Centre for Land Economy and Rights of Women (CLEAR-Uganda)6.
 
Centre for Women in Governance (CEWIGO)7.
 
Development Network for Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA)8.
 
East & Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EAHRDP)9.
 
Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE)10.
 
Frank and Candy Uganda
 
 Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law- Uganda211.
 
Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG)12.
 
Human Rights & Peace Centre (HURIPEC)
 – 
Faculty of Law, Makerere University 13.
 
Human Rights Awareness & Promotion Forum (HRAPF)14.
 
Icebreakers Uganda15.
 
Integrity Uganda16.
 
International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)17.
 
Lady Mermaid Bureau (LMB)18.
 
Mentoring and Empowerment Programme for Young Women (MEMPROW)19.
 
National Association of Women‟s Organiz
ations in Uganda (NAWOU)20.
 
National Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA)21.
 
National Guidance & Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS(NGEN+)22.
 
Raising Voices23.
 
Refugee Law Project (RLP)
 – 
Faculty of Law, Makerere University 24.
 
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)25.
 
Spectrum Uganda26.
 
Support Initiative for People with Atypical Sex Development (SIPD)27.
 
 Transgender Intersex and Transexuals Uganda28.
 
Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U)29.
 
Uganda Feminist Forum30.
 
Uganda Health Science and Press Association (UHSPA)31.
 
 Women‟s Organization & Network for Human Rights Advocacy (WONETHA)
  The Coalition came into being after the tabling of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 in theParliament of Uganda in September 2009. It serves as a forum for sexual rights advocacy within ahuman rights and constitutional law framework. The Coalition uses the law, research, publicawareness and dialogue as its main methods of work. The purpose of this statement is to provide the Legal and Parliamentary affairs Committee of theParliament of Uganda with a human rights and constitutional audit of the Anti Homosexuality Bill2009.
S
ummary of the Coalition’s Position on the Bill
 
 We note the fact that submissions have already been made to the Committee by differentstakeholders. We align ourselves with those submissions that reflect the position that the Bill is Anti-Human Rights, Anti-Constitutionalism and Anti-Good Governance. The Coalition
‟s unwavering 
position is that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 is incurably defective, and should be withdrawnfrom Parliament without any amendments whatsoever. The reasons for this are based on the law, the constitution, public health, African Culture and goodgovernance. The reasons are explained below;
 
 Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law- Uganda3
 The Co
alition’s legal
Position on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:, Unconstitutional,Disproportionate, and Redundant1.
 
Unconstitutional
Fact: Six of the eighteen substantive provisions of the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 are unconstitutional. This implies that parliament can only pass them after amending the constitution.
Under Article 2 of the constitution of Uganda, the Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda, andshall have binding force on
 ALL
authorities and persons throughout Uganda (emphasis ours). If any other law or any custom is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution, theConstitution shall prevail, and that other law or custom shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. This implies that six provisions of the Anti Homosexuality Bill can only be passed after amendmentof the Constitution. In other words, this is a No Go area for parliament until the Constitutionpermits it. The six unconstitutional provisions are;
Clause 2 of the Bill; The Offence of Homosexuality The prohibition of Homosexuality in section 2
of the Anti Homosexuality Bill isunconstitutional to the extent that it contravenes two key constitutional provisions: these areright to freedom from non discrimination and the right to privacy;
1)
 
Non- discrimination 
 Article 21(1) of the Constitution of Uganda provides for equality before and under thelaw and equal protection for all persons in Uganda. It reads that;
“ 
 All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural 
life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law”.
 
Sub-article 2 provides;
“ Without prejudice to clause(1) of this article, a person shall not be discriminated against on the ground 
of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, or social or economic standing, political 
opinion or disability.” 
 Under sub-article 3, it is provided that;

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