Article Title:Ugandan Pride to follow crucial ruling
Category:International News
Author or Daily News staff
Published on:2nd August 2014 - 09:01 am
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Story ID:15490
Text:Gay rights campaigners celebrate the ruling. Picture / Spectrum Uganda. “Wave your flag so high for Ugandan gay pride 2014 coming next week,” is the message from glbti rights group Spectrum Uganda in the wake of the Anti-Homosexuality Act being declared null and void. “Let’s celebrate and ‘jubilate’ this milestone and landmark in the history of the Ugandan lgbti community,” it says, adding "we must paint Kampala rainbow." Last night, Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled the law which allowed people to be jailed for life for “aggravated homosexuality” was null and void. Its five judges agreed it was passed illegally by Uganda’s Parliament because there were not enough lawmakers present. The law also introduced jail terms for anyone who “aids, abets [or] counsels” a gay person, or “promoted” homosexuality. It was widely condemned and led to aid cuts. Human Rights Watch’s senior Africa researcher Maria Burnett says it’s an important victory, “especially for the activists and lawyers who boldly denounced the law and argued the case, despite the personal toll.” However she says concerns over the law and the human rights situation in Uganda remain. “There are already signals that the government may appeal the ruling, and parliament could try to pass the law again, this time with the required quorum.” She points out same-sex conduct remains a crime under Uganda’s colony-era sodomy law. “Those rights remain at risk in Uganda and there are serious concerns about where Uganda is heading. Intimidation of journalists has marked various episodes of Museveni’s long tenure. Opposition leaders have been placed under ‘preventive’ house arrest when trying to attend demonstrations or address public gatherings. Police have responded to protests with intimidation, arbitrary arrest, and unnecessary lethal force. A public order law passed last year grants the police wide discretionary powers to obstruct demonstrations. “The discriminatory HIV Prevention and Management Bill, currently sitting on the president’s desk for signature, criminalizes HIV transmission, allows mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women and their partners, and permits medical providers to disclose a patient’s HIV status to others. “With Museveni preparing to run in 2016 for another five-year term, there’s a high risk in the coming years of more repression of independent media, activists, and protests, amid public discontent over corruption and poor governance. Donors need to be alert and ready to react to these trends with the same vigor they showed toward the Anti-Homosexuality Act.” Some of those in court say they immediately received death threats from anti-gay leaders present after the decision was announced.     
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