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Three NZ MPs urge veto of hateful Ugandan bill

Wed 28 Nov 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Jan Logie, Louisa Wall and Tau Henare MPs from three different parties have written a joint letter to Uganda’s President asking him to veto the progress of the internationally-condemned “Hate the Gays Bill” if it is passed in the Ugandan Parliament. National MP Tau Henare has joined with lesbian MPs Jan Logie from the Green Party and Louisa Wall from Labour to write a joint letter to President Yoweri Museveni. All three MPs visited Uganda earlier this year as New Zealand’s Delegation to the 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly. At that time the Delegation raised concerns with Ugandan Parliamentarians about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. “Uganda and New Zealand are both members of the IPU and so we are both committed to contribute to the defence and promotion of human rights,” Logie says. The trio explains that homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda but this Bill would limit the rights of gay and lesbian Ugandans further by outlawing any funding for organisations dealing with gay rights. In addition, it would force politicians to declare their stand on gay issues, and although the death penalty for the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” has reportedly been removed, the punishment of life imprisonment has been added. “We are strongly urging the President to meet Uganda’s commitments under the IPU, because all people deserve to be safe regardless of their sexuality,” Henare says. Wall adds that we live in a diverse world that recognises both gender identity and sexual orientation. “To restrict the freedom of expression and rights of non-heterosexuals, or to suggest that they are child abusers or sexual deviants, undermines their fundamental human right to live in dignity and respect.” Logie points out that 26 years ago New Zealand decriminalised homosexuality and our society only improved by being more supportive of human rights. “So it’s important that we share this experience and challenge any government seeking to remove or undermine those rights.” Wall says the current debate around marriage equality in New Zealand is in stark contrast to the experience in Uganda. “Here, we can be who we are and express our sexual self-determination and what they are proposing would make that not only dangerous but impossible for Ugandans,” she says. “Defending and promoting human rights is an essential factor of democracy and that includes the rights of all people, including gay and lesbians,” Henare concludes. You can discuss this gay New Zealand community news story in the forum here    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 28th November 2012 - 5:43pm

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