Uganda - Human Rights

Human Rights

Main article: Human rights in Uganda

There are many areas which continue to attract concern when it comes to human rights in Uganda.

Conflict in the northern parts of the country continues to generate reports of abuses by both the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, and the Ugandan Army. A UN official accused the LRA in February 2009 of "appalling brutality" in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The number of internally displaced persons is estimated at 1.4 million. Torture continues to be a widespread practice amongst security organisations. Attacks on political freedom in the country, including the arrest and beating of opposition Members of Parliament, have led to international criticism, culminating in May 2005 in a decision by the British government to withhold part of its aid to the country. The arrest of the main opposition leader Kizza Besigye and the siege of the High Court during a hearing of Besigye's case by heavily armed security forces – before the February 2006 elections – led to condemnation.

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported several violations of refugee rights in 2007, including forcible deportations by the Ugandan government and violence directed against refugees.

Homosexuality itself is not technically illegal in Uganda, but sodomy laws from the British colonial era are still on the books and there is a strong social bias against homosexuality. Gays and lesbians face discrimination and harassment at the hands of the media, police, teachers, and other groups. In 2007, a Ugandan newspaper, The Red Pepper, published a list of allegedly gay men, many of whom suffered harassment as a result. Also on 9 October 2010, the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published a front page article titled "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak" that listed the names, addresses, and photographs of 100 homosexuals alongside a yellow banner that read "Hang Them". The paper also alleged that homosexuals aimed to "recruit" Ugandan children. This publication attracted international attention and criticism from human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, No Peace Without Justice and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. According to gay rights activists, many Ugandans have been attacked since the publication. On 27 January 2011, gay rights activist David Kato was murdered. Kato was on Rolling Stone's hit list. Also a number of other gays and lesbians are missing and are believed to have been murdered.

Main article: Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

In 2009, the Ugandan parliament considered an Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would have broadened the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, or are HIV-positive, and engage in same-sex sexual acts. The bill also included provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited back to Uganda for punishment, and included penalties for individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental organisations that support LGBT rights. The private member's bill was submitted by MP David Bahati in Uganda on 14 October 2009, and is believed to have had widespread support in the Uganda parliament. Debate of the bill was delayed in response to global condemnation but is now expected to be passed before Christmas 2012. The hacktivist group Anonymous has hacked into Ugandan government websites in protest of homophobic bills.

Read more about this topic:  Uganda

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