Published on March 3, 2014 | by Laure Fourquet0
UAL students ‘devastated’ by Uganda’s homophobic bill
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni called LGBT members “mercenaries” and “prostitutes” as he signed a bill that punishes citizens caught performing “homosexual offences” with up to life sentences.
According to Al Jazeera, Musaveni stated: “Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money.”
The new law would extend prohibitions and sanctions in a country where same sex relationships are already a crime, to include acts such as “suggestive touching” in public.
Juliet Atto, a journalism student at LCC, was born in Kampala, Uganda, but raised in Sweden; she told Arts London News that she feels “absolutely devastated about the bill being signed.”
She said: “I’m also a part of the LGBT community, but just as a fellow human being. One does not have to be gay or Ugandan to be hurt by it. It’s heart breaking.”
Filip Bigos, President of UAL’s LGBTQ society, said he hopes the international community will put pressure on countries such as Uganda to change these kinds of legislations.
He stated: “I would expect direct input on this matter from the Queen, the formal Head of Commonwealth, as well as her Prime Minister in the form of support and international negotiations.”
“One does not have to be gay or Ugandan to be hurt by it. It’s heart breaking.” Juliet Atto
The law originally proposed capital punishment for some homosexual acts, but that was later removed because of international criticism.
President Museveni, who initially stated that he would not sign the bill until scientific advice was received, has asked for the West to stop what he calls “social imperialism” promoting homosexuality in Africa.
In a statement, Archbishop Desmond Tutu condemned the Ugandan President’s decision, stating: “There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.”