Ugandan bill to ban NGOs from ‘promoting’ homosexuality in works

Opponents say measure will compound erosion of civil liberties

A junior government minister in Uganda says a bill to clamp down on the “promotion” of homosexuality by nongovernmental organizations is in the works, a couple months after the enactment of an anti-gay law that further criminalizes homosexuality in the country.

James Baba, of the internal affairs ministry, claims there are NGOs that come to Uganda to “undermine” its citizens, interfere in its domestic affairs and “promote very bad behaviour like homosexuality,” Reuters reports.

If approved, the new bill would require all such groups to reveal their budgets and sources of income to the government on an annual basis. Foreign NGOs would also have to refrain from weighing in on, or getting involved in, local politics. Opponents of the proposed legislation see this development as a move that would worsen an already-precarious environment for civil liberties.

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, signed the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act into law in February. Speaking at a March 31 rally to celebrate the law’s enactment, Museveni told the hundreds-strong crowd that he would continue to defend the measure in defiance of international condemnation, and pressure — in the form of aid withdrawal or rerouting — to repeal it.

Museveni’s rhetoric about the anti-gay law on the domestic front differs from the tone he strikes when dealing with the international community.

Police recently raided an American-funded program that offers AIDS services to gay people in the capital city, Kampala, detaining at least two of its staff members. A government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, alleged that the Makerere University Walter Reed Project was “training youths in homosexuality.”

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

Read More About:
Power, News, Human Rights, Africa

Keep Reading

Job discrimination against trans and non-binary people is alive and well

OPINION: A study reveals that we have a long way to go to reach workplace equality for trans and non-binary people

The new generation of gay Conservative sellouts

OPINION: Melissa Lantsman’s and Eric Duncan’s refusals to call out their party’s transphobia is a betrayal of the LGBTQ2S+ community

Over 300 anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills have been introduced this year. This doesn’t mean we should panic

OPINION: While it’s important to watch out for threats, not all threats are created equally. Some of these bills will die a natural death

Xtra’s top LGBTQ2S+ stories of the year

The best and brightest—even most bewildering—stories from a back catalogue brimming with insight