Uganda puts anti-gay bill on hold

Originally published in Sunday Times

Uganda’s parliament adjourned on Friday (May 13) without acting on a much-criticised anti-gay Bill that would mandate the death sentence in some cases, drawing praise from an advocacy group that said parliament’s failure to act was a ‘victory for all Ugandans’, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

It notes Speaker of Parliament Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuka said there was no time to take up the Bill this session, which ends on Wednesday, leaving the Bill’s future uncertain. No date has been set for parliamentary businesss to resume.

The bill has drawn criticism from US leaders and human rights groups. The US State Department spokesperson called the bill “odious” and said no changes to the bill’s wording would justify its passage.

Avaaz, an internet group that champions action on issues such as poverty and climate change, called it a “victory for all Ugandans and people across the world who value human rights” that parliament did not take action on Friday.

“This vile bill is a matter of life and death for gay Ugandans, and would have seen the execution, imprisonment and persecution of friends of Avaaz, and thousands of others who have committed no crime at all. We must now ensure this heinous bill can never return,” said Alice Jay, the group’s campaign director.

David Bahati, who authored the bill, has said he would try to move the legislation forward next session.

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