Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Secretary Clinton Responds to Congressional Concern about Uganda

I found this in today's HRC Backstory. I am pleased to see the Secretary stand up for us...still don't see myself serving in Uganda any time soon!

Secretary Clinton Responds to Congressional Concern about Uganda; Text Message Her to Show Your Support
Ty Cobb

In a written response to an October 30 letter from Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Howard Berman, Congressman Gary Ackerman and Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that she shares Capitol Hill’s concerns that Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill would “create fear, promote hatred, and potentially divide communities” in Uganda. Moreover, she stated that “the United States has urged Uganda to take all necessary measures to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, harassment, or discrimination.” According to the Secretary’s letter, she continues to monitor the bill and will continue to speak directly about the bill with Ugandan officials, human rights activists, and international donors.

The United States was the first government to issue a public statement condemning the proposed legislation. If you want to let the Secretary know that you oppose the proposed Ugandan bill, send her a text message at 90822 with a message like this: “Thank you for condemning the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. Please continue to stand up for international LGBT human rights.”

As a brief overview, the Ugandan bill:

* increases the penalty for consensual homosexual conduct from 14 years to life in prison;

*limits the distribution of HIV/AIDS prevention information through a provision criminalizing the “promotion of homosexuality;”

* creates a crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” punishing anyone who is HIV-positive with death for having consensual same-sex relations, even if the relations are informed and safe and regardless of whether the person is even aware of his or her HIV status; and

* exposes anyone in Uganda, including HIV/AIDS outreach experts, to a criminal sentence for not reporting to the government within 24-hours anyone who engages in homosexual activity.

HRC continues to work closely with the Council for Global Equality, a coalition of international human rights activists, foreign policy experts, LGBT leaders, philanthropists and corporate officials to encourage a clearer and stronger American voice on human rights concerns impacting LGBT communities around the world. The Council has taken a strong lead in condemnation of the Ugandan “Anti-Homosexual” bill.

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