P.o Box: 501, Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda
+256 312 518 501
+256 771 840 233
Letter to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Release date: January 2, 2014
Dear Mr. President,
We are Ugandans in the Diaspora. At the hands of state officials, faith leaders, and family members we have been abused, demonized, and dehumanized. As a result, we have been forced to leave our country in search for safety. Although we find ourselves exiled, we remain connected by the spirit of nationalism.
We cannot undermine some of the opportunities our country has availed us. Our Motherland fed, educated, and gave our families a livelihood. Our heritage is undeniably Ugandan. As Ugandans, the struggles and triumphs of our nation form an undeniable fabric of who were are. Regrettably, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons in Uganda continue to be sidelined from enjoying the peace of the country.
In the wake of Parliament’s passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, we have found our collective voice to request for your intervention in upholding the values espoused by your leadership. The story of our country is that of liberation from tyranny at the hands of former leaders. We believe in the principles of peace and liberation as fought for by our freedom fighters. This year, Ugandans will look back on the progress our country has made over the past 28 years since the National Resistance Movement came into power. We still believe in a Uganda where all citizens have the freedom to exercise their inherent right to peaceful existence.
As human rights defenders, we have gathered well-documented evidence of house raids, discrimination by health providers, arbitrary arrest, death threats, and denial to tenancy. We request to work with your administration to find remedy to these human rights violations.
Mr. President, as you make these important decisions regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, we ask you to reflect on your response in regard to persecution of LGBTI Ugandans. As Ugandans await your decision on this bill, we ask you to consider the legislation as a matter of public policy and the effect signing the bill into law will have on policy issues such as health. We ask you to draw from your leadership on Uganda’s fight against HIV/AIDS that spotlighted our country as a model in fighting the pandemic.
Demonizing an already marginalized group of people creates an environment of fear which prevents them from seeking health services. Any law that criminalizes the existence of a particular group of people will hold back any progressive interventions made in the fight against AIDS.
Although the death penalty clause was eliminated from the bill, we believe that criminalizing innocent Ugandans and silencing those who address human rights violations will lead to escalated violence, discrimination, and blackmail against members of our community. If made law, the bill—as with all legislation that is not based on informed research—could be used as weaponry against heterosexual Ugandans who differ in belief and opinion. The effects of signing a bill that threatens the lives of innocent citizens may be impossible to reverse.
Mr. President, we call for meaningful dialogue on the issues that divide Ugandans. We ask for your leadership on this. We ask for informed research rather than irrational reaction on human sexuality so as to cultivate informed awareness. Social change in Uganda will not be achieved through violent action but through nonviolent action that recognizes and respects the humanity of all Ugandans.
May God grant you continued wisdom, direction, and counsel as you make decisions on the bill. We wish you and your family a fruitful 2014.
Ugandan LGBT activists in the Diaspora
Kuchu Diaspora Alliance[A2]
[A1]How I wish we already had an official header!
[A2]We need a name on behalf of this Val. Also a contact. That way it does not appear anonymous. I am setting up an email address for the group now from which the letter will be sent.