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Uganda Universal Periodic Review session 19th Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland. 16 March 2012.

Thank you Madam President

On behalf of 7 LGBT organizations in Uganda, we commend the Ugandan government on the tremendous improvement in many sectors in recent years.

We also thank the government for positively engaging with the UPR process and accepting many of the recommendations from other states.

We are, however, very concerned by the rejection of recommendations regarding the rights and safety of LGBT persons. Uganda has accepted three recommendations which commit it to investigating and prosecuting attacks and intimidation against LGBTI persons, as well as to proactively take steps to prevent such attacks and discrimination. But the Government has rejected recommendations that would address the root causes of these violations – specifically the continued existence of criminal laws and inflammatory homophobic and transphobic rhetoric by government officials.

Madam President, we ask what specific measures the Government will take to implement the commitment to protect LGBT persons. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reintroduced in parliament in February. One week later a workshop on the human rights of LGBTI people was shut down by the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity. How does the State plan to respect the rights of sexual minorities when it continues to violate their rights to freedom of association and assembly?

Uganda is due to host the Inter parliamentary Union. Through you Madam President we urge the International community to challenge the Ugandan Parliament on the anti human rights nature of the Anti homosexuality Bill.

We call on the State to stand by its commitments and to now take active measures to show their opposition to the Bill. Finally, if this unnecessary, unconstitutional and dangerously discriminatory Bill is passed into law, we would call on this Council to hold Uganda to account. This Bill, if enacted, will inspire unprecedented hate crimes and violations in every area of life. We want Uganda to know the world is watching.

I thank you.