|I received these two articles Tuesday morning through the Black AIDS Institute and needed to share:|
From “The Miracle of Uganda” to Impending Genocidal Nightmare
|First Published: 12/7/2009|
|The Ugandan Parliament is considering legislation that completely violates any standard of human rights. The bill would not only criminalize being gay – exposing gay and lesbian people to arrest and even death – it would also, in effect, criminalize even knowing someone who's gay, requiring that nation's citizens to report homosexual activity or face imprisonment themselves.|
If this pending legislation passes, it will totally undermine HIV/AIDS efforts in a nation whose previous interventions have resulted in comparatively low AIDS rates, giving rise to the phrase "the Ugandan miracle." People who already have AIDS would be subject to tremendous stigma, as would those at risk for HIV. What's more, it would call into question whether Uganda is a place where the United States can continue to invest PEPFAR or other development dollars.
Most importantly, the passage of these laws would set people up for sexual-orientation-based "ethnic cleansing," including witch hunts that pit family member against family member, neighbor against neighbor, as previously happened in Rwanda.
So far, the U.S. response to these proposed statues can only be described as timid as best. But we call upon the United States government to stand by its commitments to human rights and against HIV/AIDS. There is no room for neutrality. We would be loud and forceful if the Ugandan Parliament introduced a bill that made it illegal to be female with the potential penalty being death. Our response to this legislation should be no less.
The State Department should declare its opposition to this legislation without delay. Ambassador Goosby must make it clear to the highest levels of the Ugandan health ministry that passage of such legislation would have severe consequences.
Uganda has been held up as role model for how developing countries can create public policies that change the trajectory of the AIDS pandemic. It would be tragic to allow this type of hate-filled policy to derail those efforts. There are been too many times in our nation's past when, given the opportunity to intervene in time to avert disaster, we were slow or too timid. Let’s not repeat those mistakes here.