Thursday, 17 December 2009
Department of Foreign Affairs
Human Rights Issues
Question 196: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the current Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Parliament of Uganda; if he has expressed his concerns abut this Bill to the Ugandan Government; the implications the passing of the Bill will have; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47741/09]
Uganda is one of the nine Programme Countries where Ireland has a commitment to long term strategic assistance. An important aspect of our programme of support for Uganda is a focus on good governance and respect for human rights. I am very concerned about the implications of the Private Members Bill which was tabled in the Ugandan Parliament in October, which is described by its proponents as an "Anti-Homosexuality Bill".
I have followed this issue closely and have discussed it in detail with our Ambassador to Uganda. Through our Embassy in Kampala, the Government has expressed our deep concerns about the Bill to the Government of Uganda. We have also coordinated closely with our EU partners in order to raise our concerns with the Ugandan authorities as a human rights issue. On 3 December, through the Swedish Presidency, the European Union formally raised its concerns about the draft Bill in a meeting with the State Minister of Foreign Affairs. Our Embassy in Kampala has also been engaging with the Uganda Human Rights Commission on issues relating to discrimination against sexual minorities. It has also sought the views of local human rights and representative groups on how the international community can most effectively support efforts to oppose such discrimination.
It is important to note that neither President Museveni nor the Government of Uganda has yet taken an official position on the Private Members Bill. I can assure the Deputy that Ireland will remain actively engaged with the Government of Uganda, pressing it to ensure that the Bill does not pass into law.