Uganda: Parliament to take up bill that could re-criminalize LGBT rights work

Ugandan lawmakers are due to take up legislation in an emergency session that could achieve one of the key goals of the sweeping anti-LGBT legislation struck down by the country’s Constitutional Court in 2014: the criminalization of groups supporting LGBT rights.

The proposal, known as the NGO bill, is about much broader issues than LGBT rights. It would expand the power of the government’s current NGO Board, allowing it to ban non-governmental organizations for essentially any reason, including when a group’s goals are “in contravention of the law” or if it is “in the public interest to refuse to register the organization.” Any organization that doesn’t register, which is how many LGBT groups currently operate in Uganda, would be considered illegal.

“There is absolutely no doubt that a significant part of the NGO bill seeks to reintroduce in part the things that were in the Anti-Homosexuality Act,” said Nicholas Opiyo, the lawyer who made the winning argument that got the law struck down last August. Cissy Kagaba, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda, said “We are approaching elections and government is concerned about our ability to mobilize and influence the masses against corruption and related other related evils that the government is engaged in.” If the bill passes, she warns, “[w]ithin in 6 months we shall cease to exist”  Read More via Buzzfeed