Dr. Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) met with Uganda’s Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka yesterday to discuss the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) – a law that seeks to criminalize gay sexual affairs in Uganda.
Dr. Winnie Byanyima, also the wife to Uganda’s veteran Opposition politician Dr. Kizza Besigye urged the Attorney General to “analyze and advise [the government of Uganda] on [the] health, human rights, and economic impacts” of the Anti-Homosexuality Act – at the meeting held at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Offices in Kampala.
The Uganda-born international development expert and former politician reportedly expressed misgivings to the Attorney General that the Anti-Homosexuality Act could have the undesirable effect of rolling back Uganda’s gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS by increasing stigma, discrimination, and violence against gay people [LGBTQI] noting that; “courageous leadership is needed now more than ever.”
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“ We must not forget that LGBTQI people are also human beings with rights. The AHA will only increase discrimination, violence, and stigma against them and undermine progress made against AIDS… At the UN, we recognize that each country and person has a unique journey on questions of sexual orientation and gender identity. We also firmly believe in Universality of Human Rights and urge Uganda to uphold its commitments to non-discrimination, health and life for all.”Dr. Winnie Byanyima said after the meeting.
Uganda’s Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act in a second vote last week with slight amendments after President Yoweri Museveni refused to assent to the initial version passed in March.
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka last month reportedly described some of the provisions of the Anti-Homosexuality Act as “redundant” for being mere repetitions of provisions contained in other laws.
Nonetheless, Mr. Kiryowa Kiwanuka, according to a Statement by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs emphasized in his meeting with Dr. Winnie Byanyima that;
“ the law was a reflection of the sentiment of Ugandans as expressed through their elected representatives [MPs] who legislated on this matter specifically to address changing societal challenges in order to criminalize aspects that weren’t covered by the existing laws, for example; to discourage the deliberate recruitment [into homosexual Acts] of minors and to protect them.”
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka further addressed the controversy about Uganda losing “aid” in the era of the Anti-Homosexuality Act saying that the law “does not in any way stop anyone or any organization from extending HIV and/or AIDS services to any person.”
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