U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Resolution Condemning Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a congressional resolution condemning an anti-gay bill before Uganda’s parliament, “calling it an attack on human rights and an obstacle to battling HIV/AIDS,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The symbolic measure asserts that ‘all people possess an intrinsic human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation, and share fundamental human rights,’ and warns the Ugandan bill, if enacted, ‘would set a troubling precedent,'” the news service writes.

“The proposed Ugandan bill not only threatens human rights, it also reverses so many of the gains that Uganda has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) said, according to AFP. In 2009, Uganda received nearly $300 million from the U.S. through PEPFAR for HIV prevention, care and treatment, AFP reports (2/3).

“More than three dozen members of Congress joined Berman in introducing the resolution (H. Res. 1064) (.pdf), including Committee Ranking Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL]; House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA); Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Chair Donald Payne (D-NJ); Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA); Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus; and Jim McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission,” according to a press release from the House Foreign Affairs Committee (2/3).

“The U.S. resolution expresses ‘unequivocal’ U.S. opposition [to the bill] and says U.S. aid to fight HIV/AIDS should be spent ‘in a manner that is efficient, effective, and appropriate to the local epidemiology of the disease, including in Uganda,'” the news service writes (2/3).

In related news, the Daily Monitor reports the Martin Shearman, the U.K. ambassador to Uganda, recently spoke out in opposition to the HIV Prevention and Control Bill, which “among other things, will compel HIV-positive people to reveal their status to their partners and also allows medical personnel to reveal one’s status to their partners” and “criminalises and imposes a maximum penalty of death on intentional transmission of the virus.”

Shearman “cautioned that while there are some positive aspects of the bill such as prohibition of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, the bill attempts to create a disease-specific offence which targets persons who have tested positive,” according to the newspaper (Lirri, 2/4).

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