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Ugandan bill to ban NGOs from ‘promoting’ homosexuality in works

Opponents say measure will compound erosion of civil liberties


A junior government minister in Uganda says a bill to clamp down on the “promotion” of homosexuality by nongovernmental organizations is in the works, a couple months after the enactment of an anti-gay law that further criminalizes homosexuality in the country. 

James Baba, of the internal affairs ministry, claims there are NGOs that come to Uganda to “undermine” its citizens, interfere in its domestic affairs and “promote very bad behaviour like homosexuality,” Reuters reports.

If approved, the new bill would require all such groups to reveal their budgets and sources of income to the government on an annual basis. Foreign NGOs would also have to refrain from weighing in on, or getting involved in, local politics. Opponents of the proposed legislation see this development as a move that would worsen an already-precarious environment for civil liberties.

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, signed the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act into law in February. Speaking at a March 31 rally to celebrate the law’s enactment, Museveni told the hundreds-strong crowd that he would continue to defend the measure in defiance of international condemnation, and pressure — in the form of aid withdrawal or rerouting — to repeal it.

Museveni’s rhetoric about the anti-gay law on the domestic front differs from the tone he strikes when dealing with the international community.

Police recently raided an American-funded program that offers AIDS services to gay people in the capital city, Kampala, detaining at least two of its staff members. A government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, alleged that the Makerere University Walter Reed Project was “training youths in homosexuality.”