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Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Impact on AIDS and Public Health

by on January 17, 2010

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill has sparked heated debate, both locally and internationally, surrounding the future of human rights in Uganda. If imposed, the bill will both violate the human rights of the gay community and potentially impact every citizen in Uganda who relies on international aid. Sweden has already stated their disapproval by threatening to halt their aid to the country, while the United Nations recognizes that it will require Uganda to withdraw from a number of agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If the bill is passed, it is likely that other countries will take similar steps to hinder their foreign relations with Uganda. The results would be detrimental to the country especially on the issue of aid and health.Foreign aid is a major source of revenue for Uganda and its citizens. One of the industries that will be most affected by a cut in aid will be healthcare associated with HIV/AIDS. The authorization of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill will thwart current efforts to battle the disease. A number of provisions in the bill directly impact the amount of help organizations and healthcare professionals can offer to patients with HIV/AIDS. Human Rights Watch claims that “the bill would criminalize the legitimate work of national and international activists and organizations working for the defense and promotion of human rights in Uganda.” ?Also, under the new bill, providing safe-sex information or simply treating someone who’s gay can be seen as promoting or abetting “homosexuality and related practices” and will lead to imprisonment---a shocking violation of medical neutrality and the right to health. This will deter many medical professionals and HIV/AIDS workers from properly and efficiently providing their services to the Ugandan people.Here is the Human Rights Watch statement and some recent news editorials surrounding the bill. Congress is holding a hearing on this next week. Check back to see how you can take action to stop this bill!

Human Rights Watch

Washington Post

Global Post

USA Today

Places: Uganda

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