February 26, 2014
President Yoweri Museveni, Members of Parliament of Uganda,
and the People of the Republic of Uganda
Through Ms Elizabeth Napeyok, High Commissioner,
Ugandan High Commission in New Delhi, India
New Delhi 110057
We register here our strong condemnation of President Museveni’s signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 into law. The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 violates the basic human rights of the kuchus of Uganda, impeding their right to live and love without harm to others, in enjoyment of the rights of freedom and equality guaranteed by the Ugandan Constitution. In the face of this severe blow to the struggle for universal human rights, we reassert our solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, disabled and HIV-affected people of Uganda, and of all 36 of Africa’s 55 countries where same-sex relations are illegal.
We write as citizens of India, also a former British colony grappling with the multiple legacies of colonialism, of which the inheritance of homophobic laws is only one. We too have been told that homosexuality is a ‘Western import’ that is alien to our culture. This claim flies in the face of a wealth of evidence of same-sex love and desire in our histories and cultures. It is a matter of fact that same-sex love in our cultures, and in parts of Africa including Uganda, was accepted, and in some contexts, celebrated until the advent of the colonial experience. It is a claim that, moreover, is contradicted by the fact that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, represents the most aggressive institutionalisation of the criminalisation of homosexuality in the history of the Indian subcontinent. It is this legislative initiative of an unrepresentative colonial state that was then replicated in only slightly modified forms in other colonies of the British state, including Uganda. It is homophobia, rather than homosexuality that is a colonial legacy. Today, we are engaged, along with our counterparts in other ex-British colonies, in an ongoing struggle against this legacy of colonialism, a struggle in which we have relied primarily on the activist labours of our people and on the moral and legal commitments of laws and Constitutions that we have given unto ourselves.
As a post-colonial state that is proud of its hard-won independence, we understand, share and support Uganda’s commitment to realising and maintaining democratic decision making processes, in line with your Constitution and in the exercise of your sovereignty, unimpeded by the external world.
In this context, we are concerned by numerous analyses and critical commentaries that have shown the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 is itself an externally sponsored initiative, drafted with considerable encouragement and advice from US-based evangelicals whose moral, theological and political agendas do not prioritise, or rather undermine the welfare of the entirety of Uganda’s people. In this context it is important to emphasise that the Act disregards and devalues the lives of Uganda’s own people. We urge you to listen to those brave Ugandan voices in every walk of life who have stood up for basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people in Uganda without regard to considerations of tribe, region, religion, sex, nationality, disability, or sexuality.
We reach out in solidarity against attempts at imperialist control over our political, moral, ethical and cultural lives. The irony of history is that the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, which is an instance of such attempts at control, is being hailed as evidence of the expression of sovereignty. To recognise the rights of all Ugandans to lives of dignity, equality and freedom of expression and assembly, by immediately repealing the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 would be the true assertion of sovereignty.
Signed:A. Mani, University of Calcutta, Kolkata* Aarthi Pai, CASAM, SANGRAM, Bangalore Abhi Tam, Hyderabad Abhijit Majumder, Fellow, InStem-NCBS, Bangalore Abhishek Divyam, Guwahati Achintya Prahlad Adam Fernandes, Mumbai Aditi, TISS, Mumbai Aditya Narvekar, Navi Mumbai Aiswarya J Akhil Kumar, Youth Ki Awaaz, New Delhi Akshata Ravi, Mumbai Akshay Khanna Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore Amborish Roychoudhury, Mumbai Amritananda Chakravorty, Lawyers Collective, New Delhi Anand Pendharkar, Mumbai Ananya Dutta Roy, Youth for Equality, Silchar Andy Silveira, Hyderabad Ann Ninan, India Anshuman Das, Cuttack Anurag Nair, Bangalore Aravind Chandrasekaran, Chennai Aravindh C., Trichy Archana Shetty, Bangalore Arunima Dey, Mumbai Arushi Singh, Rights Activist, Goa Ashitosh, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Ashwitha, Secondary School Teacher, Mumbai Association of Transgender/Hijra in Bengal, Kolkata AUD Queer Collective, New Delhi Avinash Matta, Hyderabad Bharat, New Delhi Brenda Lias, Orlando, Florida, USA C Moulee, Orinam, Chennai Chanakya, India Chayanika Shah, Member, LABIA, Bombay ChemsEddine HAKIMI, Algiers, Algeria Chhandita Chakravarty, Hyderabad Chiranjoy, Guwahati Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault, New Delhi CREA, New Delhi Cynthia Tiphagne, Sudhathra, Madurai Danny Bhotia, New Delhi Deep Nand, Mumbai Deepak, Thrissur Deeptaarko Dutto, Malda Deepti Murali, Mumbai Deepti Sharma, New Delhi Deya Bhattachaya, Femin Ijtihad, Calcutta Dhamini Ratnam, Journalist, Mumbai Dolly Koshy, Secular Humanist, Bengaluru Dr. Gilles DENIZOT, Chennai Dr. S. Rajgopal, Coimbatore Felix, Orinam, Chennai Garima Sharma, Mumbai Gayatri Chawla, Patna Gayatri Menon, Bangalore Gayatri Sekar, Chennai Goutam Sahoo, Bhubaneswar Gowthaman Ranganathan, Lawyer, Bangalore Gulshan Kumar Mittal, Guwahati Hari Menon, Bangalore Hariharan, Chennai Harish Iyer, Equal Rights Campaigner, Mumbai Harshavardhan Goel, Student at the National Law School of India, Bangalore Henri Tiphagne, Convenor, WGHR, New Delhi Himangshu Kalita, Guwahati India HIV/AIDS Alliance, New Delhi Isha Singh Sawhney, freelance journalist, New Delhi Janani Vaidya, Jaya Sharma, New Delhi Jayant Iyer, Bangalore Jayesh Gopi, Mumbai K Rahul Sharma, New Delhi Kabi S, Bombay Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist and Human Rights Activist, Mumbai Karishma Dorai, Mumbai Karthik Umapathi, Chennai Karuna Nundy, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi Kaveri R I, LesBiT, Hyderabad Kaveri, India Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, New Delhi Kavita Srivastava, Jaipur Kavya Murthy, Bangalore Ketaki, Delhi Keval Patvi, Mumbai Kiran Shaheen, Media Action and Research Group, New Delhi Krishna B, Karur, Tamil Nadu Kunal Kochhar, Panchkula L Ramakrishnan, public health professional, Chennai LABIA Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Bombay Lena Ganesh Lenin, New Delhi Lesley Esteves, Queer Rights Activist, New Delhi Linda Dale, Leek Staffordshire, UK Madhana RNR, Lancaster, PA, USA Maisnam Arnapal, Delhi University, New Delhi Maksoom Ali, Pahal Foundation, Faridabad Mamatha Karollil, Ambedkar University, New Delhi Manak Matiyani, Delhi Queer Pride, Community-The Youth Collective, New Delhi Manojkiran C, Chennai Mario da Penha, Mumbai Maya Sharma, Vikalp (Women’s Group), Baroda Mayur Suresh, Lawyer, Bangalore Meena Seshu, Director, Sangram, Sangli Minal Hajratwala, Bangalore Mohnish Malhotra, Queer Rights Activist, New Delhi Monica Narula, New Delhi Mridul Dudeja, Mumbai N. Jayaram, Journalist, Bangalore Namrata Bajaj, Mumbai Nandini Rao, New Delhi Neal Sen, Youth for Social Change, Mumbai Noor Enayat Nuzhat Nasreen, Student Oishik Sircar, Academic and Lawyer, Kolkata Orinam, Chennai Padmini Baruah, WHaQ, Bangalore Pankaj Nanda, Delhi Paroma Mukherjee, Photographer, New Delhi Partners for Law in Development, New Delhi Pawan Dhall, Varta, Kolkata Payoshni Mitra Ponni Arasu, Chennai Pramada Menon, Gurgaon Prasanna R, Orinam, Chennai Pratik Bahekar, Mumbai Priyank Verma, Mumbai Pronoy Rai, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA Punita Gupta, Photographer, Mumbai Purwa Bharadwaj, Delhi Rachit Sai Barak, Media Professional, New Delhi Rafiul Alom Rahman, DU Queer Collective, New Delhi Rahil Chatterjee, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai Rahul Patel Rahul Rao Raj Patel, Goa Rajendra Parihar, University of Delhi, New Delhi Rakhi Sehgal, Labour Activist Ram Chakraborty, Kolkata Ranjana Padhi, New Delhi Ranjita Sinha, Kolkata Regina Hansda, University of Cambridge, UK Richa Jha, India Ricky Patel, London, UK Rituparna Borah, Delhi Robin Bose, Chennai Rohit K Dasgupta, University of the Arts, London, UK Ronald, Mumbai Roshni Sen, Youth for Social Change, Mumbai Rupa Kanapathipillai, Australia Ryan Figueiredo, International Planned Parenthood Federation, South Asia Office, New Delhi Sadia Saeed, Delhi Samira Obeid, University of South Florida, Florida, USA Samraj Kundi, Park Surgery, Middlesbrough, UK Sandhya Luther, India/USA Sapan Parekh, Mumbai Saptarshi Mandal, Lawyer, New Delhi Sarabjeet Singh, Mumbai Sathya Bose, just a lover of equality, Mumbai Satnam Kaur, Saheli, New Delhi Satya, Sampoorna [For Trans* Indians – By Trans* Indians – Across the Globe], India Saurabh Bondre, Mumbai Saurabh Shabdik, Silchar Sayan Bhattacharya, Kolkata Shalini Krishan, New Delhi Shambhavi Madhan, Chennai Sharmi Surianarain, African Leadership Academy, Johannesburg, South Africa Sharmila C, India Shilpa Ahluwalia, Professional Social Worker Shiv Sahoo, New Delhi Shiva Karthik, Preston, United Kingdom Shobhna S. Kumar, Mumbai Shreyas Kumari, Santa Clara, USA Shridhar Sadasivan, Orinam, Chennai Shrinkhla Agrawal Shruti Gautam, Delhi Shubham Bose Roy, Delhi Queer Pride Committee, New Delhi Sibi Mathen, Yaariyan and Queer Azaadi Mumbai, Mumbai Siddhant, Mumbai Smriti Nevatia, writer, feminist, Mumbai Smruthi Narayan, LGBT individual and activist, Hyderabad Sonal Sharma, Researcher, Ambedkar University, New Delhi Sonia Singhal, Mumbai Soorya Sriram, Humanist, Chennai Soumya Tejas, Campaigner at Must Bol, New Delhi Sreekala MG, New Delhi Subhankar Das, Punjab Sudeepthi, Chennai Suhas Vasudev, New Delhi Sumathi. N, Bangalore Sundar Jeyaraman, Suneeta Dhar, India Sunil Mohan, Bangalore Sushil Rathi, Kharagpur Swati, Boston, MA, USA Sylvester Merchant, Lakshya Trust, Gujarat Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Ahmedabad Tanya Joshua, Chennai TARSHI, New Delhi Thaddeus Alfonso, Goa Udayan Dhar, Diversity Consultant at Mingle, Mumbai Uma V Chandru, PUCL-BLR Member, Bangalore Vaasu, Mumbai Vic Advani Friman, India/Sweden Vidya Pai, Bangalore Vihang Ghalsasi, Heidelberg, Germany Vikram S, Chennai Vinay Chandran, Executive Director, Swabhava Trust, Bangalore Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, India Yadavendra Singh, India HIV/AIDS Alliance, New Delhi Zoya Chhabra
*All cities are in India, unless specified