Hon. Nabilah Naggayi Sempala on Gay Rights and the Aha

As a representative of a growing, multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-ideological constituency, I have a task of harmonizing a diverse constituent group. As a global citizen, I feel at ease with Kampala residents, even those that hold divergent views and beliefs different from mine. As an avid human rights activist stemming from my work in the Women’s movement, I know that the basis of human rights is simplified in the 1948 United Nations Declarations on Human Rights.

Over the years as the member of parliament of Kampala, I’ve engaged and interacted with diverse people, being insightfully aware of their peculiarities and uniqueness. I am proud of my culture, religion but at the same time, I accept other cultures and religions and keep my orientation focused on the individuals who make up the Kampala polity.

Sex-workers are a reality in Kampala, single mothers are too, and the gay community in Kampala is real. I’ve severally interacted with all of them and done activism work with and for all! I identify with the different layers of society in Kampala and don’t look at them with moral lenses, I just look at them as citizens.

It is true I did make a statement after appending my signature to the petition of the recommittal of the AHA in parliament that an amendment be made to insert a clause to protect women against anal sex in the precincts of their marital homes!

After signing the recommitment of the Anti-homosexuality Act last month, I traveled to the USA for the Uganda North American Association(UNAA) convention in San Diego, California and it was there that I was called for an interview about what is usually referred to as, the “Kill the Gays Bill” in the US, in nearby San Francisco.

I had the opportunity of meeting Ugandans in San Francisco, California who are publicly gay and most of their family members in Uganda are “ignorantly”aware of their status. Actually, one couple was rushing to get married at the City Hall in San Francisco, among other gay couples! I witnessed all this and more because Melanie Nathan, a prominent lawyer and LGBT activist, who represents them in legal cases invited me to have a first hand experience before the interview.

The interview I had henceforth was carried out by a journalist called Michelle Meow of the TALK STREAM NETWORK about the situation on the gays in Uganda. It centered on the human rights issues in Uganda and was not limited to the Anti-homosexuality Act(AHA). For instance I also talked about other infamous Acts such as the Public Order Management Act 2013.

Uganda is signatory to different protocols and conventions, both regional and international, on human rights, however, basic human rights are still ignored.

During the interview, I alluded to the selective demand for human rights by the US “Human Rights are not selective! What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander! What human rights are important in the west, like rights for the gays should be a subset of the general human rights situation in Uganda! There are several acts against basic human rights in uganda, citing the Public Order Management Act that prohibits freedom of assembly. This is a violation of basic human rights and the USA and the west didn’t put a lot of effort in campaigning against it the way they are with the AHA! I told Michelle quote ” Unfortunately, we don’t have enough rights going round in Uganda” “if the US government wants human rights in Uganda, it should not be selective, i.e to champion and put their focus on only the gay rights!” The US should know that under dictatorship, Laws that curtail general rights ought to be fought holistically!”

Source : The Independent

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