LGBTI rights activists are trying to block President Yoweri K Museveni’s planned visit to the United Kingdom for the Commonwealth summit mid-April 2018.
An online petition by Godfrey Kawalya, a Ugandan gay man and an LGBTI human rights activist, living in United Kingdom has been endorsed by more than 20,500 people – as of March 10, 2018.
Mr Kawalya claims he left Uganda “due to the degrading and inhuman treatment” he received under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni because of his sexuality.
“I have Post traumatic depression which is likely to be triggered by the presence of the main perpetrator of my worst experience as a gay man. I therefore appeal to you to sign this petition such that Mr Yoweri Museveni can be stopped from coming to United Kingdom,” Kawalya’s petition to the United Kingdom Home Secretary, Amber Rudd reads.
“The United Kingdom government prides itself as one of the best countries for LGBTI people, but I am very worried that this well-deserved record will be damaged by the official reception of the leader of one of the worst countries to be gay in the world,” It continues.
“He claims that homosexuality is a life choice and any demand for equality and justice for LGBTI people is just ‘social imperialism’. He has stated that it is a bad omen, sinful and unreligious for any person to receive aid from a person who advocates for LGBTI equality. This is a clear violation of the Commonwealth and British values, hence making him a threat to the British public,” It adds.
In UK, LGBT citizens have most of the same legal rights as non-LGBT citizens and the nation provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for its LGBT communities.
Recent polls have indicated that a majority of British people support same-sex marriage and 76% of the UK agreed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, one of the highest in the world.
On the other hand, Uganda has zero tolerance to homosexual behavior.
The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 was passed on 17 December 2013 with a punishment of life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality.” The bill was signed into law by the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni on 24 February 2014. On 1 August 2014, however, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the Act invalid on procedural grounds.
In April 2018 (16th-20th), the UK will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and leaders from all the member countries – including Uganda are expected to gather in London and Windsor.
The summit’s theme is: ‘Towards a common future’ and is focused on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth to ensure this unique organisation is responsive to global challenges and delivers a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for all its citizens, particularly its young people.
Her Majesty the Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth and attends the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.