Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Uganda: anti-homosexual draft legislation

Delivered in Plenary - 17th January 2010

Mr President

Uganda is a deeply Christian country where traditional values hold sway. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda as it is in many African countries. We must of course be sensitive about forcing our more liberal and tolerant values on others, because it can sometimes be counterproductive.

But we should not be afraid to speak out against this outrageous bill, because it is clearly a draconian and hugely disproportionate piece of legislation. It would not only be seriously detrimental to the safety and freedom of homosexuals in Uganda, but it would also tarnish the image of Uganda throughout the world and make it into a pariah.

Uganda has made many great strides in the past two decades and, in some ways, can be seen as a model for Africa’s development. Why should Uganda’s parliamentarians choose to throw all that goodwill away? Why should they seek to place their country alongside brutal Iran, which regularly executes homosexuals in public?

Let us hope that, through our mutual outrage – in this House and in many other parliaments throughout the world – at this piece of brutal legislation, we can convince the Ugandan President to veto it.