Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Uganda: Discrimination against the LGBT population

Delivered in Plenary - 16th December 2010

Mr President

Societies in Africa are, in general, socially conservative. In many African countries, sadly, homosexuality is indeed outlawed. Many people in Africa feel threatened by efforts to promote homosexuality, particularly when those efforts are led by NGOs and organisations based in the west. There is a widely held perception in some parts of Africa that liberal democracies are trying to push their own, more tolerant, values on societies with very different and ancient traditions.

But, be that as it may, it does not excuse or justify the rampant homophobia that exists widely in some parts of Africa. Sadly this homophobia is often stirred up by governments and their media mouthpieces. Uganda is yet again in the news for the extremism and hysteria of some of its legislators. They are supporting a bill that would impose the death penalty, or life imprisonment, on homosexuals, depending on the nature of their so-called crime. I, like the ECR Group, reject this draconian bill, which would be an atrocious violation of individual rights, and call on President Museveni to veto it. Uganda is a country in which the majority of people survive on a dollar a day: surely the country’s legislators can find better ways to serve the interests of Ugandan society than to make gays subject to criminal prosecution.