France has joined the United States in publicly condemning Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would vastly strengthen the country’s anti-gay laws.
“France expresses deep concern regarding the bill currently before the Ugandan parliament,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement sent to AFP in Kampala on Monday.
“France reiterates its commitment to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
In an opinion piece published in Uganda’s Observer newspaper on Monday, the author of the bill, lawmaker David Bahati, argued that “homosexuality is not a human right”.
“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is a nice piece of legislation. It aims at holding the integrity of Ugandans high in the sky,” Bahati argued.
“The fact that the moral fabric of America and Europe has been put under siege by the supporters of this creeping evil of homosexuality should not suggest that we follow suit.”
Also on Monday, Human Rights Watch reported that four members of the US House of Representatives have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the bill, arguing that its passage would undermine the effectiveness of American taxpayer funds spent in Uganda to help curb HIV and AIDS.
“This egregious bill represents one of the most extreme anti-equality measures ever proposed in any country,” Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a letter, co-signed by three other lawmakers.
Last year, the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) spending in Uganda amounted to almost $US300 million ($A334 million), around 2.6 per cent of the Ugandan economy, Ros-Lehtinen noted.
“We believe the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would undermine the substantial US contribution to Uganda through PEPFAR and raise serious questions about the effectiveness of this global health investment,” she wrote.
Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo said last week that Uganda has no intention of heeding the advice of foreigners on the issue of homosexuality.