The SA Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) has expressed its disappointment at the failure of the South African government to condemn Uganda’s extreme anti-gay bill or to respond to calls to do so.
The organisation said that that while some nations, including France and the UK, have issued statements opposing the proposed law, South Africa, home to the most progressive constitution on the continent that specifically protects LGBT rights, has failed to do so.
“South Africa, the supposed triumph of democracy and bright shining light of human rights in Africa, has not only not condemned this barbarism, but so far blatantly ignored all calls to do so,” said SA GLAAD.
The Ugandan bill, which retains the current life sentence for homosexuality, would impose the death penalty for those who have gay sex with disabled or under age people and would ban any expression of support for gays and lesbians and their rights.
The organisation said that it had launched a campaign on October 18 to call the President’s hotline to encourage President Zuma to take up this issue, but so far had no response.
“We wonder why the SA government steadfastly refuses to take on Uganda (and other countries) for their shocking human rights abuses” said SA GLAAD in a statement.
The South African government has shown a tendency to overlook human rights abuses in Africa, especially those relating to LGBT people. In December last year it refused to sign a declaration at the United Nations calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world.
“We see here an historic opportunity for South Africans to take a stand for human rights, to condemn this horror and to restore the reputation of South Africa as the ‘human rights miracle’ it was once seen to be,” added SA GLAAD.
It further urged President Zuma and the government “to condemn this immoral abuse of human rights in Uganda and to strongly encourage the Ugandan government to reject the genocide bill and reverse the imposition of…oppressive anti-human rights laws in Uganda.”