Amid reports that Uganda’s gay death bill is being fast-tracked in parliament this week, the South African Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) has called for sanctions against the country.

While it had earlier seemed that the Anti-homosexuality Bill of 2009 had been shelved, thanks to international pressure, it appears as if parliamentary hearings are now underway in a bid to have the bill passed this week – before the end of the current parliament.

SA GLAAD, which described the proposed legislation as “abhorrent” and “an affront to human rights values”, condemned the hearings and called on South Africa and the world to take action.

“SA GLAAD calls on the governments of the free world, including the South African government, to decisively condemn this action by the Ugandan parliament”, it said, further demanding that the government immediately recall its homophobic High Commissioner to Uganda, Jon Qwelane, who is facing Equality Court charges.

The organisation also urged South African companies to divest and withdraw from Uganda if the legislation is passed.

“We understand that businesses and investors need to make money, and that South Africa clearly would like to extend our assistance to fellow African states in the spirit of ubuntu – but money made at the cost of human rights, human dignity and human lives is blood money that will stain their hands for all time.”

Finally, SA GLAAD called for UN sanctions and the toughest measures possible to be implemented against Uganda and said that the bill is an obvious ploy; “A scapegoat mechanism to detract attention from the civil unrest currently manifesting in Uganda”.

Originally introduced in October 2009, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill allows for the death penalty in cases of “aggravated homosexuality” and includes various criminal penalties for anyone who fails to turn over gay people to the police or who “promotes” homosexuality.

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