There are reports that Uganda’s parliament has adjourned without voting on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, leaving the legislation in limbo until parliament reconvenes.
It was expected that parliament would debate and vote on the bill today but, according to the Associated Press, the speaker of parliament said that there is no time to take up the bill this session, which ends on Wednesday next week.
It is unclear when the new parliament will convene and if the bill will then be placed before the newly-sworn-in MPs.
“The news that the brutal anti-gay law won’t be discussed in Parliament today is a victory for all Ugandans and people across the world who value human rights,” said Alice Jay, Campaign Director at Avaaz.
She described the response to the petition as “extraordinary”, adding: “This vile bill is a matter of life and death for gay Ugandans, and would have seen the execution, imprisonment and persecution of friends of Avaaz, and thousands of others who have committed no crime at all. We must now ensure this heinous bill can never return to parliament again.”
Uganda’s Bishop Christopher Senyonjo welcomed the news, saying “The pressure from people around the world has had a big impact, and the resulting influence from the international community has played a very important role in stopping this going forward today.”
It is believed that the ongoing delays in bringing the bill to the floor are in part because President Yoweri Museveni does not support it following massive international outrage.
The bill has been condemned by the UK, the US State Department and Australia’s Foreign Minister. There are also reports that Germany froze its aid to Uganda over the proposed legislation.
Embarrassingly, South Africa has remained silent on the matter and has kept its openly homophobic ambassador, Jon Qwelane, in Uganda at his post.