Almost 200,000 people have called on Citibank and Barclays, two of the largest banks in the world operating in Uganda, to condemn that county’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The bill aims to further criminalise homosexuality in Uganda, increasing prison sentences and possibly adding the death penalty, as well as criminalising anyone who supports the LGBT community or individuals.
The website Change.org has now published an online petition urging the two banking giants to “send a loud message to Ugandan legislators that criminalising homosexuality with lifetime prison sentences and the death penalty won’t be supported by major international businesses”.
The petition was initiated by Collin Burton, a gay Citibank customer from Washington, DC.
“I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites,” said Burton in a media statement.
The statement added: “Protecting gay and lesbian Ugandans from the ‘kill the gays’ bill shouldn’t just be a battle waged by global citizens – it should also be the responsibility of the international business community.”
Citibank and Barclays have major operations in Uganda. Citibank has around $300 million in assets invested in the country, and is a major leader in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce based in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
The petition points out that the two banks are well known for supporting their LGBT employees and protecting their employees and customers from anti-gay discrimination.
It notes that Citibank is a supporter of LGBT groups in the U.S. and has received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. And just last week, Barclays was named the most LGBT-friendly company in Scotland, and regularly is ranked as one of the best companies for LGBT people to work for in the world.
“With the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill looming in Uganda’s parliament, Citibank and Barclays have unique and necessary voices that could help stop this bill in its tracks,” says Change.org. “Their presence in Uganda is significant, and their voices in opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could have a profound impact in keeping LGBT people safe in Uganda.”