Sunday, 2 December 2012

Shelving the Bill is Not Enough

David Kato's funeral, from this article.

There has been a disturbing trend over the past year to celebrate the idea of shelving the Kill the Gays Bill in Uganda.

An example is this article by Chris Johnson last Friday:

A new hope is emerging that the legislative session for Uganda’s parliament will expire before lawmakers take action on a draconian anti-gay bill...

This is not a new hope. Far from it.

As one comment points out:

A 'new hope'? Absolutely not. Repeating the same process of shelving the bill that's been happening every year since 2008. This simply sanctions another year of people turning a blind eye to LGBT hate crimes.
Earlier this year, Amnesty International ran a petition (since closed), in which they similarly stated:

If we speak out together now, we could get it shelved again before it goes to vote.

This raised concerns with another blogger:

I hope what they mean by 'shelved' is 'quashed'. The bill was shelved last year due to lack of time. Shelving it is literally that - putting it on the shelf to come back to later. In the meantime - during the months between Parliament closing and Parliament opening again - the bill still holds a real possibility for consideration.

As long as it remains even a remote possibility, physical and emotional violence towards LGBT people is ignored - even encouraged - by the authorities. David Kato was murdered, reports are coming out about imprisonment, rape and torture.

So please, individual opposers of the bill and international human rights organisations, don't start suggesting that shelving the bill is a good thing. The bill wasn't passed when Rolling Stone urged people to go out and hang gays, but people knew that it was on the table. Celebrating the shelving of the bill is like saying 'Oh, you're not going to kill them this year, you're just going to beat them up a bit - that's okay.'

No, it isn't.

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