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International AIDS Society (IAS) applauds rejection of anti-homosexuality bill by Ugandan parliament but calls on government to ensure that the bill is now thrown out entirely

May 18, 2011 - Geneva, Switzerland - Following the debate of an anti-homosexuality bill in an emergency session at the Ugandan parliament last Friday, the International AIDS Society (IAS) applauds the rejection of the bill by the Ugandan government.

The bill, which would have introduced the death penalty as a sanction for consensual sex between members of the same sex, came up for vote before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on May 11. While the bill did not pass at this point, parliament shocked international human rights groups and governments by buying more time in an effort to push the bill through and calling for an emergency session on Friday 13.

"Not only would the proposed bill have infringed upon the human rights of the LGBT community, it would also have placed significant obstacles in the path of effective HIV/AIDS prevention efforts - a national priority, " said Elly Katabira, IAS President. " In a country which has already made homosexuality illegal, the proposed bill would simply have driven gay Ugandans underground and therefore away from the HIV prevention, treatment and care that some of them need."

"Although the bill was thankfully rejected for a second time, it is deeply alarming that a bill legislating hate and violence towards a particular group was ever considered for debate," said Bertrand Audoin, Executive Director of the International AIDS Society. "The anti-homosexuality bill is in fact only one part of a worrying whole: discrimination, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, and mistreatment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are all too commonplace in Uganda."

The IAS calls on the Ugandan government to ensure that this bill --which was first introduced in October 2009 by David Bahati, a Member of Parliament from the ruling party-- is now thrown out entirely and does come back for debate in the next parliament.

The IAS also calls on the Ugandan government to seize this moment to turn the tide of anti-gay feeling in Uganda, and to fulfill their commitment as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and to start protecting and promoting the gay, lesbian and transgender citizens of Uganda.

About the IAS
The International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world's leading independent association of HIV professionals, with over 16,000 members from more than 196 countries working at all levels of the global response to AIDS. Our members include researchers from all disciplines, clinicians, public health and community practitioners on the frontlines of the epidemic, as well as policy and programme planners. The IAS is the custodian of the biennial International AIDS Conference and lead organizer of the IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, which will be held in Rome, Italy in July 2011. |


For more information about this release:

Sian Bowen (Geneva, Switzerland)

Senior Manager, AIDS 2012 Senior Communications Manager


Tel: +41 22 710 0864

Lindsey Rodger (Geneva, Switzerland)

AIDS 2012 Communications and Media Officer


Tel: +41 22 710 0822

"Reproduced with permission - International AIDS Society"

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