Statement from Senator Katherine Zappone:
Echoing the dismay expressed by allies, institutions and governments all around the globe, I regard the long-threatened anti-same sex legislation signed into law today in Uganda as institutionalising hate and sabotaging efforts in human rights and health work.
Beyond the concerns of aid conditionality and trade sanctions, Ireland should amplify our voice at the Human Rights Council and not be silenced by the rhetoric of sovereign flexibility on minority issues for reasons of ‘public morality’ or so-called ‘traditional values’. When it comes to human rights law, Uganda is in flagrant violation of core Conventions regarding privacy, expression, association, the right to health and various others by pursuing a group based solely on an innate characteristic.
At the local level, Irish civil society organisations, in concert with Irish and EU offices connected with Uganda, should be building strategic coalition with groups in Uganda that are inclusive of sexual orientation-related human rights, with paramount focus on the protection of human rights defenders.
It is vital that we formulate a response to extreme legislation of this sort at the international level, because as the courage to speak of sexual and gender diversity increases in hostile societies, so too do the incidences of extreme prohibitive law-making as seen in recent examples in Russia, Nigeria and now, Uganda.