Media Statement
Friday March 31st 2023
Australia must end silence on Uganda’s anti-LGBTIQA+ laws
Wong urged to push Commonwealth sanctions 
National lobby group, Just.Equal Australia, has called on Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, to speak out against Uganda’s sweeping new laws against LGBTIQA+ people.
The Ugandan parliament last week passed a bill ensuring that people who identify as gay risk life imprisonment, a situation that can include the death penalty.
The law requires that friends, family members, employers and people in the community have a duty to report people in same-sex relationships. Landlords are prohibited by law from renting to homosexuals and will be subject to crippling fines.
It also bans individuals and groups from supporting LGBTIQA+ rights and prohibits the publishing or broadcasting of any pro-LGBTIQA+ material. Breaking this law risks imprisonment and fines.
Spokesperson for Just.Equal, Brian Greig, said Minister Wong must denounce this raft of “horrific laws,” and use Australia’s voice in the Commonwealth to advocate for sanctions.
Greig said that the Bill had been condemned by the US Secretary of State and the UK’s Africa Minister, but the Albanese Government has so far said nothing.
"Australia must speak loudly and clearly against these horrific laws, including directly to Uganda and also within the Commonwealth."
“Australia must also prepare to welcome LGBTIQA+ Ugandans as asylum seekers as a matter of urgency,” Mr Greig said.
The Bill passed Uganda’s parliament last week and now sits with President Museveni, who has power to veto it. He has recently condemned homosexuality.
US evangelicals active in Uganda have pushed a narrative that homosexuality was unknown in East Africa prior to colonialisation and that homosexuals are recruited by ‘western deviates’ who offer money and other inducements.
This fear campaign also asserts that Ugandan homosexuals recruit school children.
Amnesty International has condemned the bill as “appalling and vaguely worded.”
Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty’s International Director for Southern Africa, said, "This deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people.”
Mr Greig warned that the extreme laws were the result of religious extremism in the US being imported to Uganda.
“This moral panic against a vulnerable minority is the inevitable conclusion of the current American culture war that seeks to eliminate LGBTIQA+ people through a toxic mix of colonial religious values and despotic politics in a poorly educated and mostly illiterate nation.” 
At World Pride in Sydney last month, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge, saying: ““No matter who you are, who you love or where you live – you should be valued, equal and celebrated.”

Mr Greig said the Prime Minister should now match those words with action to sanction Uganda, protect its LGBTIQA+ population and strengthen Australia’s reputation as a defender of human rights. 
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Brian Greig on 0407 776 961.
For background information on the situation in Uganda contact Bill Rutkin on 0402 945 873.