Human rights and the current situation in Uganda

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The Scout Association is aware that new legislation targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is due to be introduced in Uganda. This has attracted widespread condemnation.

Of particular concern to The Scout Association is that the proposed legislation has been strongly promoted by David Bahati MP, who is also Chairman of the National Board of the Uganda Scouts Association.

For almost 40 years, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), of which both The Scout Association and the Uganda Scouts Association are Member Organisations, has committed itself to the furtherance of human rights as defined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Recently, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, said: 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. All human beings – not some, not most, but all... lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They too are born free and equal.'  LGBT Ugandans of all ages, including Scouts, are living in an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and suffering in the face of hate and violence.

This legislation is discriminatory and completely incompatible with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as well as the values that are espoused by our worldwide Scout Movement. The Scout Association stands with the many individuals, including significant public figures around the world, who have condemned this new legislation. The Scout Association finds it almost inconceivable that somebody who identifies themselves as a Scout and holding a senior office in a Member Organisation can hold such views and promote them in this way.

Whilst we recognise that Member Organisations have to operate in the legal context of the country in which they are based, the WOSM, similar to the United Nations, does not have the same constraints. Therefore, we believe that direct intervention by the leadership of World Scouting should be encouraged.

We are very encouraged by the work of the WOSM’s human rights task force and the support it has received from the leadership and we have requested that the World Scout Committee on behalf of the WOSM follows the example of the Secretary General of the United Nations and expresses its disappointment regarding the introduction of discriminatory legislation in Uganda which will impact on the lives of young people and adults.

Wayne Bulpitt signature     Alan Craft signature   
Wayne Bulpitt, UK Chief Commissioner          Sir Alan Craft, Chairman

 

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