“Death penalty is forbidden for us as a christian organization anyway”

Criticism of death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda © Manuel Lopez

The Catholic relief organization Misereor criticizes the planned death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda. The bill, popularly known as the "Kill the Gays" bill, is reportedly expected to be passed before the end of the year.

"For Misereor the principle applies that human rights are indivisible. And that guides us also in the question of dealing with homosexuals around the world," said the head of the department Africa and Middle East, Maria Klatte, on Friday to the portal catholic.de. The fact that Uganda is now apparently once again attempting to introduce the death penalty for homosexuals is shocking, he said.

"The death penalty is forbidden for us as a Christian organization anyway," Klatte continued: "In the sense of the indivisible dignity of man, Misereor also condemns the persecution of homosexuals."Should the law actually be passed, the aid organization will not withdraw from the country, but will continue project cooperation with its Ugandan partners – "because the plight of the people in the country remains".

Penalties had been significantly increased

Parliament in Uganda had last tightened legislation against homosexuals in 2013. At the time, penalties for homosexual acts had been significantly increased despite international protests; however, parliament had not introduced the death penalty for homosexuals. A year later, the Ugandan Constitutional Court overturned the law on formal grounds.

According to media reports, the government justified the new attempt to tighten the penalties with an increase in "unnatural sex", which it wanted to combat. Homosexuality is not in the nature of Ugandans, but there is "massive recruitment by homosexual people in schools," media quote Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo as saying.

Homosexuality completely rejected in many cases

The law, known locally as the "Kill the Gays" bill, is reportedly set to be passed before the end of the year. Klatte stressed that homosexuality is "not an easy ie" even in the Catholic Church in Africa.

In many cases, it is referred to there as a "Western concept of life" and completely rejected. "A de-tabooing and objectification must be achieved here," the Misereor expert demanded. In the dialogue with the African church, too, an approach must be pursued that prohibits discrimination against homosexuals.

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