Saturday, 28 November 2009

Solidarity needed - update

Update on my recent post about Chris McCafferty's question to the Foreign Office about Uganda's plans to toughen up the law on homosexuality, which includes making it a capital offence. The Pink News reports that the Prime Minister has personally spoken to the Ugandan President about this:

'A Downing Street source said: "The Foreign Office will be following the passage of the bill closely and we will continue to do everything we can privately and publically to prevent its passage . . . it has been raised in the strongest terms at the highest possible level today."'

I'm very happy to hear this. I've visited Uganda twice and on my second visit I saw a newspaper placard which began 'Homos march.[for gay rights].' When I asked the (Ugandan) staff at an NGO I was visiting if homophobia was a big problem, they shrugged uncomfortably and eventually responded along the lines 'there are very few gay people in Uganda and they should just be quiet about it, stop making a fuss'. This from people who were doing incredibly good work in the development field, but whose compassion obviously didn't extend to homosexuals.

For those who have immediately responded to this news with the criticism that 'it's not enough to raise it, we want action...' Well, firstly look at the Foreign Office statement and bear in mind that not all diplomatic pressure goes on in the public sphere (and also that the FCO statement was the equivalent in diplomatic language of reading the riot act). And if you want something more done about it - make a noise!

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