Lib Dem MEPs have written to the European Commission urging for action to be taken over new anti-homosexual laws introduced in Uganda this week. The law will result in sentences of life imprisonment being handed out to those accused of acts of ‘aggravated homosexuality’.
This comes as today a national newspaper in Uganda published a list of the ‘top 200 homosexuals’ as a means to draw attention to high profile figures within Ugandan society who now potentially face prosecution due to the new legislation.
Leader of the Lib Dems, Fiona Hall MEP said:
“The situation in Uganda is deeply concerning and warrants steps to be taken by the EU to stand up for Ugandan human rights.
“We are calling for an LGBT protection clause to be inserted into the current Cotonou Agreement between the EU and developing nations in order to prevent the further erosion of the rights of sexual minorities.
“As Liberals we believe the EU should use its soft power to stand up for people’s rights and freedoms wherever they are in the world.”
The European Parliament has today overwhelmingly approved a new European Union ‘LGBT roadmap’ to help tackle widespread discrimination against the gay community across Europe.
The Lunacek report calls for:
• Legislation to prohibit incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity
• Proposals for the mutual recognition of documents across the EU to reduce barriers on same-sex couples in exercising their right to freedom of movement
• The monitoring of equal treatment in employment, with 1 in 5 LGBT people feeling they were discriminated against at work or when looking for a job
• Protection of LGBT freedom of expression.
While Liberal Democrat MEPs strongly supported these measures to tackle LGBT discrimination, Conservative and UKIP MEPs abstained.
Liberal Democrat MEP for London & vice-president of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats Sarah Ludford said:
“With half of LGBT people in Europe subject to some form of discrimination, urgent action is needed to ensure the gay community is protected. As a Liberal Democrat, I want to see equal treatment become the norm across Europe.”
“The roadmap is not about giving the LGBT community special privileges. It’s simply a recognition that existing rights applicable to everyone are not being properly enforced for LGBT people.”
“It’s a disgrace that Conservative MEPs failed to support action to tackle LGBT discrimination, following in the footsteps of their ideological bedfellows UKIP. While UKIP and the Tories continue to ignore the injustices that LGBT citizens face, Liberal Democrat MEPs will keep putting gay rights, as part of human rights, a core focus of our work in the European Parliament.”