IPU Forced to Drop Gay Debate

2351 Views St Petersburg, Russia

In short
The IPU Committee on Democracy and Human Rights says it decided to table the matter for discussion by the assembly after receiving overwhelming support in the Committee.

Delegates mainly from Muslim and African countries have forced the Inter Parliamentary Union-IPU to drop the proposed debate on gays during its assembly scheduled for March next year. The decision to drop the debate on the gays came after Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament and head of the African Group threatened to keep away should IPU insist on discussing the matter.
 
 
"On behalf of the Africa Group, I express our reservations about this proposal. It is a highly divisive and led to the breakaway of the Africa Church from the Church of England," said Kadaga. Adding that, "It shouldn't be part of the agenda. If it happens, Africa Group will not attend." The IPU Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights had proposed to table the matter for discussion.
 

The IPU Committee on Democracy and Human Rights says it decided to table the matter for discussion by the assembly after receiving overwhelming support in the Committee. The 137th IPU Assembly and Related Meetings was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, from 14th - 18th October 2017.

 
Legislators from Iran, Sudan, Morocco and Benin threatened to keep away from the assembly. However, even with the objections, the final St. Petersburg Declaration, "underscored the fact that all individuals must be allowed the full enjoyment of their equal and inalienable rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights and humanitarian law treaties and standards"  including non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
 

The Assembly was held under the theme: Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue. "National authorities and other key stakeholders must work together to build inclusive societies and combat the dissemination of divisive discourses which can give rise to feelings of insecurity among certain groups and encourage the spread of nationalism, extremism and terrorism," read part of the Declaration.

 
The 138th IPU Assembly and Related Meetings will be held in Geneva in March 2018. Uganda's Constitutional Court annulled the Anti-Homosexuality Act that had been signed into law in February 2014. The Court ruled that the bill was passed by MPs in a House chaired by Speaker Kadaga in December 2013 without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal. Homosexuality is also outlawed in the Penal Code Act.

 
The Anti-Homosexuality Act had proposed life imprisonment for "aggravated homosexuality" and banned the "promotion of homosexuality".
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.