On December 10, 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. All UN member states have taken it upon them to adhere to these. It is useful here to quote:
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty. (My underlining).
This week, Uganda adopted draconic laws prohibiting Homosexual acts and ‘homosexuality’ with life imprisonment for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (whatever this may be).
We cannot remain silent about this, nor should we remain inactive. These new laws have already – rightfully I believe – been compared to the Neurenberg Laws of Nazi Germany. A minority of the Ugandan people are now targeted FOR WHAT THEY ARE – and there is nothing they can do about it. The claims of the Ugandan Government that Homosexuality is a matter of choice, or of education, are of course nonsense.
It is also clear that these Laws run directly counter to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
What can we do? What can the international community do?
First, and luckily, there is a clear and positive tendency in the world for international justice. Sovereign states can no longer get away with anything. I would suggest and hope that the International Court of Justice persecutes members of the Ugandan Government, together with any other individual involved in this legislation.
Secondly, and this has already started, international aid to Uganda should be put on hold. Some countries plan to redirect this aid to non-governmental institutions. I believe this is wrong. The Ugandan Government voted these laws as they believe to get more votes and more popularity. Therefore, we must target all of Uganda, possibly with the exception of organisations whose aim it is to fight against this new legislation, or to support those affected by it.
Thirdly, we should consider if we should adopt countries such as Uganda as a holiday destination. Uganda is hardly a country for holidays, but countries such as Kenya and Tanzania are. In these countries there are similar laws against homosexuality, albeit that punishments are less severe.
For this reason, I have decided not to go to Tanzania on holiday this year, as I had initially considered.
Finally, we could consider boycotting products originating from such countries. (This unfortunately is not hard to do in the case of Uganda).
Why does this matter to you? Possibly you’re not homosexual. Still you are affected. If the world has learned ONE lesson from the second world war, it is that evil must be nipped in the bud. The Neurenberg Laws targeted ‘only’ Jewish people. But the actions of the criminal and sick minds behind these laws soon affected millions of people.
Maarten van Leeuwen
Group Managing Director
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