Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones urged to speak out against anti-gay bill on Uganda visit

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Stonewall Cymru has challenged First Minister Carwyn Jones to raise concerns about the situation for gay people in Uganda when he visits the country.

The First Minister is visiting Uganda as part of a week-long trip celebrating the positive work Wales’ links with the nation are having in alleviating poverty.

He has also been urged to use trip to show Wales’ support for human rights across the world.

Uganda’s parliament has been criticised internationally for proposing an Anti-Homosexuality Bill that supports life time imprisonment for gay people. The bill is currently with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni who has the power to veto it before it passes into law.

In December, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

It extends the current penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex to all other same-sex acts, even mere kissing and touching. The law introduces jail terms of five to seven years for promoting homosexuality, including advocating LGBT rights or assisting LGBT people or events.

Stonewall Cymru is working with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office to pressure the Ugandan Government to throw out the anti-gay bill and have recently released a guide for LGBT activists around the world which can be found on the organisation’s website.

Stonewall Cymru Director Andrew White said: “The First Minister’s visit comes at a time when the Ugandan Parliament wishes to imprison gay people and deny them their human rights. We would like to see the First Minister do his bit by showing his support for their right to live and love.

“Carwyn Jones has a very good domestic record on gay rights so we hope he will show his credentials as an internationalist and a champion for equality during his 7 day visit to Uganda.”

The UK and US governments have already criticised the move along with business magnate and investor Sir Richard Branson – who has urged for a corporate boycott of Uganda.

Last week the United Nations warned the President of Uganda against signing the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.

Speaking at a Christmas prayers event, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said he would push the bill back to Parliament if he did not agree with it.

However, President Museveni is facing intense pressure from Ugandan MPs to sign the bill.

It is possible for parliamentary supporters of the bill to bypass the need for presidential approval if a further vote is tabled. They require a two-thirds majority.

LGBT campaigners will stage a protest on 8 January outside the Ugandan High Commission in London’s Trafalgar Square.