Ghanaian cardinal calls for Uganda to repeal anti-gay law, says ‘homosexuals are not criminals’

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A Ghanaian cardinal has criticised Uganda’s anti-gay law and urged for its repeal.

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said on Tuesday that “homosexuals are not criminals” and shouldn’t be sentenced for up to life in prison.

Speaking to reporters in Bratislava where he attended a conference on the Catholic Church and human rights, Cardinal Turkson said the Vatican urged the international community to continue providing aid to Uganda.

In an interview last year, Cardinal Turkson, who was tipped to become pope, said African culture “protects against” homosexuality.

He claimed Africa was not as badly affected by the child molestation scandal within the Catholic Church because of traditions and culture which rejected homosexuality and “protected” against those “tendencies”.

A Ugandan human rights group today warned against general aid cuts to the country, saying: “We do not want the people of Uganda to suffer because of the unfortunate political choices of our government.”

The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law, based in Kampala, added: “However, we support strategic aid cuts to specific sectors, such as the Dutch Government’s decision to withdraw funding from the Justice Sector.

It continued: “We encourage urgent review of aid to organisations and government institutions that have failed to demonstrate respect for human rights and those that have been actively supporting this bill.

“We do not support cuts in support to NGO’s and other civil society institutions that offer lifesaving health services or other important social services to the people of Uganda”.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni gave assent to the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Law last month.

The law calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and makes it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.