Uganda Tourism may face a new call for a boycott. The government of Uganda has announced plans to reintroduce the bill, dubbed by the locals ‘Kill the gays’ law. This may create a serious new challenge for the Uganda Travel and Tourism industry.
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When a similar bill was introduced calls for boycotting travel and tourism to the East African Country became louder. In March 2014 at a CNN event at the ITB Trade Show in Berlin, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Bureau Stephen Asiimwe was under fire after eTN reported on a call to boycott travel to Uganda.
Richard Quest of CNN told Assimwe at that event Uganda was the last country he would consider visiting as a gay man.
Mr. Asiimwe discussed the issue candidly with eTN publisher Juergen Steinmetz and Richard Quest and said. The result of this very frank discussion was the official statement by the Uganda Tourism Board to guarantee the safety of gay tourists to their country and to go even a step further and welcome gay travelers to enjoy the beauty of their tourism destination,” said the eTN publisher.
According to Mr. Asiimwe, “no gay visitor to our country will be harassed or not welcome for the only reason that he or she may be gay. Cultural policies are important in Uganda. We ask visitors to respect them. They include touching in public for example.”
Five years later the Uganda legislation is again paving the way for the execution of homosexual people. This legislation is expected to be re-introduced ‘within weeks’, according to government officials. Five years ago the bill was thrown out by the constitutional court on a technicality.
Currently, Ugandans face life imprisonment if convicted of having sex with another person of the same gender.
Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said the bill is being reintroduced because of allegedly “massive recruitment of gay people” and current laws are too limited in scope.
“We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalized,” he said. “Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”
The minister said he’s confident the measure will get the backing of the two-thirds of parliamentary members required to pass a bill.
Several countries cut their financial support and aid to Uganda when the ‘Kill the gays’ bill was first brought forward in 2014, but Lokodo said the country is prepared to stand up to a fresh backlash over the legislation, adding “we don’t like blackmail.”
Today presidential US Democratic candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden told CNN viewers if he was elected president, he would open a US State Department section to sanction countries for violating human rights for LGBT people anywhere in the world.
In March, Brunei introduced an amendment to its Islamic penal code that included stoning gay people to death but suspended the measure following an international outcry.
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