Statement by Indian groups and individuals on Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 February 26, 2014

To,

President Yoweri Museveni, Members of Parliament of Uganda, and the People of Uganda

Through Ms Elizabeth Napeyok, High Commissioner, Ugandan High Commission in New Delhi, India B-3/26,Vasant Vihar
New Delhi 110057

India
Fax: 91-11-26144405
Email: newdelhi@mofa.go.ug

We register here our strong condemnation of President Museveni’s signing of the Anti- Homosexuality Bill, 2009 into law. The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 violates the basic human rights of the kuchus of Uganda, impeding their right to live and love without harm to others, in enjoyment of the rights of freedom and equality guaranteed by the Ugandan Constitution. In the face of this severe blow to the struggle for universal human rights, we reassert our solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, disabled and HIV-affected people of Uganda, and of all 36 of Africa’s 55 countries where same-sex relations are illegal.

We write as citizens of India, also a former British colony grappling with the multiple legacies of colonialism, of which the inheritance of homophobic laws is only one. We too have been told that homosexuality is a ‘Western import’ that is alien to our culture. This claim flies in the face of a wealth of evidence of same-sex love and desire in our histories and cultures. It is a matter of fact that same-sex love in our cultures, and in parts of Africa including Uganda, was accepted, and in some contexts, celebrated until the advent of the colonial experience. It is a claim that, moreover, is contradicted by the fact that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, represents the most aggressive institutionalisation of the criminalisation of homosexuality in the history of the Indian subcontinent. It is this legislative initiative of an unrepresentative colonial state that was then replicated in only slightly modified forms in other colonies of the British state, including Uganda. It is homophobia, rather than homosexuality that is a colonial legacy. Today, we are engaged, along with our counterparts in other ex-British colonies, in an ongoing struggle against this legacy of colonialism, a struggle in which we have relied primarily on the activist labours of our people and on the moral and legal commitments of laws and Constitutions that we have given unto ourselves.

As a post-colonial state that is proud of its hard-won independence, we understand, share and support Uganda’s commitment to realising and maintaining democratic decision making processes, in line with your Constitution and in the exercise of your sovereignty, unimpeded by the external world.

In this context, we are concerned by numerous analyses and critical commentaries that have shown the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 is itself an externally sponsored initiative, drafted with considerable encouragement and advice from US-based evangelicals whose moral, theological and political agendas do not prioritise, or rather undermine the welfare of the entirety of Uganda’s people. In this context it is important to emphasise that the Act disregards and devalues the lives of Uganda’s own people. We urge you to listen to those brave Ugandan voices in every walk of life who have stood up for basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people in Uganda without regard to considerations of tribe, region, religion, sex, nationality, disability, or sexuality.

We reach out in solidarity against attempts at imperialist control over our political, moral, ethical and cultural lives. The irony of history is that the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, which is an instance of such attempts at control, is being hailed as evidence of the expression of sovereignty. To recognise the rights of all Ugandans to lives of dignity, equality and freedom of expression and assembly, by immediately repealing the Anti- Homosexuality Act, 2014 would be the true assertion of sovereignty.

Signed:

A. Mani, University of Calcutta, Kolkata*
Aarthi Pai, CASAM, SANGRAM, Bangalore
Abhi Tam, Hyderabad
Abhijit Majumder, Fellow, InStem-NCBS, Bangalore Abhishek Divyam, Guwahati

Achintya Prahlad
Adam Fernandes, Mumbai
Aditi, TISS, Mumbai
Aditya Narvekar, Navi Mumbai
Aiswarya J
Akhil Kumar, Youth Ki Awaaz, New Delhi
Akshata Ravi, Mumbai
Amborish Roychoudhury, Mumbai
Amritananda Chakravorty, Lawyers Collective, New Delhi Anand Pendharkar, Mumbai
Ananya Dutta Roy, Youth for Equality, Silchar
Andy Silveira, Hyderabad
Ann Ninan, India
Anshuman Das, Cuttack
Anurag Nair, Bangalore
Aravind Chandrasekaran, Chennai
Aravindh C., Trichy
Archana Shetty, Bangalore
Arunima Dey, Mumbai
Arushi Singh, Rights Activist, Goa
Ashitosh, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Ashwitha, Secondary School Teacher, Mumbai

Association of Transgender/Hijra in Bengal, Kolkata AUD Queer Collective, New Delhi
Avinash Matta, Hyderabad
Bharat, New Delhi

Brenda Lias, Orlando, Florida, USA
C Moulee, Orinam, Chennai
Chanakya, India
Chayanika Shah, Member, LABIA, Bombay ChemsEddine HAKIMI, Algiers, Algeria Chhandita Chakravarty, Hyderabad Chiranjoy, Guwahati

Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault, New Delhi CREA, New Delhi
Cynthia Tiphagne, Sudhathra, Madurai
Danny Bhotia, New Delhi

Deep Nand, Mumbai
Deepak, Thrissur
Deeptaarko Dutto, Malda
Deepti Murali, Mumbai
Deepti Sharma, New Delhi
Deya Bhattachaya, Femin Ijtihad, Calcutta Dhamini Ratnam, Journalist, Mumbai Dolly Koshy, Secular Humanist, Bengaluru Dr. Gilles DENIZOT, Chennai

Dr. S. Rajgopal, Coimbatore
Felix, Orinam, Chennai
Garima Sharma, Mumbai
Gayatri Chawla, Patna
Gayatri Menon, Bangalore
Gayatri Sekar, Chennai
Goutam Sahoo, Bhubaneswar
Gowthaman Ranganathan, Lawyer, Bangalore Gulshan Kumar Mittal, Guwahati

Hari Menon, Bangalore
Hariharan, Chennai
Harish Iyer, Equal Rights Campaigner, Mumbai
Harshavardhan Goel, Student at the National Law School of India, Bangalore Henri Tiphagne, Convenor, WGHR, New Delhi
Himangshu Kalita, Guwahati
India HIV/AIDS Alliance, New Delhi
Isha Singh Sawhney, freelance journalist, New Delhi
Janani Vaidya,
Jaya Sharma, New Delhi
Jayant Iyer, Bangalore
Jayesh Gopi, Mumbai
K Rahul Sharma, New Delhi

Kabi S, Bombay
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Feminist and Human Rights Activist, Mumbai
Karishma Dorai, Mumbai
Karthik Umapathi, Chennai
Karuna Nundy, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi
Kaveri R I, LesBiT, Hyderabad
Kaveri, India
Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, New Delhi
Kavita Srivastava, Jaipur
Kavya Murthy, Bangalore
Ketaki, Delhi
Keval Patvi, Mumbai
Kiran Shaheen, Media Action and Research Group, New Delhi
Krishna B, Karur, Tamil Nadu
Kunal Kochhar, Panchkula
L Ramakrishnan, public health professional, Chennai
LABIA Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Bombay
Lena Ganesh
Lenin, New Delhi
Lesley Esteves, Queer Rights Activist, New Delhi
Linda Dale, Leek Staffordshire, UK
Madhana RNR, Lancaster, PA, USA
Maisnam Arnapal, Delhi University, New Delhi
Maksoom Ali, Pahal Foundation, Faridabad
Mamatha Karollil, Ambedkar University, New Delhi
Manak Matiyani, Delhi Queer Pride, Community-The Youth Collective, New Delhi Manojkiran C, Chennai
Mario da Penha, Mumbai
Maya Sharma, Vikalp (Women’s Group), Baroda
Mayur Suresh, Lawyer, Bangalore
Meena Seshu, Director, Sangram, Sangli
Minal Hajratwala, Bangalore
Mohnish Malhotra, Queer Rights Activist, New Delhi
Monica Narula, New Delhi
Mridul Dudeja, Mumbai
N. Jayaram, Journalist, Bangalore
Namrata Bajaj, Mumbai
Nandini Rao, New Delhi
Neal Sen, Youth for Social Change, Mumbai
Nuzhat Nasreen, Student
Oishik Sircar, Academic and Lawyer, Kolkata
Orinam, Chennai
Padmini Baruah, WHaQ, Bangalore
Pankaj Nanda, Delhi
Paroma Mukherjee, Photographer, New Delhi
Partners for Law in Development, New Delhi

Pawan Dhall, Varta, Kolkata
Ponni Arasu, Chennai
Pramada Menon, Gurgaon
Prasanna R, Orinam, Chennai
Pratik Bahekar, Mumbai
Priyank Verma, Mumbai
Pronoy Rai, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA Punita Gupta, Photographer, Mumbai

Purwa Bharadwaj, Delhi
Rachit Sai Barak, Media Professional, New Delhi
Rafiul Alom Rahman, DU Queer Collective, New Delhi
Rahil Chatterjee, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Rahul Patel
Raj Patel, Goa
Rajendra Parihar, University of Delhi, New Delhi
Ram Chakraborty, Kolkata
Ranjana Padhi, New Delhi
Ranjita Sinha, Kolkata
Regina Hansda, University of Cambridge, UK
Richa Jha, India
Ricky Patel, London, UK
Robin Bose, Chennai
Rohit K Dasgupta, University of the Arts, London, UK
Ronald, Mumbai
Roshni Sen, Youth for Social Change, Mumbai
Rupa Kanapathipillai, Australia
Ryan Figueiredo, International Planned Parenthood Federation, South Asia Office, New Delhi
Sadia Saeed, Delhi
Samira Obeid, University of South Florida, Florida, USA
Samraj Kundi, Park Surgery, Middlesbrough, UK
Sandhya Luther, India/USA
Sapan Parekh, Mumbai
Saptarshi Mandal, Lawyer, New Delhi
Sarabjeet Singh, Mumbai
Sathya Bose, just a lover of equality, Mumbai
Satnam Kaur, Saheli, New Delhi
Satya, Sampoorna [For Trans* Indians – By Trans* Indians – Across the Globe], India Saurabh Bondre, Mumbai
Saurabh Shabdik, Silchar
Sayan Bhattacharya, Kolkata
Shalini Krishan, New Delhi
Shambhavi Madhan, Chennai
Sharmi Surianarain, African Leadership Academy, Johannesburg, South Africa Sharmila C, India
Shilpa Ahluwalia, Professional Social Worker

Shiv Sahoo, New Delhi
Shiva Karthik, Preston, United Kingdom
Shobhna S. Kumar, Mumbai
Shreyas Kumari, Santa Clara, USA
Shridhar Sadasivan, Orinam, Chennai
Shrinkhla Agrawal
Shruti Gautam, Delhi
Shubham Bose Roy, Delhi Queer Pride Committee, New Delhi Sibi Mathen, Yaariyan and Queer Azaadi Mumbai, Mumbai Siddhant, Mumbai
Smriti Nevatia, writer, feminist, Mumbai
Smruthi Narayan, LGBT individual and activist, Hyderabad Sonal Sharma, Researcher, Ambedkar University, New Delhi Sonia Singhal, Mumbai
Soorya Sriram, Humanist, Chennai
Soumya Tejas, Campaigner at Must Bol, New Delhi
Sreekala MG, New Delhi
Subhankar Das, Punjab
Sudeepthi, Chennai
Suhas Vasudev, New Delhi
Sumathi. N, Bangalore
Sundar Jeyaraman,
Suneeta Dhar, India
Sunil Mohan, Bangalore
Sushil Rathi, Kharagpur
Swati, Boston, MA, USA
Sylvester Merchant, Lakshya Trust, Gujarat
Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Ahmedabad
Tanya Joshua, Chennai
TARSHI, New Delhi
Thaddeus Alfonso, Goa
Udayan Dhar, Diversity Consultant at Mingle, Mumbai
Uma V Chandru, PUCL-BLR Member, Bangalore
Vaasu, Mumbai
Vic Advani Friman, India/Sweden
Vihang Ghalsasi, Heidelberg, Germany
Vikram S, Chennai
Vinay Chandran, Executive Director, Swabhava Trust, Bangalore Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, India Yadavendra Singh, India HIV/AIDS Alliance, New Delhi
Zoya Chhabra

*All cities are in India, unless specified