A gaggle of main international scientists and lecturers have signed an open letter urging Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to veto a hardline invoice criminalizing homosexuality within the nation.
The invoice outlaws figuring out as LGBTQ+, and suggests life sentences for convicted homosexuals in addition to the loss of life penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” a sweeping time period protecting numerous sexual acts together with intercourse with folks with psychological or bodily disabilities or intercourse with youngsters.
The Anti Homosexuality Invoice 2023, which was handed by Ugandan lawmakers in March, is about to be both signed into regulation or vetoed by the president on Thursday.
Earlier than the invoice was handed virtually unanimously final month, President Museveni referred to as on scientists to ascertain whether or not homosexuality was pure or discovered. Museveni has beforehand referred to as homosexuals “deviations from regular.”
Of their open letter, the group of scientists state: “We can not say this sufficient: homosexuality is a traditional and pure variation of human sexuality. The science on this topic is crystal clear and we name on you [Museveni] within the strongest doable phrases to veto the invoice within the identify of science.
“We can not consider one main scientific group – from the World Well being Group to the World Well being Meeting and past – which might argue in opposition to the concept homosexuality shouldn’t be regular and pure,” the letter continues.
The letter has been signed by 15 main scientists around the globe, from nations together with South Africa, the US, Canada, the UK, Kenya, and Australia.
The scientists write that genetics play a task in homosexuality, and that the observe can’t be caught like a “widespread chilly.” Nor can homosexuality be indoctrinated, they are saying: “Publicity to rainbow flags is not going to make a baby homosexual.”
“Sexual orientation shouldn’t be restricted to any particular area. It’s not confined by borders drawn on a map. It wants no passport to journey. Certainly, there’s clear proof for identical intercourse relationships in Africa courting again a whole lot of years,” the letter provides.
Ugandan authorities didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s request for remark.
Similar-sex relations are already unlawful in Uganda and warrant a most sentence of life imprisonment.
Below the Anti Homosexuality Invoice 2023, it will be a criminal offense to even determine as lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or queer. These figuring out as LGBTQ+ would resist 20 years in jail.
Alongside the letter, Professor Glenda Grey, President and CEO of the South African Medical Analysis Council stated: “Regardless of the rhetoric, homosexuality shouldn’t be a pernicious western import. If something, it´s state-sponsored homophobia that´s un-African and in opposition to the rules of Ubuntu, not homosexuality.”
Dean Hamer, Scientist Emeritus on the US Nationwide Institutes of Well being, acknowledged: “Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is a pure variation of the human situation, deeply ingrained and noticed in each society and tradition worldwide throughout historical past. Makes an attempt to eradicate same-sex need is not going to solely fail, however will mirror poorly in your status and the standing of your nation.”
Andrew Legon, Senior Campaigner at Avaaz, added: “President Museveni stated he wished a scientific opinion earlier than making a choice on the anti-homosexuality invoice, and now he has it. It’s time for the President to shelve this invoice for good – not solely as a result of it’s unscientific, however as a result of it’s utterly counter to the common human rights embodied within the Ugandan structure.”