Campaigners have welcomed a decision by the international Scouting body to question the Ugandan wing of their movement about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposed by the country’s chief Scout.
The Bill, which would introduce the death penalty for repeated consensual sexual activity between adults of the same-sex, is proposed by David Bahati MP, chair of the Scout Board of Uganda.
Earlier this week, (16 February) activists from the organisation Outrage! called on the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) to disaffiliate the Ugandan wing of the movement if Bahati continued in his position.
It now seems that only hours later, WOSM wrote to David Bahati and to the Chief Commissioner of the Uganda Scout Association to question them on the matter.
The news was welcomed by the human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell.
He described the call for disaffiliation as “an attempt to open up a new front in the campaign against the Bill and to graphically expose the ramifications of the proposed legislation on youth and civic organisations in Uganda”.
The Bill would allow the imprisonment of anyone in authority, such as a teacher, Scout leader or minister of religion, who knew of an instance of homosexuality but failed to report it.
“LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] Scouts and Scout leaders are, of course, only one section of the Ugandan LGBT community,” said Tatchell, “All Ugandan LGBTs are at risk if this Bill becomes law. We are concerned about the danger to them all – and the threat to their straight families, friends, supporters and allies”.