U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
In a very grave development, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda recently ordered the police to arrest homosexuals for what he described as "abominable acts." Under Ugandan law conviction for "homosexual acts" can result in up to life in prison.
This threat against the lesbian and gay community represents the creation of an environment by the Ugandan government that is hostile toward internationally recognized human rights standards. In another attack on the concept of human rights, President Museveni stated that Uganda need not comply with international human rights treaties because they were, in his opinion, written without African participation. This statement is a complete departure from reality. The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights was ratified in Addis Ababa by sovereign African nations. The Charter was written by the Organization of African Unity, for which, incidentally, Yoweri Museveni served a two-year term as President.
Bigotry and intolerance must be challenged at every turn. More importantly, actions and policies by governments that ignore or undermine the fundamental rights of individuals need to by condemned by all governments.
We, the undersigned, respectfully call upon you, Madame Secretary, to call
upon the Ugandan government:
-To uphold the international standards to which they are a party;
-To protect the human rights of all its citizens; and
-To reverse the presidential order to arrest homosexuals.