The UK gay Humanist charity, the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT), is appalled to learn that yet another African country, Rwanda, is planning viciously homophobic legislation in line with that being debated in Uganda.

A debate is being held on a draft revision of the penal code that will, for the first time, make homosexuality a crime. A vote on this draft code will occur before the end of the week. It seems that the proposed Article 217 of the draft Penal Code Act will criminalize ‘any person who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relations or any sexual practice’. It will impose prison sentences of between five and ten years for those convicted of homosexual acts. If the Chamber of Deputies approves, the draft code will go before the Rwandan Senate most likely in early 2010.

The PTT’s secretary George Broadhead said: “It is extremely worrying to learn that Uganda’s neighbour seems to have caught the homophobic bug, no doubt spurred on by malign religious influences. It is hardly surprising that a large majority of Rwandans are Roman Catholic and that the Catholic Church has been one of the most dominating institutions in Rwanda for many decades.”

The PTT reacted to the Ugandan legislation by sending a letter of protest to the country’s High Commissioner in the UK Mrs. Joan Rwabyomere. It has now protested to the Rwandan ambassador in the UK Claver Gatete.

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