For several years there has been legislation introduced in Uganda that would make homosexuality a capital offense. American Religious Right figures (including those affiliated with The Family and the New Apostolic Reformation) have been active in both directly and indirectly supporting the bill.
The bill is back. But activists are petitioning Citibank/Barclays, a major economic actor in Uganda to intervene. At this writing, there are about 98,000 signatures on the petition, including mine.
There is a long history of international pressure against this outrage that has helped derail the bill in the past. This gives some reason to believe that the current effort asking Citibank/Barclays Bank to condemn the bill might be effective.
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Ugandan legislators have re-introduced the dangerous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a proposed law that would criminalize homosexuality in the country with extreme penalties. Under this proposed law, LGBT people could be killed or sentenced to life in prison, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As the bill’s author, David Bahati, has said, he believes the government of Uganda should “kill every last gay person.”
Citibank and Barclays -- two of the largest banks in the world -- have major operations in Uganda. Citibank has nearly $300 million in assets invested Uganda, and is a major leader in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce based in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
Barclays is Uganda’s third largest bank, with more than 1,000 employees in the country and 51 branches throughout the nation.
Citibank and Barclays are also well known for supporting their LGBT employees and protecting their employees and customers from anti-gay discrimination. Citibank is a huge supporter of LGBT groups in the United States, and has received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. And just last week, Barclays was named the most LGBT-friendly company in all of Scotland, and regularly is ranked as one of the best companies for LGBT people to work for in the world.
With the “Kill the Gays” bill looming in Uganda’s parliament, Citibank and Barclays have unique and necessary voices that could help stop this bill in its tracks. Their presence in Uganda is significant, and their voices in opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could have a profound impact in keeping LGBT people safe in Uganda.
Ask Citibank and Barclays to publicly condemn Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, and send a loud message to Ugandan legislators that criminalizing homosexuality with lifetime prison sentences and the death penalty won’t be supported by major international businesses.