Target: Citibank and Barclays Uganda
Goal: Pressure Citibank and Barclays Uganda to publicly condemn the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
In October 2009, Ugandan MP Bahati introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would make homosexuality a capital offense, potentially punishable by death. Dubbed “Kill the Gays” legislation, the bill has been advanced and stalled several times since 2009 due to international uproar but is currently being revisited, revised and pushed forward as of December 2012.
Homosexuals in Uganda live in constant fear of persecution and violence. Uganda has recently moved to ban 38 non-governmental organizations for supposedly promoting homosexuality. When questioned, the Ugandan government claims that Western countries are trying to promote liberal ideals that are simply unacceptable in Africa. Many gay Ugandans become refugees, fleeing their own country for a chance to live freely.
With surveys showing that the majority of Ugandans think homosexuality is morally wrong and coupled with the fact homosexuality is a crime in most of Africa, a Western country pressuring the Ugandan government to nullify this bill may seem to Ugandans like modern day colonial force. But insistence from major international businesses, such as Citibank and Barclays, both of which are important players in Uganda’s economy and job market, may persuade the Ugandan Parliament to expunge this piece of violence-promoting legislation.
Citibank has invested nearly $300 million USD in Uganda, and is a major leader in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce while Barclays is the third-largest bank in Uganda. Recently, Colin Burton, a Citibank customer, petitioned a campaign for Citibank and Barclays to condemn the Anti-Homosexuality bill and received close to 500,000 signatures. Citibank and Barclays, despite being widely acknowledged as LGBTQ supportive organizations, both responded with ambiguous, noncommittal statements. We need to pursue Burton’s concept further and push these supposedly gay-friendly businesses to make a definitive statement condemning the Anti-Homosexuality bill.
As international corporations with major connections in Uganda, Citibank and Barclays have the potential to make a great impact on Ugandan legislation, perhaps with more success than international governmental bodies. The Ugandan economy relies heavily on these businesses and public condemnation of the Anti-Homosexuality bill would resonate strongly with the Ugandan Parliament.
By signing the petition below you will push Rita Balaka, Citibank Uganda Public Affairs Officer and Mark McClane, Barclays Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion to publicly denounce the “Kill the Gays” bill and do their part in abolishing human rights violations from becoming law.
Dear Ms. Balaka and Mr. McClane,
As head employees of major international corporations, you not only have a powerful voice for change but also a moral responsibility to your customers and the citizens of the countries with which your company does business.
There is a human rights crisis occurring in Uganda and its name is the Anti-Homosexuality bill. This bill was first proposed in 2009 and has been stalled many times but is unfortunately currently being revisited and, if we do nothing, could become law in Uganda. If this were the case, many of your employees and customers would be persecuted and abused. Although abuse exists and will continue to exist against LGBTQ and allies throughout Uganda, if this bill passes, violence against gays will not just happen, it will be celebrated by law. As two diverse companies that take pride on being supportive of the LGBTQ community, I urge you to publicly condemn this legislature that would gravely violate human rights and abolish it for good.
Both Citibank and Barclays has been individually nominated for positive supporting roles in the LGBTQ community. I urge you to join me in taking a public stance against this vast potential injustice. In doing so you will take action to further show your support of your LGBTQ customers and their millions of supporters.
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