Uganda heightens crackdown against homosexuality


Ugandans have spoken: "No to homosexuality," but the West is fuming. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa / Reuters

from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
Uganda Bureau
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – THERE is outcry after Uganda’s Parliament passed a law that criminalizes consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex.

The law, dubbed the ‘2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill’, is denounced as a grave assault on same-sex people and contemptuous of the Ugandan constitution.

“This ambiguous, vaguely worded law even criminalizes those who ‘promote’ homosexuality or ‘attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality’,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa

The activist said the legislation will institutionalize discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI ) people, including those who are perceived to be LGBTI and block the legitimate work of civil society, public health professionals and community leaders.

Chagutah urged President Yoweri Museveni to veto this legislation, which was passed following a rushed vote on Tuesday evening.

“Instead of criminalizing LGBTI people, Uganda should protect them by enacting laws and policies that align with the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined not only in Uganda’s Constitution, but also the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” Chagutah said.

Anyone violating the new law could face up to ten years behind bars.

In 2021, Parliament passed the Sexual Offenses Bill, which sought to criminalize any “sexual act between persons of the same gender,” as well as anal sex between people of any gender.

Museveni rejected the law stating that many provisions in the proposed law were redundant as they were already provided for in existing legislations like the Penal Code Act.

Oryem Nyeko, Uganda researcher at Human Rights Watch, said recently, “Ugandan politicians should focus on passing laws that protect vulnerable minorities and affirm fundamental rights and stop targeting LGBT people for political capital.”

This follows months of hostile rhetoric against sexual and gender minorities by public figures in Uganda, as well as government crackdowns on LGBT-rights groups and other human rights groups, government critics, and civil society.

– CAJ News





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