The Ugandan parliament has passed a law that imposes up to 10 years in prison for identifying as LGBTQ+. Same-sex relations are already illegal in Uganda, and this new legislation targets activities including promoting and abetting homosexuality, conspiracy to engage in homosexuality and even identifying as LGBTQ+.
Rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch warns that the law will violate Ugandans’ rights to freedom of expression and association privacy, equality, and non-discrimination.
Homophobia is deeply entrenched in Uganda, and while over 30 African countries already ban same-sex relationships, this new law appears to be the first to outlaw identifying as LGBTQ+.
Violations under the law also involve steep penalties, including death for so-called “aggravated” homosexuality and life in prison for gay sex.
Uganda’s parliament has passed a controversial law that criminalizes identifying as LGBTQ+ and imposes harsh punishments on those who violate it.
The law targets a wide range of activities, including promoting and abetting homosexuality and conspiracy to engage in homosexual acts.
Same-sex relationships are already illegal in Uganda, and this new legislation constitutes a further crackdown on the country’s LGBTQ+ community.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni, who has long opposed LGBTQ+ rights.
Uganda has a history of enacting harsh laws against the LGBTQ+ community. In 2009, the country introduced an anti-homosexuality bill that included the death penalty for homosexual acts.
While the death penalty clause was later removed, a law was passed in 2014 that proposed life imprisonment for those found guilty of homosexual acts. However, the law was ultimately struck down.
The new law, which bans identifying as LGBTQ+, appears to be the first of its kind in Africa. More than 30 African countries already ban same-sex relationships, but this law takes it a step further by criminalizing identification as LGBTQ+.
The law has faced opposition from human rights groups and activists who say it violates the rights to freedom of expression, association, and privacy, as well as equality and non-discrimination.
Supporters of the law argue that it is necessary to protect traditional family values and Ugandan culture. The law imposes a punishment of up to 10 years in prison for identifying as LGBTQ+.
It also bans promoting and abetting homosexuality, as well as conspiracy to engage in homosexual acts. Violations under the law involve steep penalties, including death for so-called “aggravated” homosexuality and life in prison for gay sex.
Aggravated homosexuality involves homosexual acts with people under 18 years old or when a person is HIV positive, among other categories, according to the law.
The discussion in parliament was laced with homophobic rhetoric, with politicians conflating child sexual abuse with consensual same-sex activity between adults.
Politicians who supported the law argued that it was necessary to protect traditional family values and Ugandan culture. They also accused Western countries of trying to impose their values on Uganda.
Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups condemned the law, saying it violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s Constitution and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a party.
They also warned that the law would contribute to a climate of violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQ+ community in Uganda has expressed fear and anxiety over the new law. They say it will make it even more difficult for them to live their lives openly and freely.
LGBTQ+ activists have called on politicians in the country to stop targeting them for political gain. They have also called on the international community to condemn the law and take action to protect the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda.
Human rights groups have condemned the new law, saying it violates fundamental rights and contributes to a climate of violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
They have called on the Ugandan government to repeal the law and respect the rights of all Ugandans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Human Rights Watch warned earlier this month that the law would violate Ugandans’ rights to freedom of expression and association privacy, equality, and nondiscrimination.
The international community has also condemned the new law. The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada released a joint statement expressing concern about the law and calling on Uganda to respect the human rights of all its citizens.
The European Union also released a statement saying that the law violated Uganda’s international obligations and urged the Ugandan government to repeal it.
The United Nations has also spoken out against the law, with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, calling it a violation of international human rights law.
Some countries, including the Netherlands and Sweden, have suspended aid to Uganda in response to the law.
The United States has also announced that it will review its assistance programs to Uganda in light of the law.
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