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Uganda. Anti-LGBTQ bill passed, death penalty for ‘homosexual crimes’

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The Ugandan parliament has adopted one of the most restrictive laws targeting LGBTQ people. If the new law comes into force, simply identifying as such a person will be punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and for some homosexual behavior even the death penalty.

The new law passed on Tuesday marks another tightening of rights for LGBTQ+ people in a country where homosexual activity is already illegal, CNN notes. The new regulations will enter into force if the president also signs them Uganda Yoweri Museveni.

The new law provides that identifying yourself as an LGBTQ person will be punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and life imprisonment for having sex with a person of the same sex. On the other hand, for “aggravated homosexual crimes” it will be possible to be sentenced even to the death penalty. This category of offenses includes homosexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18, as well as intercourse in which one of the partners is HIV positive. AIDS, the disease caused by HIV, is now one of the leading causes of death among Ugandans. The act also prohibits the promotion and incitement of homosexuality, as well as conspiring to engage in homosexual conduct.

Death penalty for homosexuality

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Supporters of the bill explain it by emphasizing that Ugandans are a conservative nation. Asuma Basalirwa, who introduced the new anti-LGBTQ+ bill, said that the new law is intended to “protect Ugandan culture, religious values ​​and traditional family from behavior that promotes sexual promiscuity in the country.”

Ugandan politicians, however, are not unanimous on this issue. Ugandan MP Fox Odoi-Oywelowo stressed that the adopted legislation “violates established international and regional standards for the protection human rights” and that it “unfairly restricts the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ people.”

The attempt to tighten the law in Uganda was also strongly condemned by LGBTQ+ activists and human rights NGOs. “One of the most radical parts of the bill is the criminalization of individuals for who they are and the violation of their rights to privacy, freedom of speech and association, which were previously questionable in Uganda,” Oryem Nyeko, a Ugandan Human Rights Watch employee, said in a statement. Nyeko urged politicians to “stop attacking people LGBT for the purpose of making political capital.

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Prohibition of homosexuality in Uganda

Currently, homosexual relations are prohibited by law in more than 30 African countries. However, Uganda is the first country to criminalize self-identification as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) person, Human Rights Watch points out.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has not yet commented on the new law, but he is known for stigmatizing the LGBTQ+ community. In 2014, he already faced international criticism after he signed “the most draconian anti-gay law in all of Africa”, reminds “Economist”. That law was also intended to introduce life imprisonment for homosexual acts and the death penalty for “aggravated sexual offences.” In addition, it was to order Ugandans to report any suspicions that someone may be a non-heteronormative person. Ultimately, however, those regulations did not enter into force.

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CNN, The Economist, Reuters

Main photo source: John Gomez / Shutterstock.com

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