US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the anti-LGBT draft law passed by the Ugandan parliament on Tuesday suppresses basic human rights and called on the government to re-evaluate it before implementing it.
The quickly passed bill says anyone who identifies as LGBTQ could face lengthy prison terms. Members of organizations that support minority rights can also be jailed.
The law goes further than existing laws in Uganda that prohibit homosexuality. To become law it needs to be signed by President Yoweri Museveni, who has expressed his feelings against LGBT.
The new legislation constitutes a further crackdown on LGBTQ+ people in a country where same-sex relations were already illegal – punishable by life imprisonment. It targets an array of activities, and includes a ban on promoting and abetting homosexuality as well as conspiracy to engage in homosexuality, Reuters reported.
According to the bill, the death penalty can be invoked for cases involving “aggravated homosexuality” – a broad term used in the legislation to describe sex acts committed without consent or under duress, against children, people with mental or physical disabilities, by a “serial offender,” or involving incest.
“A person who commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality and is liable, on conviction to suffer death,” read the amendments, which were presented by the chairperson for legal and parliamentary affairs Robina Rwakoojo.
Opposition lawmaker Asuman Basalirwa introduced the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2023 to parliament, saying it aims to “protect our church culture; the legal, religious and traditional family values of Ugandans from the acts that are likely to promote sexual promiscuity in this country.”
“The objective of the bill was to establish a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect traditional family values, our diverse culture, our faiths, by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex and the promotion or recognition of sexual relations between persons of the same sex,” Basalirwa said on Tuesday.