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New Ugandan Law Targets LGBTQ Community: Here’s What To Know

Uganda’s parliament approves harsh anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, including death penalty for certain cases, further restricting rights in a nation with a history of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment.



New Ugandan Law Targets LGBTQ Community: Here's What To Know
Bubulo East MP, John Musila poses ahead the plenary sitting at Parliament where lawmakers passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, as it returned for the second and third reading on March 21, 2023. PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA

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  • Uganda’s parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, imposing severe penalties on LGBTQ+ individuals, including the death sentence in certain cases and up to 20 years in prison for others.
  • The bill targets various activities and permits the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”
  • Uganda has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and has previously attempted to introduce harsh penalties in 2009 and 2014.

Uganda’s parliament passed stringent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on Tuesday, according to CNN.

Some of the new laws have harsh penalties, like the death penalty or up to 20 years in prison for people who say they are LGBTQ+.

These measures signify a further crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights in a country where same-sex relationships were already illegal and punishable by life imprisonment.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, as reported by CNN, encompasses various activities such as promoting or abetting homosexuality and conspiring to engage in homosexuality.

The bill allows for the death penalty in instances of “aggravated homosexuality,” a term covering non-consensual or coerced sex acts, acts against minors or individuals with mental or physical disabilities, serial offenses, and incest.

The amendments were presented by Robina Rwakoojo, the chairperson for legal and parliamentary affairs. She said that a person convicted of aggravated homosexuality “is likely to die.”

Opposition lawmaker Asuman Basalirwa introduced the bill with the intention of protecting “our church culture; the legal, religious, and traditional family values of Ugandans” from actions that might promote sexual promiscuity.

Basalirwa further explained that the legislation aimed to “establish comprehensive and enhanced legislation” to defend traditional family values, cultural diversity, and faith by prohibiting same-sex relations and their promotion or recognition.

However, lawmaker Fox Odoi-Oywelowo countered that the bill “contravenes established international and regional human rights standards” and unfairly restricts the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that the new law would violate Ugandans’ rights. HRW Uganda researcher Oryem Nyeko condemned the bill for criminalizing people based on their identities and infringing on rights to privacy, expression, and association.

Nyeko called on politicians to stop targeting LGBT individuals for political gain. The bill now awaits President Yoweri Museveni’s assent, who recently referred to homosexuals as “deviants.”

Uganda is a very conservative and religious country in East Africa. It has a long history of being against LGBTQ+ people. In 2009, the country made headlines with an anti-homosexuality bill proposing the death penalty for gay sex.

Even though the death penalty part of the law was changed to a proposal for life in prison in 2014, the law was eventually thrown out.

Here’s What To Know:

  1. Uganda’s parliament passed the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2023, introducing severe penalties for LGBTQ+ individuals.
  2. The bill permits the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” including non-consensual acts, offenses against minors, and serial offenses.
  3. Critics argue the legislation contravenes international and regional human rights standards and unfairly restricts LGBTQ+ individuals’ rights.
  4. Uganda has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, with previous attempts to introduce harsh penalties in 2009 and 2014.
  5. The bill now awaits President Yoweri Museveni’s assent, who has referred to homosexuals as “deviants.”

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