Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Against the new bill criminalising LGBTQ people in Uganda

Uganda's Parliament just passed a new bill, known as ‘2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill’. The new law criminalises those who promote homosexuality or attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality, so this deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTQ people.

The newly-passed bill criminalises same-sex activities between consenting adults as well as the promotion of homosexuality. Anyone caught committing this “crime” could face up to 10 years in prison.

It is not the first time the Parliament of Uganda has attempted to recriminalise homosexuality since the abolition of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, a colonial-era provision from the 1950 Penal Code Act, in 2014. 

Several years ago, Parliament passed the Sexual Offences Bill, which sought to criminalise any sexual act between persons of the same gender. However, President Museveni rejected the law, stating that many provisions in the proposed law were redundant as they were already provided for in existing legislation such as the Penal Code Act. 

Responding to news of Uganda’s Parliament passing a law that criminalises consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said: 

“President Yoweri Museveni must urgently veto this appalling legislation, which was passed following a rushed vote on Tuesday evening.

“The law, dubbed the ‘2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill’, amounts to a grave assault on LGBTI people and is contemptuous of the Ugandan constitution. 

“This ambiguous, vaguely worded law even criminalises those who ‘promote’ homosexuality or ‘attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality’.

“This deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people - including those who are perceived to be LGBTI - and block the legitimate work of civil society, public health professionals, and community leaders. 

“Instead of criminalising 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.” 

We have to stand for LGBTQ rights everywhere, but especially in those countries where the situation is worst.

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