Sunday, April 23, 2023

Uganda’s President refuses to sign anti-LGBTQ bill, for now

President Museveni of Uganda has refused to sign into law a controversial new bill against homosexuality that prescribes the death penalty in some cases, requesting that it should be amended.

Museveni’s decision was announced after a meeting of parliamentarians in his ruling party, almost all of whom support the bill approved by lawmakers last month.

A spokesman for the presidency said Museveni was not opposed to the punishments proposed in the bill, but wanted parliamentarians to look into “the issue of rehabilitation”.

“Museveni told the members that he had no objections to the punishments but on the issue of rehabilitation of the persons who have in the past been engaged in homosexuality but would like to live normal lives again,” spokesman said.

“It was agreed that the bill goes back to parliament for the issues of rehabilitation to be looked at before he can sign it into law,” he added.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under a colonial-era law criminalising sex acts “against the order of nature”. The punishment for that offence is life imprisonment.

A group of United Nations experts has described the bill, if enacted, as “an egregious violation of human rights”. Amnesty International in a statement had urged Museveni to veto what the group described as a “draconian and overly broad” bill. The European Parliament also voted in support of targeted sanctions against Uganda over their treatment of LGBT people. And the United States has warned of economic consequences if the legislation is enacted.

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