Responding to the news that Uganda’s Parliament has passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill after President Yoweri Museveni sent it back to Parliament for revision, just confirms that the state is institutionalizing discrimination through criminalization of same-sex sexual relationships, Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director said:
“The revised Bill still criminalizes consensual same-sex conduct and has retained the death penalty in cases of “aggravated homosexuality”, a broad term used to describe actions including same-sex acts among people living with HIV. It still allows a 20-year sentence for promoting homosexuality, which could outlaw any advocacy for the rights of LGBTI persons in the country.
“It is abhorrent that Parliament has retained the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that was passed by Uganda’s Parliament in March. This contemptuous law blatantly violates the human rights of LGBTI individuals in Uganda, including the right to privacy, freedom from discrimination, and the right to equal protection under the law.
The legislation now heads back to President Museveni, who can sign, veto or return it again to parliament.
“This law will have a devastating impact on LGBTI individuals in Uganda, who already face persecution and discrimination. It will fuel violence and discrimination against LGBTI individuals and reinforce stigma and stereotypes related to homosexuality. It will also have a chilling effect on freedom of expression, as individuals who support LGBTI rights may fear persecution and imprisonment.
“The Ugandan President must immediately veto this law and take steps to protect the human rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Amnesty International also calls on the international community to urgently put pressure on the Ugandan government to protect the rights of LGBTI individuals in the country.”
The 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill imposes a punishment of life imprisonment for same-sex sexual conduct, and up to 10 years behind bars for attempted same-sex sexual acts. It also imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality, a provision that encourages homophobia.
On 21 March 2023, the Ugandan Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, with 387 out of 389 MPs voting in favour. Today 341 MPs voted for the revised bill after the president sent it back for their review last month; only one MP voted no.