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Uganda: President Museveni must urgently veto 'draconian' anti-homosexuality bill

© © Guy Corbishley / Demotix

President Yoweri Museveni must urgently veto the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill which criminalises consensual same-sex conduct in Uganda, Amnesty International said today. Tomorrow (21 April), marks the expiry of the 30-day period since the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in which the President can veto the Bill or give it his consent.

According to Uganda’s Constitution, Museveni has until tomorrow to either give his assent to the Bill, return it to Parliament for revisions, or inform the Speaker of Parliament that he will veto it. The Bill may, however, pass into law without the President’s assent if he returns it to Parliament twice.

The Bill criminalises those who “promote” homosexuality or “attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality”. It also imposes a duty on the people of Uganda to report “acts of homosexuality” or else face a potential jail term of up to six months.

Additionally, the Bill contains a provision on “aggravated homosexuality” in relation to circumstances where a person contracts a terminal illness because of a sexual act, which will likely deter individuals from the LGBTI community living with HIV/AIDs from accessing health care and medical services.

Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said:

“The passing of this appalling bill is a heartbreaking moment for the LGBTI community and their loved ones in Uganda. President Museveni must urgently pay heed to the community’s outcry against this Bill and urgently veto it. Nobody should ever be criminalised for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“This Bill also flies in the face of a resolution on protecting LGBTI people agreed by the African Commission, while its callous recommendation of the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ makes it one of the most extreme anti-LGBTI laws in the world and further violates international standards on death penalty.

“This deeply repressive Bill must never see the light of day.

“Instead of persecuting LGBTI people, the Ugandan authorities should protect their rights by aligning their laws with international human rights law and standards.”

Amnesty calls on the Ugandan authorities not only to veto this draconian Bill but to review all laws in the country’s Penal Code that criminalise same-sex conduct.

President Museveni should ensure that human rights are promoted and protected for all people in Uganda, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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