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Uganda: president's signing of highly repressive anti-LGBTI law is 'dark day' for human rights

Provisions against the 'promotion' of homosexuality are likely to encourage homophobia in the country © Getty Images

Law could see death sentences handed down for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ 

Call for international community to mobilise against the law

‘The signing of this deeply repressive law is a grave assault on human rights’ - Flavia Mwangovya

Responding to news that President Yoweri Museveni has signed Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill which criminalises same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults, Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International’s East and Southern Africa Deputy Director, said:

“This is a desperately dark day for LGBTI rights and for Uganda. 

“The signing of this deeply repressive law is a grave assault on human rights and the constitution of Uganda and the regional and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a party. 

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will do nothing other than enshrine discrimination, hatred and prejudice against LGBTI Ugandans and their allies into law. 

“Amnesty International has repeatedly called for this egregious legislation to be scrapped.

“As we wait for the bill to come into force, Amnesty International urges the international community to urgently put pressure on the Ugandan government to protect the rights of LGBTI persons in the country. We stand in solidarity with Ugandan LGBTI communities, and all Ugandans affected by this hateful legislation.”

Death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill imposes a punishment of life imprisonment for same-sex sexual acts, and up to ten years behind bars for attempted same-sex sexual acts. It also imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”. The bill further restricts freedom of association and expression in Uganda by proposing a punishment of up to 20 years in prison for the “promotion of homosexuality”, a provision that is likely to encourage homophobia. The law also criminalises the provision of support - whether in kind or financially - to facilitate activities that encourage homosexuality, ostensibly targeting individuals, media outlets and organisations working on LGBTI rights.

On 21 March, the Ugandan parliament had passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill with 387 of 389 MPs voting in favour. On 21 April, President Museveni refused to sign the bill into law, sending it back to parliament for reconsideration of several clauses. On 2 May, 341 MPs voted for the amended bill and again sent it to the president who assented to it earlier today.

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