Lazy eyes listen
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed into law one of the world’s strongest anti-LGBTQ laws, according to advocates. The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 has sparked outcry among international human rights organisations and activists, who believe it should be repealed.
The bill, enacted in March, originally envisaged 20 years in prison for just identifying as LGBTQ, but the president returned it to parliament in late April for revision to ensure it would not “frighten” individuals in need of “rehabilitation.”
“We have heeded our people’s concerns and legislated to protect the sanctity of family,” Uganda’s parliament speaker Anita Annet Among said in a statement on Monday. Among those who stated that Uganda was using the law to “defend the culture, values, and aspirations of our people”
The congressman urged law enforcement officials to carry out their responsibilities in enforcing the Anti-Homosexuality Act in a “fair, steadfast, and firm manner.”
A revised version of the measure, which was approved by parliament earlier this month, underlined that identifying as LGBTQ but not engaging in homosexual behaviours would not be criminalised.
The death sentence for “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes having sex with a juvenile, having intercourse while HIV positive, and incest, remained, though.
The UN Human Rights Office underlined that the anti-gay law, which it described as “draconian and discriminatory,” is a “recipe for systematic violations of the rights” of LGBTQ individuals and the general community.
“It violates the Constitution and international treaties and necessitates immediate judicial review,” it tweeted.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief stated in a joint statement on Monday that the act puts Kampala’s progress on HIV response in “grave jeopardy.”
The United States has previously warned Uganda of severe economic “repercussions” if the measure is implemented.
“We’re certainly watching this very closely,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in March. “We’d have to look at whether or not there might be repercussions that we’d have to take, perhaps in an economic way, should this law actually get passed and enacted.”
Museveni, on the other hand, has asked legislators to show “patriotism,” condemn homosexuality, and prepare for the likely impact of aid cuts on the country.