There is controversy in Africa over the latest anti-gay law in Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni signed a law on Monday, with the support of the Parliament, which allows penalizes those found guilty of homosexual relations with imprisonment and even death.
The passage of the law in Uganda has unleashed a wave of criticism against the Museveni government, which claims it wants to fight to safeguard the identity and values of the Ugandan people. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 was introduced in the Ugandan Parliament in March to strengthen legislation against homosexuality, which was already regulated by a similar law enacted in 2014.
— State House Uganda (@StateHouseUg) May 29, 2023
Up to 20 years in prison and capital punishment
The law criminalizes homosexual conduct, both between two men and two women. It also targets those who identify as transgender, queer or any other sexual or gender identity other than those that are traditional in the African country. The text provides for harsh sentences of up to 20 years in prison for those found in violation, and the death penalty may be invoked in the most serious cases.
Stiffer penalties may apply when those involved are HIV positive or involve minors or other vulnerable groups. The law also provides penalties for those who falsely accuse another person of being homosexual.
— Anita Annet Among (@AnitahAmong) May 29, 2023
Condemnation and support for the new law
Groups from the United Nations to Humans Rights Watch have condemned the law in Uganda. In statements reported by AFP, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said that the law is "discriminatory" and "contrary to the Constitution and international treaties."
Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament Anita Annet Among defended the bill, claiming it "protects the sanctity of the family, in line with Article 31 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. We have remained steadfast in upholding the culture, values and aspirations of our people, in line with objectives 19 and 24 of our National Objectives and Guiding Principles of State Policy," per a statement.