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Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Life In Prison For Saying You’re Gay

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2023 03 21T180223Z 624437407 RC2GYZ993Z0P RTRMADP 3 UGANDA LGBT

By Gad Masereka

Kampala, Uganda: With the adoption of a new law by parliament to tighten down on homosexual activity, Ugandans who identify as LGBT now run the danger of serving life in jail.

In certain circumstances, it also entails the death sentence.

The discussion over the measure, according to a rights activist, has caused many to dread further assaults on homosexuals.

“Blackmail is often practiced. Individuals are getting calls threatening to denounce them as homosexual if they don’t pay them money, they said.

One of Africa’s strongest anti-gay laws is the one in questio

While homosexual actions are already prohibited in Uganda, this law adds several additional criminal offenses.

Friends, family, and community members would have a responsibility to report those in same-sex relationships to the police, in addition to making it unlawful for someone to just identify as homosexual for the first time.

On Tuesday night, it was approved with broad support in Uganda’s parliament.

Mother from Uganda no longer feels embarrassed of her homosexual son
Updates on this and other news from the region are available at Africa Live.
The measure that makes same-sex between consenting people illegal has been dubbed “appalling,” “ambiguous,” and “vaguely written” by Amnesty International.

Amnesty International’s director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah, stated that the “deeply repressive legislation” would “institutionalize discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people – including those who are perceived to be LGBTI” and would obstruct the legitimate work of community leaders, public health experts, and members of civil society.

Also, it has been denounced by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Minister for Africa Andrew Mitchell.

Uganda has been forewarned by the White House of potential economic consequences if the new legislation is implemented.

Anti-homosexual prejudice was prevalent in the media in the weeks leading up to the discussion, one activist who wished to remain anonymous told the New Light Paper

The activist said that “queer community members have been blackmailed, extorted for money, or even tricked into mob assault traps.”
“In some locations, law enforcement officials themselves are utilizing the present climate to demand money from individuals they suspect of being homosexual. Even some families are calling the police to report their own children.

President Yoweri Museveni would now have the option of either signing the measure into law or exercising his veto in order to preserve ties with Western funders and investors.

He has recently made a number of anti-gay remarks and has criticized Western nations for applying pressure on Uganda on this matter.

Another advocate for homosexual rights said that the government was using the law to divert attention away from the people’s urgent economic difficulties.

They are attempting to stir up anti-gay sentiments in order to draw attention away from what matters most to Ugandans as a whole. There is no justification for a measure that would make it illegal for people to engage in consenting same-sex adult relationships, LGBTQ+ rights activist Clare Byarugaba of Chapter Four Uganda told the BBC.

The supporters of the bill claim that they are working to protect children, but Ms. Byarugaba disagreed, saying that regardless of your sexual orientation, the government and parliament should pass laws—or at the very least, enforce those that already exist—to protect boys and girls alike from defiling. Hence, the topic of recruiting has not been supported by evidence and is prejudiced.

What is said in the bill?

While the final draft has not yet been made public, the following topics have been raised in parliament:

A person who is found guilty of trafficking or grooming youngsters for homosexual activity gets a life sentence in prison.

Moreover, anyone who write, broadcast, and distribute pro-gay media content and literature, as well as those who support or financially assist LGBT rights organizations or activities, risk prosecution and jail.

Media organizations, journalists, and publishers risk arrest and jail time for disseminating any material that supports gay rights or “promotes homosexuality”

Death punishment for what is referred to as “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes sexually abusing children, disabled persons, or other vulnerable individuals, or in situations where a victim of gay assault contracts a life-long disease

Also, property owners run the possibility of going to prison if their properties are used as a “brothel” for homosexual conduct or any other actions related to the rights of sexual minorities.

The bill’s concept was contested by a small number of Ugandan MPs on the committee that was reviewing it. They contend that the country’s Criminal Code Act already addresses the offenses it intends to criminalize.

The Constitutional Court of Uganda invalidated a second measure that had strengthened prohibitions against the LGBT population in 2014.

It included making it unlawful to support and promote LGBT organizations and activities, affirming that gay conduct should carry a life sentence, and was roundly denounced by Western nations.

Since the Act was approved by parliament without the necessary quorum, the court decided that it should be annulled.

Over 30 African nations, where many people support strong religious and societal norms, have laws prohibiting same-sex relationships.

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