Uganda’s President Museveni signs stringent anti-LGBTQ law, including the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” drawing international condemnation and raising concerns about potential sanctions and human rights violations.
- President Museveni signs law with death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”
- United States expresses concern and evaluates implications of the law
- Outrage from human rights groups and potential impact on Uganda’s international relations
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has signed into law one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ legislations globally, including provisions for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” The new law goes beyond existing regulations that already criminalize same-sex relations and introduces severe punishments for “serial offenders” and those who transmit HIV/AIDS through gay sex. It also imposes a 20-year sentence for “promoting” homosexuality. The move has elicited condemnation from Western nations and raises concerns about potential sanctions and a negative impact on Uganda’s foreign aid.
United States President Joe Biden described the law as a tragic violation of human rights and announced that the implications of the legislation would be thoroughly assessed regarding the United States’ engagement with Uganda. The U.S. government is considering additional steps, including the application of sanctions and entry restrictions against individuals involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption.
The enactment of the law has prompted strong reactions from various organizations. The joint statement issued by the U.S.’s PEPFAR, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNAIDS expressed grave concern about the impact on Uganda’s anti-HIV efforts. Additionally, business coalition Open For Business, which includes companies like Google and Microsoft, expressed deep disappointment, highlighting that the law contradicts Uganda’s economic interests.
International human rights bodies have also voiced their outrage, while LGBTQ activists in Uganda argue that the law will intensify harassment and discrimination against their community. The legislation could potentially inspire lawmakers in neighboring countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, to pursue similar measures. The inclusion of the death penalty for offenses like transmitting HIV has garnered significant international criticism, with concerns raised about its disproportionate severity.
The passage of this law marks a setback for LGBTQ rights in Uganda, which has experienced a long-standing battle over such legislation. Similar bills in the past have faced legal challenges and international pressure, leading to the overturning of a less restrictive 2014 law. Anti-LGBTQ sentiments in Africa have deep roots, stemming from religious influences, the colonial era, and cultural factors. Critics equate the law to apartheid, highlighting the grave violation of human rights and the need for widespread condemnation.