New laws in Uganda against LGBTQ communities stipulate capital punishment for “serial offenders” against the law. Same-sex relations are already illegal in Uganda and many other African countries, however, the new law creates larger punishments for those who violate it.
On Monday, May 26th, Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, signed an anti-gay bill that includes a death penalty to those who partake in, “aggravated homosexuality.”
What the Law Entails
Aggravated homosexuality under the definition of the Ugandan law means, ″serial offenders,″ or same-sex rape, sex in a position of authority or procured by intimidation, sex with persons older than seventy-five, sex with the disabled and mentally ill persons, as well as homosexual acts committed by anyone with a previous conviction of homosexuality.
Additionally, the law, enacted with several amendments on May 26th, 2023, calls for life imprisonment for gay sex. By words of the law, it prohibits same-sex relationships and their, “promotion and recognition.” Attempted aggravated homosexuality carries a sentence of 14 years.
Ugandan law called for a maximum 10-year sentence for the intentional transmission of HIV. However, the law has some issues as it does not distinguish the difference between intentional and unintentional transmission of the disease.
The general public is also asked to report any acts of homosexuality and the law threatens time in prison for those who even allow premises for same-sex relations
Museveni has even referred to homosexuality as a “deviation from normal.”
The law has faced massive backlash from civil rights groups and the UN, who declared itself, “appalled” at the legislation. President Biden said it was a “tragic violation” of human rights and many aid organizations are reconsidering providing support for the country. Groups like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and the Joint United Nations Program on H.I.V./AIDS said that the new law would threaten the country’s AIDS response. The statement said that up until this point, the program has allowed, “access to health care for all who need it, without stigma or discrimination.”
The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 will cause an obstruction of, “health education and outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat.”
Although there have been amendments to the law that have made it “more tolerant,” LGBTQ Ugandants said passage of the bill in March unleashed a wave of arrests, evictions, and mob attacks. The amendments made since the original passing by Parliament in March were sent back by Museveni to make the difference between being gay and engaging in gay sex clear.
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