Responding to the news that Uganda’s Parliament has passed a law that criminalizes consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said:
“President Yoweri Museveni must urgently veto this appalling legislation, which was passed following a rushed vote on Tuesday evening. The law, dubbed the ‘2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill’, amounts to a grave assault on LGBTI people and is contemptuous of the Ugandan constitution.
President Yoweri Museveni must urgently veto this appalling legislation, which was passed following a rushed vote on Tuesday evening.Tigere Chagutah, Regional Director East and Southern Africa, Amnesty International
“This ambiguous, vaguely worded law even criminalizes those who ‘promote’ homosexuality or ‘attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality’. In reality, this deeply repressive legislation will institutionalize discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people, including those who are perceived to be LGBTI and block the legitimate work of civil society, public health professionals, and community leaders.
This deeply repressive legislation will institutionalize discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people.Tigere Chagutah
“Instead of criminalizing LGBTI people, Uganda should protect them by enacting laws and policies that align with the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined not only in Uganda’s Constitution, but also the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
During the debate in the Parliament, MPs passed to impose life imprisonment punishment for same sex conduct, and 10 years for attempted same sex conduct. The MPs also passed a death penalty for aggravated homosexuality. It also criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality, a provision that encourages homophobia.
The 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill is not the first time the Ugandan Parliament has attempted to recriminalize homosexuality since the striking-down of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, a colonial-era provision from the 1950 Penal Code Act, in 2014.
On 3 May 2021, Parliament passed the Sexual Offenses Bill, which sought to criminalize any “sexual act between persons of the same gender,” as well as anal sex between people of any gender. In August 2021, President Museveni rejected the law stating that many provisions in the proposed law were redundant as they were already provided for in existing legislations like the Penal Code Act.