Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni got a call from the United Nations and Amnesty International on Wednesday. They asked him to overturn a law against homosexuality that was passed by parliament the night before. They described the law as “appalling.” During a tumultuous session that took place on Tuesday night, the Ugandan parliament voted in favor of passing a law that would inflict severe penalties on people who engage in homosexual relations.
In a country where homosexuality was already against the law, the legislature decided to make big changes to the original text. The original text said that anyone who did homosexual acts or said they were LGBTQ+ could get up to ten years in prison. It wasn’t clear right away what the full extent of the new penalties that the law would put in place would be.
On Wednesday, Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged President Museveni not to put the legislation into effect. The passage of this discriminatory text, which is possibly the worst of its kind anywhere in the world, is a deeply troubling development, he said in a statement.
If this bill passes and the president signs it into law, all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in Uganda will be considered criminals just for living there. It could act as a green light for the systematic infringement of almost all of their human rights, he continued. Amnesty International’s director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah, said in a statement that the unclear and vague language of this law makes it a crime even to “promote” homosexuality.
An elected member of the National Resistance Movement, which is President Museveni’s party, Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, has come out publicly in opposition to the text. The Member of Parliament said that under the law as it will be in the end, people who are found guilty of “aggravated” crimes could be sentenced to life in prison or even the death penalty. Amnesty International said that the LGBTQ+ community would have to deal with “institutionalized discrimination, hatred, and prejudice” because of this law. They asked President Museveni to “urgently veto this appalling law.”
There has been a lot of homophobic talk about the measure in parliament. Just last week, President Museveni called gay people “deviants” during one of these discussions. Despite this, the leader, who is 78 years old, has stated on multiple occasions that the matter is not a priority for him and that he would rather keep good relations with his Western supporters and investors.
“Extremely stringent anti-homosexuality legislation” Even though Uganda has very strict laws against homosexuality, no one has been prosecuted for consensual homosexual acts since the country got its independence from the UK in 1962. These laws are a holdover from colonial times. Many people in Uganda don’t like gay people, so when the law was passed, some of the country’s people were happy about it.
“As residents of Uganda, we take great pride in our country. Homosexuality, lesbianism, and LGBTQ identities are not tolerated in our culture. “Abdu Mukasa, a local inhabitant who is 54 years old, told AFP that “we can’t.” “God is the one who created us. Both men and women were created by God. And we can’t allow one sexual orientation to coexist with another of the same sexual orientation,” he continued.
In 2014, a Ugandan judge struck down a bill that would have penalized homosexual relationships with a sentence of life in prison. The bill had been passed by the Ugandan parliament and signed by President Museveni.
People outside of Uganda were outraged by the bill, and after it was brought up in parliament, a number of rich countries stopped helping Uganda.The police made an announcement the week before last that they had arrested six males for “practicing homosexuality” in Jinja (south). According to the police, six additional males were arrested on the same charge on Sunday.