Uganda Parliament Passes Bill Criminalizing Identifying as LGBTQ


Uganda goes against LGBTQ

Uganda’s president signed a law imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality on Monday, defying protests from rights groups, criticism from Western donors and a U.S. warning that it will complicate relations.


The new bill strengthened existing punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for “aggravated homosexuality” – including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive.


It criminalized lesbianism for the first time and made it a crime to help individuals engage in homosexual acts. Gay rights activists in Uganda said they planned a legal challenge.


Ugandan officials broke into loud applause as President Yoweri Museveni put his signature to the document in front of foreign journalists at his State House outside the capital.

“There’s now an attempt at social imperialism, to impose social values. We’re sorry to see that you (the West) live the way you live but we keep quiet about it,” he said.

Western donors immediately criticised Uganda. Norway and Denmark said they were withholding or diverting aid money and Austria said it was reviewing assistance. Britain condemned the new law but did not mention aid cuts.


Uganda’s parliament has passed sweeping antigay legislation that proposes tough new penalties for same-sex relationships and criminalises anyone identifying as LGBTQ.

While more than 30 African countries, including Uganda, already ban same-sex relationships, the new law passed on Tuesday appears to be the first to outlaw merely identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), Human Rights Watch said.

“The ayes have it,” Parliamentary Speaker Anita Annet Among said after the final vote, adding that the “bill passed in record time”.


In reference,

Mr. Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Right strongly pushed back on attempts to justify the legislation “on the basis of ‘values’”, stating that “promoting violence and discrimination against people for who they are and who they love, is wrong”.


The High Commissioner paid tribute to “brave” parliamentarians and civil society representatives who had spoken out against the bill, and the discrimination it aimed to impose.

“This law, if signed into force, will have serious negative repercussions on society as a whole, and erode gains made over years”, he warned.

In his global update to the Human Rights Council earlier this month, Mr. Türk had already expressed concern about the bill as it was tabled in Uganda’s parliament, regretting “rhetoric by politicians that incites hatred, and crackdowns on LGBTIQ+ organizations”.

He commented at the time, “It is unthinkable that we are facing such bigotry, prejudice and discrimination in the 21st century, holding back development of all members of society”.



In an opinion submitted to a Ugandan parliamentary committee earlier this month, Human Rights Watch said the new law “would violate multiple fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s Constitution and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a party”.

“Criminalization of consensual same-sex conduct contributes to a climate in which violence and discrimination against LGBT people is widespread,” the organisation said.

Last week, police said they had arrested six men for “practising homosexuality” in the southern lakeside town of Jinja. Another six men were arrested on the same charge on Sunday, according to police.

“One of the most extreme features of this new bill is that it criminalizes people simply for being who they are as well as further infringing on the rights to privacy, and freedoms of expression and association that are already compromised in Uganda,” said Oryem Nyeko, Uganda expert at Human Rights Watch.

“Ugandan politicians should focus on passing laws that protect vulnerable minorities and affirm fundamental rights and stop targeting LGBT people for political capital,” he said.

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