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Anti-LGBTQIA law passes in Uganda; death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’, 20-year sentence for ‘promoting homosexuality’

In Uganda, the president – Yoweri Museveni – signed the law that imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which includes having gay sex when HIV-positive; and a 20-year sentence for “promoting homosexuality”.

Photo by Robin Kutesa from Unsplash.com

Going back to the Dark Ages on LGBTQIA human rights in Uganda.

In Uganda, the president – Yoweri Museveni – signed the law that imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which includes having gay sex when HIV-positive; and a 20-year sentence for “promoting homosexuality”.

This president’s signing of the bill was first announced by parliament speaker Anita Among on Twitter; and this was backed by Museveni’s spokesman Faruk Kirunda told Reuters.

Extreme as the new law is, there was an earlier version that was even harsher, stating that merely identifying as LGBTQIA is a crime, and obliging people to report all homosexual activities. Both were “toned down” so that now, merely identifying as LGBTQIA is no longer a crime, while still obliging people to report homosexual activities when a child is involved.

Same-sex relationships were already illegal in Uganda prior to the signing of the new law.

After news of the signing of the draconian law was known, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) released a statement stating that they are “deeply concerned about the harmful impact of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 on the health of its citizens and its impact on the AIDS response that has been so successful up to now.”

For these three organizations, Uganda’s progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy since the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 “will obstruct health education and the outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat. The stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the Act has already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services. Trust, confidentiality, and stigma-free engagement are essential for anyone seeking health care. LGBTQIA people in Uganda increasingly fear for their safety and security, and increasing numbers of people are being discouraged from seeking vital health services for fear of attack, punishment and further marginalization.”

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