A new law against homosexual acts is in force in Uganda. Among other things, it provides for the death penalty. The international community is outraged.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has signed into law a controversial anti-homosexual act legislation that allows for the death penalty in certain cases. That said parliament speaker Anita Annet Among.
According to consistent media reports, the Office of the President confirmed the signing. The law provides for the death penalty for homosexuals convicted of rape or sex with minors or disabled people. People or groups who advocate for homosexuals, such as LGBT activists, can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
A group of Ugandan LGBT activists and advocates submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court in the capital, Kampala, to challenge the law just hours after it was signed.
LGBT is the English abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The variant LGBTQ is also often used. Other variants are LGBTQI or LGBTQIA+. Each letter represents one’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Effects felt even before signing
Just over a month ago, Museveni returned a first version of the law to parliament. He was concerned that the law might be legally vulnerable. In its original version, it would have criminalized homosexuals who voluntarily seek medical treatment. Parliament has now changed this aspect.
The effects were felt even before the signing, said Ugandan LGBT activist Sam Ganafa. Hospitals would turn away homosexuals, fearing government harassment. “It’s sad news. Our people have to hide again,” Ganafa told the German Press Agency.
German Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) said the law violated “fundamental human rights to which Uganda has committed itself and which are enshrined in the African Union Charter”. In its talks with the Ugandan government, the federal government made clear its rejection of the legislation and pointed out the damage to social cohesion and Uganda’s international reputation. “In addition to the blatant contempt for human dignity, the law also has an impact on the work of international partners on site, which we now have to examine together,” said Schulze.
Netherlands restrict development cooperation
In response, the Netherlands is restricting its support for the East African country. A 25 million euro grant for a rule of law program will be suspended, the ANP news agency reported. That was decided by Minister Liesje Schreinemacher, responsible for development cooperation.
“It’s appalling that Uganda is definitely opting for extreme anti-gay legislation,” she said. The Netherlands would continue to work actively to protect LGBT people in Uganda.
The Federal Foreign Office condemned the signing of the law – the “blatant violation” of human rights would be codified, the ministry wrote on Twitter. It violates international obligations and must be withdrawn.
Human rights group Amnesty International said the new law will further entrench discrimination, hatred and prejudice against LGBT people in Uganda.
The EU regrets signing the law, said a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. The Ugandan government has a duty to protect all of its citizens and uphold their fundamental rights. The EU will continue to work with the Ugandan authorities and civil society “to ensure that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, are treated equally, with dignity and respect.”
Biden calls for the law to be repealed
US President Joe Biden called for the “immediate repeal of the law”. Nobody should be exposed to constant fear for their life or violence and discrimination. Some Ugandans have already been evicted from their homes or laid off from their jobs. Now long prison sentences, violence and abuse threatened, according to Biden.
The US Security Council will reassess the law’s impact on all aspects of US engagement in Uganda, including the US President’s AIDS Contingency Plan and the Agoa Trade Agreement, which gave Uganda duty-free access for thousands of goods in the US -Market guaranteed. In addition, he is considering sanctions and travel restrictions to the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption, Biden said. According to its own statements, the US government invests almost 1 billion dollars (equivalent to around 933 million euros) in Uganda every year. Uganda’s progress in the fight against HIV is now in serious jeopardy, said the United Nations Program to Control the Immune Deficiency Disease AIDS (UNAIDS).
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.