Sunday, 17 November

Uganda plans bill imposing death penalty for gay sex

World News
UGANDA LGBT

Uganda announced plans on Thursday for a bill that would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, saying the legislation would curb a rise in unnatural sex in the East African nation.

The bill - colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda - was nullified five years ago on a technicality and the government said it plans to resurrect it within weeks.

“Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that,” Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act. We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”

African countries have some of the world’s most prohibitive laws governing homosexuality. Same-sex relationships are considered taboo and gay sex is a crime across most of the continent, with punishments ranging from imprisonment to death.

Earlier this year, Brunei sparked international outcry over plans to impose the death penalty for gay sex, backtracking only after intense criticism.

Now Uganda wants to follow suit.

Lokodo said the bill, which is supported by President Yoweri Museveni, will be re-introduced in parliament in the coming weeks and is expected to be voted on before the end of the year.

He was optimistic it would pass with the necessary two-thirds of members present - a shortfall in numbers killed a similar bill in 2014 - as the government had lobbied legislators ahead of its re-introduction, Lokodo added.

“We have been talking to the MPs and we have mobilised them in big numbers,” said Lokodo. “Many are supportive.”

Uganda’s constitutional court overturned the law - formerly known as the “Kill the Gays” bill because it includes the death penalty - on a technicality in 2014.

Even without it, Uganda is one of the hardest countries in Africa to be a sexual minority. Under British colonial law, gay sex is punishable with up to life imprisonment and activists said the new bill risked unleashing attacks.

“Bringing back anti-gay legislation would invariably lead to a spike in discrimination and atrocities,” said Zahra Mohamed of the Toronto-based charity Stephen Lewis Foundation.

FEARFUL

Moves to restrict LGBT+ rights and criminalise gay sex in other countries have sparked protests and sanctions.

Source: Reuters