An anti-homosexuality bill introduced in Uganda’s parliament last Wednesday outlines several LGBT crimes and punishments. Anti-gay acts are already illegal in Uganda, but the bill will create more defined crime punishment if it passes.
An “aggravated homosexuality” crime punishable through death would be created. This refers to anyone engaging in same-sex relations with disabled people, individuals younger than 18 or if the person accused is HIV-positive. If passed, the bill would also make the “promotion of homosexuality” a crime, possibly resulting in up to seven years in prison. The promotion of homosexuality refers to publishing information or providing funds for LGBT activities. Gay and straight individuals can also be jailed for three years if he or she fails to report the identities of LGBT people within 24 hours.
Seventeen local and international human rights organizations have expressed opposition against the bill.
“This draft bill is clearly an attempt to divide and weaken civil society by striking at one of its most marginalized groups,” Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, said in a press release from the coalition of organizations.
Other organizations expressing concern against the bill include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the Uganda Feminist Forum and the World AIDS Campaign.
However, despite efforts, the bill is likely to still pass through Uganda’s parliament according to many.
“Members of parliament are overwhelmingly supporting this bill because homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and we have that clearly in the penal code,” John Otekat Emile, an independent member of Uganda’s parliament, said.
Emile said the bill is likely to pass.
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— Kim Brown