Uganda considers criminalizing LGBTQ+ people for ‘being who they are’
Uganda’s Parliament has introduced startling new legislation – and the name says it all, the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Lawmakers introduced the law on Thursday, which human rights experts say violates several fundamental rights and freedoms.
More than 30 African nations already have laws on the books (usually the artifacts of colonial rule) banning same-sex relationships.
But according to Human Rights Watch, the private law, if passed, would be the first on the continent to ban mere identification as LGBTQ+.
A previous bill included in a motion last month foreshadows what’s to come: It makes it clear that being LGBTQ+ is a “creeping evil” to stamp out to “protect children and young people who are are vulnerable to sexual abuse”.
Same-sex acts are already illegal in Uganda and carry life imprisonment.
But the bill would expand this, such as B. “Touching” persons of the same sex “with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality”.
By considering all same-sex sexual acts non-consensual, the proposals would allow “victims” to seek compensation for the “mental harm” caused.
It also makes it clear that simply “holding out as” LGBTQ+ is now punishable by up to a decade in prison.
The bill would enforce mandatory HIV testing if someone is convicted of “serious homosexuality” and impose five years on those who “promote homosexuality”.
Five years in prison is also the fate of those who “pretend to enter into marriage with another person of the same sex”.
The law, introduced by Justice Forum MP Asuman Basalirwa, would even sentence a landlord who rents a property to an LGBTQ+ person to jail.
Oryem Nyeko, Uganda researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “One of the most extreme features of this new draft law is that it criminalizes people simply for being who they are, further violating the right to privacy and freedom of expression already compromised in Uganda.
“Ugandian politicians should focus on passing legislation that protects vulnerable minorities and upholds fundamental rights, and stop targeting LGBT people for political capital.”
The proposal is similar to an earlier bill of the same name, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2014, which wanted to introduce the death penalty for gay sex and criminalize being a lesbian.
But after encountering widespread international criticism, the Ugandan Constitutional Court overturned the law on procedural grounds.
Parliament Speaker Anita Among read the successor to the 2014 bill from the House before sending it to the committee for consideration and a public hearing on Thursday.
“Let the public come to voice their views – including homos – allow them to come,” Among said.
But to MPs, she said: “This is the time when you will show us whether you are gay or not.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/11/uganda-considers-criminalising-lgbtq-people-for-being-who-they-are-18424239/ Uganda considers criminalizing LGBTQ+ people for 'being who they are'