Prime Minister of Uganda signs Anti-Homosexuality Bill into Law

Gay Rights in Africa Map

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was signed into law today by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

  • It will extend the existing penalty of life imprisonment for gay sex to all other same-sex behaviour. This therefore could include the mere touching of another person of the same sex with the intent to have a homosexual relationship
  •  Contracting a same-sex marriage will be punishable by life imprisonment
  • ‘Promoting’ homosexuality and ‘aiding and abetting’ others to commit homosexual acts will be punishable by 5-7 years in jail. These new penalties are likely to be used against those who are involved in LGBT organisations, including volunteers that provide counselling of LGBT persons and provide them with condoms and safe sex advice
  • A person in authority who fails to report the breaking of these laws to the police within 24 hours will be sentenced to three years in jail
  • The new legislation also means that Ugandan citizens or foreign residents of Uganda who break these laws while abroad – even in countries where same-sex activity is legal – will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda

The bill, submitted by Member of Parliament David Bahati in October 2009, had been condemned world-wide with US President Barack Obama calling it “odious”. It also originally proposed the death penalty in circumstances where minors were involved – this has been replaced by life imprisonment. Over one million people had signed a petition calling for the Ugandan government to drop the law entirely.

Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands have already cut aid to Uganda following the singing of this bill. Instead, they will redirecting money to human rights groups instead of the government. In doing this, their foreign aid won’t be spent on the persecution of LGBT people. Britain had already withdrawn its aid to the government last year, in response to Uganda’s homophobic government.

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