Uganda’s anti-LGBT+ law may be back

Legal Updates

Warning – article includes reference to violent homophobia.

According to the Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo, the Ugandan government is intending to re-table the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, that threatened to become law five years ago.

Reuters news agency reports that the bill will be re-introduced in parliament in the coming weeks and is expected to be voted on before the end of the year. President Museveni is reported to support the bill – although his position has been unclear in the past – and the bill was only stopped from becoming law last time by a technicality.

If the bill is the same as its previous incarnation, repeat “offenders” could be sentenced to 14 years in prison, and not reporting someone for being gay and “promoting” homosexuality are made criminal offences. A previous version of the bill included the death penalty a punishment, hence why the bill is sometimes known as the “Kill the Gays” bill.

Uganda already has very repressive anti-LGBT+ laws, as ILGA’s latest State-Sponsored Homophobia report shows.

The existence of these homophobic laws (even in countries where they are not consistently enforced) gives encouragement to violent homophobia by communities and even family members. Enshrining homophobia in law means there is little chance of protection by the state from attacks and threats.

As talk of the reintroduction of this law increases, so does the risk of harm and even death to LGBT+ people in the country.

LGBT+ rights activist, Pepe Julian Onziema, told Reuters that three gay men and one transgender woman had been killed in homophobic attacks in Uganda this year. Pink News reported this week on a lesbian woman attacked while in hospital in Kampala. 

We agree with the call from the expert barrister S Chelvan, that removals/deportations to Uganda must cease immediately.


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