Ugandan lawmakers overwhelmingly supported the anti-LGBTI+ bill, with only two of nearly 400 representatives voting against it. The bill adds the death penalty and life in prison for homosexual acts as well as “recruitment, promotion, and funding” of same-sex “activities.”
Ugandan humanists are quick to note that this bill “only puts LGBTI+ people in a more vulnerable situation” and has “taken us a hundred steps back” in the campaign to ensure the rights of LGBTI+ people are protected in the country.
Kamugasha Louis, Executive Director of Freedom Centre Uganda, commented:
“It is unfortunate that the Ugandan parliament on 21 March approved one of the world’s harshest anti-gay (LGBTI+) laws, making some crimes punishable by death and imprisoning up to 20 years in prison for people identifying as LGBTQ+. In Uganda, a largely conservative Christian country, homosexual sex is already punishable by life imprisonment. Human rights are universal and no person should be persecuted because of who they choose to love. This legislation not only makes LGBTI+ people more vulnerable to physical and sexual assault, blackmail, extortion, and discrimination but also the legislation downplays achievements the country has gained in combating HIV/AIDS. The legislation also threatens international and diplomatic cooperation. There is a need to stand with our LGBTI+ friends in these trying moments.”
Viola Namyalo, chairperson of HALEA, added:
“I feel incredibly bad for the LGBTI+ community in Uganda. We are back to zero! The president, members of parliament, and most people in Uganda still don’t understand homosexuality at all. With this bill, it’s worse than it’s ever been. The members of parliament define homosexuality as anyone who defends, promotes, protects, and defends LGBTI+ rights. They [spread the harmful idea that children are at risk of being ‘recruited’ to the LGBTI+ community].
“This all shows how shallow-minded our politicians are. It hurts to know that the bridge to enlightenment has been destroyed. Uganda is now a danger zone to my LGBTI+ brothers and sisters and to all of us who defend LGBTI+ rights.”
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