Anti-gay law in Uganda: One of the “worst of its kind in the world”

Status: 03/22/2023 5:06 p.m

Homosexuals have been persecuted in Uganda for a long time, but now parliament has tightened the laws even further – the death penalty should now also be possible. Gay and trans people are scared. Sharp criticism comes from the UN.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk has sharply criticized a new anti-gay law in Uganda and has urged the country’s president not to sign it. Türk described the law as one of the “worst of its kind in the world”. It could be carte blanche for the “systematic violation” of almost all human rights of lesbian, gay or trans people.

Imprisonment and death penalties for homosexuals and helpers

The law provides for the death penalty for homosexuals guilty of “serious” crimes. The parliamentarians did not define what offenses these should be.

The draft provided for up to ten years in prison for same-sex relationships. People who knowingly harbor, provide medical care or legal assistance to homosexual people can also be sentenced to up to ten years in prison.

Parliament approved the bill on Tuesday evening after a heated six-hour session and tightened it further: The death penalty was not included in the original bill and was only included during the debate. A parliamentarian called for homosexuals to be castrated or sterilized.

President wants to sign law

Only a few MEPs objected. One of them, Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, was hissed at. Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, now has 60 days to sign the law or request changes from Parliament.

However, he had already signaled his goodwill and described criticism as a provocation from the West: “Nobody hunts homosexuals here. But the Western countries want us to celebrate homosexuality. Then we have to strike back.”

Trans people and homosexuals in fear

Representatives of the LGBTQ community called for even greater caution. Sam Ganafa, head of Ugandan gay rights group Spectrum, said: “Everyone is calling for our persecution. Members of the Muslim faith are even calling for our deaths.” Homosexuals are already losing their jobs or homes, but now the attacks are on the rise, he warns.

A 23-year-old trans woman told the dpa news agency: “With this law, we have no choice but fear and danger. The best way is to leave this country.”

Uganda is no exception

Hate speech against homosexuals is not only the order of the day in Uganda. In almost all East African countries, homosexuals face imprisonment, in Somalia even the death penalty. In the eyes of many, homosexuality does not fit with traditional moral concepts, which are often Christian or Muslim. In addition, African politicians have repeatedly claimed that homosexuality is a Western ideology that should be foisted on Africa.

With information from Antje Diekhans, ARD Studio Nairobi

Parliament in Uganda passes law against homosexuals and transsexuals

Antje Diekhans, ARD Nairobi, 22.3.2023 4:33 p.m

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