Ugandans who identify as LGBT now face the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in prison due to the parliament’s adoption of a new law to crack down on gay activity.
In some cases, it also entails the death penalty. A rights activist told the BBC that she was concerned about additional attacks on LGBT individuals as a result of the debate over the bill.
Although Uganda already forbids gay behavior, this measure creates a number of additional offenses.
In addition to making it illegal for someone to merely self-identify as gay for the first time, friends, family, and community members would be accountable for informing the police about persons in same-sex relationships.
It was endorsed by a large majority in Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday night.
“This deeply repressive legislation will institutionalize discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people – including those who are perceived to be LGBTI – and block the legitimate work of civil society, public health professionals, and community leaders,” said Tigere Chagutah, director of Amnesty International for East and Southern Africa.
Although the final version of the anti-gay legislation in Uganda has not yet been made public, parts that have been discussed in parliament include:
- A person who is convicted of grooming or trafficking children for the purpose of engaging them in homosexual activities faces life in prison
- Individuals or institutions which support or fund LGBT rights activities or organisations, or publish, broadcast and distribute pro-gay media material and literature, also face prosecution and imprisonment
- Media groups, journalists and publishers face prosecution and imprisonment for publishing, broadcasting, distributing of any content that advocates for gay rights or “promotes homosexuality”
- Death penalty for what is described as “aggravated homosexuality”, that is sexual abuse of a child, a person with a disability or vulnerable people, or in cases where a victim of homosexual assault is infected with a life-long illness
- Property owners also face the risk of being jailed if their premises are used as a “brothel” for homosexual acts or any other sexual minorities rights activities