Ugandan bill threatens jail for saying you’re gay

Kampala: Uganda’s parliament is set to consider a draft law introduced in Uganda’s Parliament criminalizing same-sex conduct and sexual and gender identity.

According to the provisions of the bill, it criminalises same-sex conduct, and sexual and gender identity and threatens persons with 10 years in jail.

The bill also threatens landlords who rent premises to gay people with a prison sentence.

Asuman Basalirwa, a member of parliament, introduced the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Parliament on Thursday. The bill is a revised and more egregious version of the 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act, which reinforced existing prison sentences for same-sex conduct and outlawed the “promotion of homosexuality,” but was struck down by a court on procedural grounds.

However, responding to the development, Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the bill introduced in Uganda’s Parliament criminalizing same-sex conduct and sexual and gender identity, if adopted, would violate multiple fundamental rights.

Among others, such a law would violate the rights to freedom of expression and association privacy, equality, and nondiscrimination, it said.

Speaker Annet Anita Among reportedly used homophobic language as she addressed lawmakers after the bill was tabled.

It is the latest sign of rising homophobia in a country where homosexual acts are already illegal. Uganda’s constitutional court nullified the Anti-Homosexuality Act In 2014, which had toughened laws against the LGBTQ+ community.

The punishment of life imprisonment for same-sex relations already exists in the country’s penal code. It is not clear if the proposed new legislation would override this.

More than 30 African countries ban same-sex relations, but Uganda’s law, if passed, would appear to be the first to criminalise merely identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), according to Human Rights Watch.

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