Uganda enacts controversial law that punishes homosexual relations – El Sol de México

The president of Uganda promulgated a controversial law against the LGBT community on Monday that includes harsh penalties for relationships between people of the same sex, a law widely criticized by Western governments and described as one of the most repressive in the world.

“The president approved the bill against homosexuality 2023,” announced the office of the president, Yoweri Museveni.

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The law, criticized by the UN and countries like the United States, was approved on March 21 in Parliament. The legislators defended the norm affirming that these measures protect the national culture and its values.

The promulgation stoked the fears unleashed in the first readings, during which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, described the text as “discriminatory”.

The High Commissioner expressed his “dismay” on Monday at the promulgation of this “draconian” legislation, further stating that “it is contrary to the Constitution and international treaties” and opens the way for “systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people “.

At the end of April, President Museveni asked parliamentarians to re-examine the text, urging them to specify that “being homosexual” is not a crime, but that relationships between people of the same gender are criminalized.

The amendment clarified that sexual orientation will not be a crime, but “acts”, which can be punished, even with life imprisonment.

Despite the fact that Museveni advised legislators to eliminate a provision that penalizes “aggravated homosexuality”, the parliamentarians maintained this article, which implies that repeat offenders can even be sentenced to death.

Homosexuality has been criminalized in Uganda since the laws that governed during colonization, but since independence in 1962 there has never been a conviction for consensual sexual acts between people of the same gender.

The legislation enjoys broad public support in Uganda, a largely Christian country, where people are highly religious and the LGBT community suffers much discrimination.

The debate on the law in Parliament was marked by the use of homophobic insults and the president himself referred to people who are attracted to others of the same gender as “perverts”.

Law sparks outrage

The president of Parliament, Anita Among, celebrated this Monday for the promulgation of the text.

“As the Parliament of Uganda, we took into account the concerns of our people and legislated to protect the sanctity of the family (…) We stood firm to defend the culture, values ​​and aspirations of our people,” he said.

The law states that organizations that are accused of encouraging same-sex relationships can be banned for ten years.

The reactions of civil society have been muted in a country where Museveni has ruled with an iron fist since 1986.

But internationally, the bill sparked outrage.

After the first vote, on March 21, the White House warned the Ugandan government of possible economic repercussions if the law went into effect.

During its processing, this regulation was also condemned by the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom.

The law was also criticized during its debate by Amnesty International, which described it as “deeply repressive.”

The law also generates fears among humanitarian organizations.

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“Uganda’s progress in its fight against HIV is seriously compromised,” three organizations including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the US agency USAID said in a statement.

2023-05-29 13:34:25
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