Ugandan president signs anti-LGBTQ law with death penalty for same-sex acts

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has sparked international outrage after signing one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws, including the death penalty for homosexual acts.

The new bill will impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for certain same-sex acts and up to 20 years in prison for “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex “activities”.

Anyone convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” will face a 14-year jail sentence.

Same-sex relations were already illegal in Uganda, as in more than 30 African countries, but the new law goes much further.

The speaker of the Ugandan parliament, Anita Among, on Monday confirmed that Mr Museveni had assented to the law passed by MPs in March.

She tweeted: “The president … has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Act. As the parliament of Uganda, we have answered the cries of our people. We have legislated to protect the sanctity of [the] family.”

Clare Byarugaba, a Ugandan rights activist, accused the Government of “state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia”.

“It's a very dark and sad day for the LGBTIQ community, our allies and all of Uganda,” she said.

Mr Museveni, 78, has previously called homosexuality a “devitation from normal”.

The White House condemned the bill passed in March, and last month, the US government said it was assessing the implications of the legislation for activities in Uganda under PEPFAR, its flagship HIV/AIDS programme.

In a joint statement on Monday, PEPFAR, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said the law put Uganda’s anti-HIV fight “in grave jeopardy”.

The European Union reiterated a condemnation from March while the United Nations human rights body said the law was a recipe for systematic violation of Ugandans' rights.

“We are appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law,” it tweeted.