Ugandan President to Sign Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today expressed deep concern over reports that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced that he will sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, which will have severely adverse consequences for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as well as other Ugandans. The bill, which was passed by the Ugandan parliament on December 20, calls for life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.”
“President Museveni has been studying this bill for many months, weighing the politics and hearing from world leaders about the serious impact its enactment would have on Uganda’s international status. There should be no doubt that Museveni’s latest words on the subject have been influenced by the reaction to similar legislation in Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere,” said Robyn Lieberman of Human Rights First. “President Obama should immediately publicly condemn this legislation and emphasize the negative consequences enactment of this law will have on Uganda’s relationship with the United States. He should also make it clear to President Museveni that he will take other measures in the relationship if this bill is signed, including diplomatic, economic, and multilateral actions. This is a matter of life and death for LGBT people in Uganda and beyond, and it demands the attention of this U.S. President who has been a stellar leader on LGBT issues in this country.”
The bill defines “aggravated homosexuality” as a homosexual act where one of the partners is infected with HIV, sex with minors or the disabled, and as repeated sexual offenses among consenting adults. The bill also includes a provision which makes conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony punishable by seven years in prison.
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill was first introduced in 2009, prompting a global outcry from those who condemned the legislation and affirmed the dignity and humanity of LGBT Ugandans. Human Rights First reiterates its categorical opposition to this bill which threatens the rights of LGBT people and establishes a dangerous precedent for persecution and violence against minority groups in the country. Human Rights First calls on the United States to urge President Museveni to decriminalize homosexuality, monitor patterns of hate crime against LGBT people, and address impunity for violent acts.