Uganda President ratifies Anti-Homosexuality Bill; MEPs: ‘Suspend political agreement with Uganda!’

Today the President of Uganda signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. The new law vastly expands the criminalisation of LGBTI individuals, and now forces parents, teachers and doctors to report LGBTI persons to authorities.Ugandan Flag

Under the Penal Code Act 1950, consensual sexual activity between same sex adults was already punishable by life imprisonment.

Apart from bolstering older anti-sodomy laws, the new law punishes persons keeping a house or rooms for the ‘purpose of homosexuality’ (i.e. landlords or parents of LGBTI persons) with a maximum of 7 years’ imprisonment.

The ‘promotion of homosexuality’ also becomes punishable by up to 7 years’ imprisonment. This will have severe consequences for human rights defenders, including heterosexual individuals.

Previous drafts of the bill included the death penalty for HIV-positive individuals, or ‘repeat offenders’. These ‘offences’ are now punishable with life imprisonment.

UNAIDS has warned that the criminalisation of homosexuality has severe negative consequences for HIV programmes, and public health generally.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup reacted: “I am appalled by the adoption of this bill which breaches the most fundamental right of all: the right to life.”

“I call upon EU Member States and the European Commission to start, as a matter of urgency, the procedure to suspend Uganda from the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement on the grounds of grave human rights violations.”

Olle Schmidt MEP, Member of the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the LGBT intergroup added: “This development is extremely dangerous and literally threatens the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. LGBT people should be able to live their lives without fear of arbitrary arrests and violence against them, simply for being who they are.”

“The EU and its Member States should use all their powers to push for decriminalisation, and should assure that all LGBT people have the right of asylum in the EU because of the discrimination they face at in their home countries.”

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