Uganda abti-LGBTQ laws

Wednesday saw a surge in demands for Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni to veto what he had previously described as an "appalling" anti-gay measure. These requests were led by the United Nations and the United States.

Ugandan MPs finally passed the Anti-LGBTQ Act on Tuesday, after a busy and almost seven-hour session. The law calls for harsh punishments for anyone who engages in promiscuity with people of the same gender.

It wasn't clear what the new punishments were, but there were rumours that some of the people responsible could get life in prison or even be put to death. Gay marriage was already illegal in Uganda, and it was not exactly evident what new punitive measures had been agreed upon.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, encouraged President Museveni not to sign the measure into law so that it may be amended.

The passage of this discriminatory measure, which is undoubtedly the most harmful of its type in the world, is a very worrying development, he said in a statement. "The passing of this bigoted bill is an extremely disturbing move," he added.

"Lesbians, gays, and others in Uganda would be considered traitors just for surviving and for being who they are if this bill were to be passed and brought into law by the president." "It might serve to agitate people against one another and offer carte blanche for the systematic violation of practically all of their human rights."

Amnesty International asked President Museveni to do the same thing, telling him that the "appalling" law was a "grave attack" on LGBTQ people.

According to Tigere Chagutah, the head of Amnesty International's operations in eastern and southern Africa, "this confusing, weakly written legislation also specifically bans people who 'encourage' LGBTQ."

Major portions of the first text of the law were revised by legislators, and with the exception of one, all of them spoke in favour of the measure.

According to MP Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, a member of Museveni's National Resistance Movement party who spoke out against the measure, perpetrators would be faced with the likelihood of life imprisonment or perhaps the death sentence for "aggravated" offences if the bill were to become law.

Amnesty International has said that President Museveni "must promptly reject this dreadful law," as it would "formalize discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice" against the LGBTQ population if it is allowed to pass.

Whenever the law has been talked about in parliament, homophobic language has been used. Just last week, President Museveni called LGBT people "deviants."

Despite this, the senior leader, who is 78 years old, has made it clear that he does not consider this problem to be a priority. Instead, he would like to have excellent ties with Western donors and investors.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined the chorus of voices urging the government to rethink the legislation, stating on Twitter that it would "undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS." Blinken's comments came in response to calls for the government to reconsider the legislation.

Andrew Mitchell, Britain's minister for Africa, said he was "deeply disappointed" by the bill's passing, and Nicholas Herbert, a special envoy for LGBTQ rights appointed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said it could lead to more "discrimination and persecution of people across Uganda."Mitchell expressed his disappointment in the bill's passage.

Herbert said on Twitter that "although many nations, including a number on the African continent, are heading towards decriminalization, this is a terribly disturbing move in the other direction."

Angola, Botswana, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Rwanda, and Seychelles are among the countries in which LGBTQ acts are either illegal or have been decriminalized.

The fact that Uganda is so notoriously intolerant of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is one of the reasons why the approval of this measure was celebrated by some.

"As citizens of Uganda, we take great pride in our country. Our society does not embrace gays, lesbianism, or any other LGBTQ identity. We are unable to, "said one local resident, 54-year-old Abdu Mukasa.

"God is the one who fashioned us. Both men and women were created by God. In addition to this, we are unable to let one gender go on the same gender."

During the British colonial rule of Uganda, being LGBTQ was a crime. However, since Uganda gained its independence from Britain in 1962, no one has been found guilty of consensual same-sex behaviour.

In 2014, the Ugandan parliament approved a measure that called for those discovered engaging in LGBTQ activity to be sentenced to life in prison.

Later, a court ruled that the law was unconstitutional because of technicality. However, by that time, it had already been criticized around the world, and as a result, several Western countries stopped or changed millions of dollars in government aid.

The police said a week ago that they had detained six males in the lakeside town of Jinja, located in the south of Uganda, for "practising LGBT."

According to the police, six other guys were taken into custody on Sunday and charged with the same crime.

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