New Bill in Uganda Criminalizes LGBT Behavior with Death Penalty & Minimum Life Sentences

New Bill in Uganda Criminalizes LGBT Behavior with Death Penalty & Minimum Life Sentences

Uganda is a country in East Africa that has been in the spotlight over the past few years for its controversial legislation regarding LGBT rights. On December 20, 2019, the Ugandan parliament passed a bill called the “Sexual Offences Bill,” which criminalizes same-sex relationships and gender non-conforming behavior. This bill imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes same-sex sexual activity with a person under the age of 18, a disabled person, or while being HIV-positive. The bill also imposes a life sentence for same-sex sexual activity and a 5-7 year jail sentence for individuals who “promote” homosexuality, which could include providing information, resources, or support to the LGBT community. This new Uganda LGBT bill comes with much support as well as criticism from both sides.

Now, the Ugandan parliament has extended the “Sexual Offences Bill,” which now criminalizes same-sex relationships and gender non-conforming behavior to a higher degree. Violators can now be put to death to promoting or participating in any type of LGBT activities.

This legislation, although mostly supported in not only, the country, but also by most Africans and by the Ugandan parliament has been widely criticized by some human rights groups and the international community. Many argue that it violates basic human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and the right to be free from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Furthermore, it perpetuates the stigmatization, discrimination, and violence that many LGBT individuals already face in Uganda and around the world.

This is not the first time Uganda has attempted to pass such a bill. In 2014, a similar bill was introduced but later invalidated by the Ugandan Constitutional Court on a technicality. This caused the Ugandan parliament to come at this issue harder in a much more strategic manner to have it pass. Hence, the success and support of this this new Uganda LGBT bill.

The situation in Uganda is not unique. Many countries around the world criminalize same-sex relationships and gender non-conforming behavior. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), as of 2021, there are 70 countries where same-sex sexual activity is illegal. In some of these countries, individuals can face the death penalty for same-sex sexual activity.

However some in Uganda are claiming that the criminalization of LGBT identities and behavior is a violation of human rights. It perpetuates stigma, discrimination, and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. It also limits the ability of LGBT individuals to access basic services and resources, including healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.

Many organizations, including ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay Association) and Amnesty International, have called on the Ugandan government to repeal the Sexual Offences Bill and respect the human rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These organizations also provide support to LGBT individuals in Uganda and other countries where their rights are at risk.
>> New Uganda LGBT Bill Criminalizes LGBT Behavior with Death Penalty

Several countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have expressed concern over the bill and urged the Ugandan government to respect the human rights of LGBT individuals. The European Union has also suspended funding to Uganda over its human rights record, including its treatment of LGBT individuals.

The situation in Uganda also highlights the intersectionality of LGBTQ+ rights with other social justice issues. Most of the world does not support, or in this case tollerate, anything associated with LGBT. LGBT individuals in Uganda and other countries often face discrimination and violence based on aspects of their identity.

In conclusion, the passing of this new Uganda LGBT bill, The Sexual Offences Bill, is a step backward for LGBTQ+ progress. It perpetuates discrimination, stigma, and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals and limits their access to basic services and resources. However, some organizations within Uganda are fighting for LGBT rights and advocating for the repeal of the bill. It is important to respect the cultures and customs of a country who strictly forbids certain acts within their country. Every individual deserves to live free from discrimination, regardless of their sexual orientation, in a country where it is not illegal.