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(Nairobi) – Bill introduced in Uganda’s parliament is criminalizing Same-sex behavior and sexual and gender identity, if adopted, would violate several fundamental rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Among others, such a law would violate the rights to freedom of expression and privacy of association, equality and non-discrimination.

On March 9, 2023, Member of Parliament Asuman Basalirwa introduced the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Parliament. is a modified and more cocky version of Bill 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Actwhich strengthened existing prison sentences for same-sex conduct and outlawed “promoting homosexuality”, but was struck down by a court on procedural grounds.

“One of the most extreme features of this new bill is that it criminalises people for simply being who they are and at the same time violates the rights to privacy, and freedom of expression and association that are already in place in Uganda.” I have compromised,” said. oryem nyekoUganda researchers at Human Rights Watch, “Ugandan politicians should focus on passing laws that protect vulnerable minorities and affirm fundamental rights and stop targeting LGBT people for political capital. “

Like its predecessor, the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill expands on the criminalization of same-sex acts, including broad restrictions on acts such as touching another person “with the intent to commit an act of homosexuality”. Those found guilty of the “offence of homosexuality” could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

But the bill goes further than criminalizing anyone who “holds to be a lesbian, gay, transgender, a lesbian, or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.” , with a sentence of up to ten years in prison. Further, the Bill makes it an offense to “purport to contract a marriage with another person of the same sex”. The bill includes a prison sentence of up to five years for “promoting homosexuality”. It effectively declares all same-sex conduct as non-consensual.

Uganda’s penal code already punishes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, which has been interpreted as homosexual relations with a sentence of life in prison, although the provision, a colonial relic, is rarely enforced. Is. In Introducing the Bill, Basaliriva stated that its purpose was to “look at this colonial law and bring it in sync with the present situation.”

The re-introduction of an anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda follows months of hostile rhetoric against sexual and gender minorities by public figures, as well as a crackdown on LGBT-rights groups and other human rights groups, government critics and the government. civil society,

Uganda National Bureau for NGOs August 3, 2022 Restricted Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a major LGBT rights organization, due to not being officially registered with it. The government had previously refused to approve SMUG’s name – a requirement to register as a non-governmental organization – saying that a group that advocates for the rights and welfare of LGBT people was “undesirable and unregistered”.

January 1, 2023 draft report by bureau identified 26 NGOs, including SMUG, which were accused of “promoting homosexuality” and luring school children into homosexuality through “forced recruitment”. The report recommends barring any group identified as “promoting LGBTIQ activities” from operating, and suggests that individual activists be publicly profiled, to prevent any civil society involvement. can be prevented from

On 25 January, the parliamentary deputy speaker, Thomas Tyabwa, urged the Ministry of Internal Affairs to investigate the activities of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), an LGBT and sex-worker-rights group, Tyabwa alleged that the HRAPF easy to go A Kasese district bylaw that recognizes the need to protect key populations, including gender and sexual minorities, from HIV and tuberculosis, in keeping with Uganda’s own health policies to combat HIV/AIDS.

On 5 February, Major General Francis Takirwa, deputy commander of land forces in the Uganda Army, officiated the handover of a renovated community health facility call for gays to be out from receiving health services, saying, “Don’t use our health facilities to treat homosexuals.” On 24 February, the state sports minister, Peter Ogwang, called for the introduction of the death penalty for homosexual conduct.

The introduction of the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill is not the first time Parliament has attempted to re-criminalise homosexuality since the repeal of the 2014 Act. In 2021, Parliament Sexual Offenses Bill approved, which made any “sexual act between persons of the same sex” as well as anal sex between people of either sex a crime with up to 10 years in prison. On August 3, 2021, President Yoweri Museveni rejected the Sexual Offenses Bill and returned it to Parliament, saying it covered offenses already provided for in the Penal Code.

Human Rights Watch said that the continued criminalization of same-sex conduct and crackdown on sexual minorities in Uganda has had far-reaching effects. Inside Five months since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2013 LGBT people faced a significant increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion, loss of employment, evictions and homelessness, and scores fled the country.

“It is an all-too-familiar tactic of the Ugandan government to target a vulnerable minority and divert attention from a wider crackdown on rights groups,” Neko said, adding that the government’s efforts should raise alarm bells among civil society groups in Uganda. and the international community, as it signals the growing repression and stifling of opposition voices and civil society groups across the board.”

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