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UN urges Ugandan president not to sign anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law

UN urges Ugandan president not to sign anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law – The United Nations has called on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to refrain from signing a proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law, which was passed by the country’s parliament on March 21. The bill would make it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+ and carry a possible 20-year jail sentence. Those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” could face the death penalty, while allies of the community could be imprisoned for up to five years for failing to report same-sex relationships. The following is a summary of the UN’s concerns.

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Serious implications

Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has described the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as “probably among the worst of its kind in the world”. The UN fears that if signed into law, the legislation could lead to “systemic violation” of the human rights of all LGBTQ+ people, as well as eroding progress made over many years. It has urged President Museveni not to sign the bill, warning of serious repercussions for society as a whole.

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Negative impacts on society

Türk has also warned that the bill could lead to people being pitted against each other and confuse consensual and non-consensual relations. He argued that consensual relations should never be criminalised, and called for evidence-based measures to end sexual violence in all its forms. The bill, Türk added, could be a distraction from necessary action to address sexual violence.

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Contradictions with Ugandan constitution and international law

The bill also goes against Uganda’s constitution, which contains provisions on equality and non-discrimination, as well as the country’s obligations under international legal human rights and sustainable development agreements. Türk has emphasised that promoting violence and discrimination against people for their sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable, and any attempts to justify it on the basis of “values” should be condemned.

Disingenuous justifications

When the bill was introduced, some MPs argued that it was necessary to protect the country’s culture and traditional family values. However, Türk has described such justifications as “disingenuous”, and highlighted the need to respect the rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Limited opposition in parliament

The bill was passed by a large majority in Uganda’s parliament, with only two MPs opposing it. Some MPs made particularly extreme statements, including one who suggested that gay men be castrated and that life imprisonment was not a sufficient penalty.

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Conclusion

The UN has urged President Museveni to veto the bill, arguing that its passage would have serious negative repercussions for LGBTQ+ people and society as a whole.

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