Uganda continues to persecute LGBTQ people
The persecution of LGBTQ people in Uganda continues – new legislation has now been passed that criminalises same-sex relationships.
The punishment if convicted is 10 years’ imprisonment.
“This bill consolidates all laws relating to sexual offences in Uganda…” said Monicah Amoding, the MP who proposed the bill, said. We are hoping that the bill is going to help us in the prevention of sexual violence, enhance punishment for sexual offenders and protection of victims during trials.”
Frank Mugisha, director at Sexual Minorities Uganda, is one of the leading voices of Uganda’s LGBTQ community. Mugisha highlighted the damage that this new legislation will do to the country’s queer people.
“It is unfortunate that the parliament of Uganda is obsessed with legislating around people’s private lives…” said Mugisha. “Such legislation is very hard to enforce. This will only increase the vulnerability of LGBT persons. This is yet another law that will be used by law enforcers to harass, blackmail and arrest LGBT persons. I also do not see the need, since same-sex relations are already criminalised in our penal code.”
These latest laws against LGBTQ people are part of an ongoing trend in Uganda. In 2014, an attempt to make some homosexual acts punishable by death was declared invalid by a constitutional court.
Why is it illegal to be gay in Uganda?
The criminalisation of same-sex sexual activity is a hang-over from British colonial rule, however – following independence – that criminalisation was enshrined in Uganda’s penal code in 1950.
The maximum penalty for same-sex sexual activity is life imprisonment.
There are no protections against discrimination based on sexuality, and there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.
A 2005 amendment to the constitution strengthened the position against recognition of same-sex couples by explicitly prohibiting same-sex marriage.