On June 1, President Yoweri Museveni, the autocratic and long-serving leader of the African nation of Uganda, signed what is considered one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws globally.
Some of the punishments in the new law for Uganda’s found breaking the law include a 20-year sentence, and capital punishment for repeat offenders and other individuals promoting homosexuality. The law also states that capital punishment will also be handed to individuals who transmit HIV-AIDS through gay sex and to individuals who have gay sex with a disabled person or a minor. The Anti-LGBTQ law in Uganda gives guidelines and penalties on same-sex relations.
Very quickly, the new law faced global opposition and condemnation prior to being signed by Museveni. But despite the opposition and worldwide condemnation, the bill became law.
Whether it is enforced is to be seen. Since the law was passed, I have been monitoring some of the reactions in Uganda, and the world, including reportage of the story by other media.
The United Nations (UN) Reacts
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR ) Volker Türk branded the law as “devastating” claiming that it violates Uganda’s human rights law.
In response, Chris Baryomunsi Uganda’s Information Minister argued that before the bill became law, they passed it. Baryomunsi also argued that homosexual acts are abnormal and accused the West of promoting them. While the law may raise human rights and freedom violation concerns around the world, it is important to also note that it is Uganda’s decision to make.
The United States (US) Reacts
After the bill became law the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the country was deeply troubled by the new law. In response, Blinken stated the US could consider restrictions on Ugandan officials’ visas. There is also fear that the United States could stop HIV/Aids support over the law. We could see Uganda face more sanctions by the US as well as the European Union. The sanctions could impact residents. However, whether they are to be effective remains to be seen.
According to Africa News, the law received mixed reactions, with some questioning whether it is a country’s priority. Other Ugandans feel that the law could strain the relationship with donor countries, hence the country will suffer consequences.
The current articles available are largely on interviews with individuals against the law. Concerns of the individuals are legitimate such as cutting off aid by donors among other sanctions. Additionally, we can agree that each society does have priorities, in the present moment however the parliament addressed the current issue.