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Uganda enacts controversial law punishing same-sex relationships

The president of Uganda promulgated this Monday a controversial law against the LGBT community which includes harsh penalties for relationships between people of the same sex, a rule widely criticized by Western governments and described as one of the most repressive in the world.

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“The president approved the anti-homosexuality bill 2023″announced the office of the president, Yoweri Museveniin a brief statement on his Twitter account.

The law, lashed by the UN and countries like state Joined, was approved on March 21 in Parliament. The legislators defended the norm affirming that these measures protect the national culture and its values.

The promulgation stoked the fears unleashed in the first readings, during which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turkqualified the text as “discriminatory”.

He high commissioner expressed this Monday hisconsternation“for the enactment of this legislation”draconian”, further stating that “it is contrary to the Constitution and international treaties” and opens ways for there to be “systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people”.

At the end of April, the president Museveni He asked parliamentarians to re-examine the text, urging them to specify that it is not a crime to “be homosexual”, but that relationships between people of the same gender are penalized.

The amendment clarified that sexual orientation will not be a crime, but the “acts”, which can be punished, even with life imprisonment.

Although Museveni advised legislators to eliminate a provision that penalizes “aggravated homosexuality”, the parliamentarians maintained this article that implies that repeat offenders can even be sentenced to death.

Homosexuality is penalized in Uganda since the laws that governed during colonization, but since independence in 1962 there has never been a conviction for consensual sexual acts between people of the same gender.

The legislation enjoys broad support from public opinion in Ugandaa mostly Christian country, where people are very religious and the LGBT community suffers a lot of discrimination.

The debate on the law in Parliament was marked by the use of homophobic insults and the president himself referred to people who are attracted to others of the same gender as “perverts.”

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“Defend the culture”

The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Amongheld this Monday for the promulgation of the text.

“As Parliament of Ugandawe took into account the concerns of our people and legislated to protect the sacredness of the family (…) We stood firm to defend the culture, values ​​and aspirations of our people”, he stated.

The law states that organizations that are accused of encouraging same-sex relationships can be banned for ten years.

The reactions of civil society have been silenced in a country where Museveni has ruled with an iron fist since 1986.

But internationally, the bill sparked outrage.

After the first vote, on March 21, the Home White warned the government of Uganda of possible economic repercussions if the law went into effect.

During its processing, this rule was also condemned by the European Union (EU) and the UK.

The law was also criticized during its debate by Amnesty International, which described it as “deeply repressive.”

The law also generates fears between the humanitarian organizations.

“The progress of Uganda in his fight against HIV is seriously compromisedsaid in a statement three organizations including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the US agency USAID.

Source: Elcomercio

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