The United Nations and the NGO Amnesty International on Wednesday called on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to reject an anti-homosexuality law passed by parliament Tuesday night, calling it “appalling.
The Ugandan parliament voted in a turbulent session on Tuesday night to pass a law that would impose severe penalties on people who engage in homosexual relations.
MPs significantly amended the original text, which provided for up to 10 years in prison for anyone engaging in homosexual acts or claiming to be LGBTQ+, in a country where homosexuality was already illegal.
The extent of the new penalties under the law was not immediately known.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, called on Museveni on Wednesday not to enact the law.
“The passage of this discriminatory text -probably the worst of its kind in the world– is a deeply troubling development,” he said in a statement.
“If signed into law by the president, (this law) will make lesbians, gays and bisexuals criminals in Uganda simply by existing (…). It could give carte blanche to the systematic violation of almost all their human rights,” he added.
This ambiguous, vaguely worded law criminalizes even those who “promote” homosexuality,” Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty’s director for East and Southern Africa, said in a statement.
Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, an elected member of the National Resistance Movement, President Museveni’s party, spoke out against the text. The MP local media that under the final version of the legislation, offenders would face life imprisonment or even the death penalty for “aggravated” offences.
Amnesty said Museveni should “urgently veto this appalling law”, adding that it would “institutionalize discrimination, hatred and prejudice” against the LGBTQ+ community.