US President JoeBiden
has threatened to cut aid totaling up to $1 billion per year after
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni assented to the Anti-Homosexuality
Bill, 2023. The new law calls for up to 20 years in prison for promoting
homosexuality and life imprisonment for anyone convicted of
The law also imposes the death penalty
for what it calls “aggravated homosexuality.” This includes having sex
with people categorized as vulnerable, including the elderly and
Ugandan who does not report such cases is liable on conviction to spend
five years in prison or pay a fine of Shs 10 million. Journalists and
other media figures, on the other hand, face five years in prison if
they disclose the identity of a victim of a homosexual act without the
authority of the court or that person.
Below is Biden's full statement
The enactment of Uganda’s
Anti-Homosexuality Act is a tragic violation of universal human
rights—one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that
jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire
I join with people around the
world—including many in Uganda—in calling for its immediate repeal. No
one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being
subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong.
Since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was
introduced, reports of violence and discrimination targeting Ugandans
who are or are perceived to be LGBTQI+ are on the rise.
Innocent Ugandans now fear going to
hospitals, clinics, or other establishments to receive life-saving
medical care lest they be targeted by hateful reprisals. Some have been
evicted from their homes or fired from their jobs. And the prospect of
graver threats—including lengthy prison sentences, violence,
abuse—threatens any number of Ugandans who want nothing more than to
live their lives in safety and freedom.
This shameful Act is the latest
development in an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption
in Uganda. The dangers posed by this democratic backsliding are a
threat to everyone residing in Uganda, including US government
personnel, the staff of our implementing partners, tourists, members of
the business community, and others.
As such, I have directed my National
Security Council to evaluate the implications of this law on all aspects
of U.S. engagement with Uganda, including our ability to safely deliver
services under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
(PEPFAR) and other forms of assistance and investments.
My Administration will also incorporate
the impacts of the law into our review of Uganda’s eligibility for the
African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). And we are considering
additional steps, including the application of sanctions and restriction
of entry into the United States against anyone involved in serious
human rights abuses or corruption.
The United States shares a deep and
committed partnership with the people of Uganda. For more than 60
years, we have worked together to help millions of Ugandans live
healthier, more productive lives.
Our programs have boosted economic
growth and agricultural productivity, increased investments in Ugandan
businesses, and strengthened our trade cooperation. In total, the US
Government invests nearly $1 billion annually in Uganda’s people,
business, institutions, and military to advance our common agenda.
The scale of our commitments speaks to
the value we place on this partnership—and our faith in the people of
Uganda to build for themselves a better future. It is my sincere hope
that we can continue to build on this progress, together, and strengthen
protections for the human rights of people everywhere.
Activists petition court to nullify newly signed anti-homosexuality law
A group of
11 activists has petitioned the Constitutional court challenging the new
anti-homosexuality law just hours after it was signed by President
include Prof Sylvia Tamale, Fox Odoi Oywelowo (West Budama County MP),
Dr Busingye Kabumba, a lecturer of Law at Makerere University, Andrew
Mwenda, the proprietor of the Independent News Magazine, Solome
Nakaweesi Kimbugwe, a Pan Africanist feminist and activist and Dr Frank
Mugisha, coordinator of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
are; Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, former executive director of Freedom
and Roam Uganda (FARUG), Richard Smith Luthimbo, the executive director
of Uganda Key Populations Consortium (UKPC), Eric Ndawula, a human
rights activist and Williams Apako, the executive director of Tranz
Network Uganda and Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HPRAF)
headed by lawyer Adrian Jjuuko.
The law imposes capital punishments on
same-sex relations including life imprisonment and death sentence. The
law which is largely targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
queer people also criminalizes the behaviour including having gay sex
when HIV-positive, and stipulates a 20-year sentence for “promoting”
In their petition filed yesterday Monday,
the petitioners through their lawyers led by Dr Adrian Jjuuko said that
they are challenging the new law for falling short of the required
procedure by failing to include public voices and participation.
act was passed without adequate and meaningful public participation.
When they are making laws, the public really has to be involved
especially the people who are concerned. But we saw during the hearings
of the committee and during when the discussions that not even a single
LGBT person was basically before the committee to have their views heard
and [yet] this is the law that affects them directly. We're also
challenging the law because during the 2nd and 3rd readings on March
21st and May 7th of 2023, the speaker's conduct clearly showed bias. The
speaker clearly made statements that showed that she was in favour of
passing this law and yet the speaker is supposed to be basically
impartial when handling parliamentary sessions," said Jjuuko.
argue that the enactment of the Anti-homosexuality Act 2023 by the 11th
parliament on May 2nd 2023 without meaningful and adequate public
participation is unconstitutional and contrary to the national
objectives and principles of state policy enshrined in the Constitution.
further contend that by making it an offence for any person to allow or
lease or sublease premises to be used for purposes of homosexuality or
activities that encourage homosexuality is inconsistent and in
contravention of the principle of legality. Further, they argue that
criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity among adults in
private contravenes the right to equality and non-discrimination, right
to dignity, right to liberty, and the right to privacy.
petitioners further contend that sections 11(1) and 2(b) of the
Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 by criminalizing the publication,
communication or distribution of any material that promotes or
encourages homosexuality is in contravention of the principle of
legality, freedoms of speech and expression, freedoms of thought,
conscience and belief including academic freedom, the right to impart
and access and receive information.
Also, that section 12 of the
Anti-Homosexuality Act by prohibiting and disqualifying persons
convicted of an offence of homosexuality from employment is in
contravention of the right to practice one's profession or carry on
lawful trade, right to equality and nondiscrimination.
petitioners now want the entire act nullified for having been passed and
enacted in breach of parliamentary procedure and in the alternative
some of the sections complained of also declared null and avoid.
are also seeking a permanent injunction restraining the attorney
general who has been listed as the only respondent to the case and any
of the government agents from implementing provisions of the act.
attorney general is yet to be summoned to file his defense before this
petition can be heard by the panel of five Constitutional court
In 2014, the Constitutional court struck down the
previous anti-homosexuality law on procedural grounds after finding that
the parliament had passed it without the required quorum.
to the nullification, some Western governments had suspended some aid,
imposed visa restrictions and curtailed security cooperation with the
Museveni finally assents to Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023
President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has finally signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act, a highly
contentious piece of legislation, has been a subject of intense
discussion and lobbying both within and outside Uganda. Last month,
Museveni returned the bill for review, especially in regard to clear
definition between homosexuality and acts of homosexuality.
Museveni said it was wrong for the
original bill to punish a homosexual or reformed homosexual who wasn't
involved in the promotion or acts of homosexuality.
The new Act doesn't criminalise anyone
who identifies as homosexual, but mandates life in prison for anyone who
engages in homosexual acts, up to 20 years for promoting homosexuality,
and a three-year sentence for children convicted of homosexuality while
certain acts of gay sex could warrant the death penalty.
The speaker of parliament, Anita Among took to Twitter to express gratitude for the president's resolute action.
"I thank His Excellency, the president, for his steadfast action in the interest of Uganda," Among said.
noted that the parliament believes that the law safeguards the sanctity
of the family, in accordance with Article 31 of the Ugandan
Constitution. Additionally, she stated that the legislation aligns with
the cultural values and aspirations of the Ugandan people, as outlined
in objectives 19 and 24 of the national objectives and directive
principles of state policy.
She further commended the MPs for
standing strong against external pressure and criticisms, attributing
their resilience to the commitment to upholding Uganda's motto, "For God
and our Country."
“I now encourage the duty bearers under
the law to execute the mandate bestowed upon them in the
Anti-Homosexuality Act. The people of Uganda have spoken, and it is your
duty to now enforce the law in a fair, steadfast, and firm manner,” she
The enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act triggered
widespread international reactions, with human rights organizations and
advocacy groups expressing concern over its potential impact on the
rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ+ community. The law has faced criticism
for its potential to promote discrimination and persecution.