Kaleidoscope Trust: Uganda’s passing of anti-gay law represents a terrible fortnight for LGBT rights

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The Kaleidoscope Trust says today’s news out of Uganda represents a “terrible fortnight in the struggle for LGBT rights.”

The UK based LGBT rights group has condemned the decision of the Ugandan Parliament to pass its Anti-Homosexuality Bill and is calling on President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill into law.

Today’s development comes after last Wednesday’s shock decision of the Indian Supreme Court to re-criminalise homosexuality, the passage through the Nigerian Senate of a bill outlawing LGBT organisations and last Thursday’s removal of equal marriage laws in the Australian Capital Territory.

On Friday, MPs in Uganda passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for all same-sex sexual behaviour – not just the current life tariff for anal intercourse. 

The bill increases the penalty for other acts – including mere sexual touching – from seven years to life imprisonment.

Promoting homosexuality and aiding and abetting others to commit same-sex acts will be punishable by five to seven years in jail.

A person in authority – gay or heterosexual – who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will be sentenced to three years behind bars.

UK Labour MP Diane Abbott has condemned the Ugandan Parliament’s decision.

She told PinkNews.co.uk: “This really is dreadful news that has come from Uganda today, especially as it comes just days after the death of Nelson Mandela, who stood up for the rights of all including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”

Conservative MP Nigel Evans also criticised Ugandan MPs who had voted for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Speaking on behalf of the Kaleidoscope Trust, Assistant Director Alistair Stewart called it “a terrible day for human rights.”

He went on to say: “The passage of the bill is a terrible set back to the LGBT community in Uganda and is a direct assault on their dignity and human rights. We are calling on President Museveni not to sign this bill into law. The British Government must do everything in its diplomatic power to encourage the Ugandan President not to sign this bill into law and should actively support the Ugandan LGBT community.

“Following on from the Indian Supreme Court ruling re-criminalising homosexuality, the passage through the Nigerian Senate of a bill outlawing LGBT organisations and the removal of equal marriage laws in Australia’s ACT, this has been a terrible fortnight for the international LGBT movement.”