Ugandan minister confirms planning of new anti-gay law that cannot be challenged

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Uganda plans to introduce a new anti-gay law that will withstand any legal challenge, a government minister has said.

The minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the BBC that the proposed bill will be a streamlined version of the annulled Anti-Homosexuality Act.

It will clarify what constitutes the promotion and funding of “unnatural” acts, he said.

The comments reinforce claims by Ugandan human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo, who last week announced he had obtained a leaked version of the new draft bill – titled ‘The Prohibition of the Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill’ – which is even harsher than the original act.

In addition to banning homosexuality outright, Uganda would also adopt a Russia-style ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality, which can be used to stifle dissent.

Broader-reaching parts of the law also target charities and NGOs who work on LGBT rights, attacking “funding for purposes of promoting unnatural sexual practices”, and also makes it a crime to “make a representation … by whatever means of a person engaged in real or fictitious unnatural sexual practices”.

Uganda’s Constitutional Court struck down the Anti-Homosexuality Act in August, ruling that the law had been passed without the necessary quorum of MPs.

Human rights campaigners welcomed the move, but also feared it would only represent a brief respite before new anti-gay legislation is introduced. The new bill has been drawn up by MPs from the governing National Resistance Movement, and had not yet been approved by the cabinet, the minister said.

The scrapped Anti-Homosexuality Act allowed for life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality” and for entering into a same-sex marriage.

It also proposed a prison sentence of up to seven years or a fine or both for the promotion of homosexuality.

The US announced sanctions against Uganda, following the implementation of the law, cutting back on international aid to the country.

Same-sex sexual activity is already illegal in Uganda.