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IBAHRI condemns Uganda’s anti-LGBTQI+ bill
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05 Apr 2023 / human rights Print

IBAHRI condemns Uganda’s anti-LGBTQI+ bill

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has condemned Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which includes the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

The Ugandan parliament passed the bill overwhelmingly, by 389 votes to two, on 21 March 2023.

The IBAHRI cited comments from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, who described the legislation as “probably among the worst of its kind in the world”.

Life for same-sex acts

The draft bill, as proposed on 1 March, included provisions criminalising identifying as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-gender, queer or questioning, intersex, or any other sexual or gender identity beyond male and female (LGBTQI+).

It would also criminalise same-sex sexual acts, and “aiding and abetting” homosexuality.

The human-rights organisation says that the final version of the bill is yet to be officially published, but these were some of the elements discussed in the Ugandan parliament ahead of its passing.

According to the IBAHRI, the version amended and adopted during the parliamentary session on 21 March includes life imprisonment for consensual same-sex activities, and the death penalty for the crime of ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

According to the draft bill, the crime of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is committed where the offender is living with HIV; is a parent, guardian, or has authority or control over the person against whom the offence is committed; is a serial offender; applies, administers, or causes any drug, matter or thing to be used with intent to stupefy or overpower the person against whom the offence is committed; or if the victim is under the age of 18 or has a disability.

‘Mob attacks’

IBAHRI co-chair Anne Ramberg called on President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill into law, saying that the measures violated Uganda’s international-law obligations.

“Members of the LGBTQI+ communities in Uganda have already been blackmailed and lured into mob attacks. This bill, if signed into law, will further entrench discrimination and prejudice against an already vulnerable community,” Ramberg stated.

The IBAHRI pointed out that Uganda was a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which upholds the prohibition of discrimination, the right to privacy, and equality before the law.

“While sexual orientation and gender identity are not expressly listed as prohibited grounds for discrimination, jurisprudence and authoritative interpretations by UN treaty bodies to which Uganda is a state party have established that the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of ‘other status’ includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” the IBAHRI said.

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