Uganda has announced it plans to reintroduce laws imposing the death penalty for homosexuality.
The government passed the bill, commonly known as the “Kill the Gays” law, five years ago. It was later annulled by a court, but now the government says it wants to resurrect it within weeks.
The government claims Uganda needs the laws to address a rise in “unnatural sex” in the east African nation.
“Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools,” Ugandan ethics and integrity minister Simon Lokodo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that.”
He added: “Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act.
“We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised.
“Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni supports anti-gay law
Uganda’s constitutional court annulled the original law – known as the “Kill the Gays” bill because it included the death penalty – on a technicality in 2014.
But Lokodo told Reuters the government will reintroduce the bill to parliament in the coming weeks. He said he expects MPs will vote on it before the end of the year.
It reportedly has the support of the country’s president Yoweri Museveni (pictured).
Mr Lokodo said “many” Ugandan MPs support the bill and the government is prepared for backlash.
“We know that this is going to irritate our supporters in budget and governance,” he said.
“But we can’t just bend our heads and bow before people who want to impose a culture which is foreign to us.”
Sexual Minorities Uganda spokesperson Pepe Julian Onziema said LGBTIQ people are scared.
Onziema told Reuters the earlier law “whipped up homophobic sentiment and hate crimes” in Uganda and hundreds of LGBTIQ people fled as refugees.
“More will follow if this law is enacted. It will criminalise … even advocating for LGBT+ rights, let alone supporting and protecting sexual minorities.”
He said three gay men and one transgender woman had died in homophobic violence in Uganda this year.
Gay sex is already illegal in Uganda
Under British colonial law, gay sex in Uganda is already punishable with up to life imprisonment.
And Uganda faced international condemnation when President Museveni signed the previous death penalty bill in 2014.
As a result, several international donors cut aid to Uganda after the law came into effect.
Earlier this year, the Sultan of Brunei announced he would impose whippings and the death penalty for homosexual activity.
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