Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has signed probably the harshest anti-LGBTQ law in the world, the speaker of parliament said, resisting international pressure.
The bill includes capital punishment for “exasperated homosexuality’ which also includes sex with a minor, having intercourse while HIV positive and incest.
The bill condemns sex education for the gay community and makes it unlawful not to uncover what it calls culprits of bothered homosexuality to the police. It calls for gay offenders to receive “rehabilitation,” which is widely regarded as conversion therapy.
In the beginning of this year, Museveni sent the bill back to parliament for revisions. This month, the latest version of the bill was passed.
Uganda’s long-lasting president has previously faced serious criticism from Western governments, including the US, over the law.
In 2014, homophobic legislation was overturned by the courts.
Parliament had “answered the cries of our people,” according to Anita Annet Among, speaker of the parliament, who celebrated the bill’s signing.
“I thank His Excellency, the president, for his steadfast action in the interest of Uganda. With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of the country,” Anita Annet added.
In any case, Henry Mukiibi, an activist who assists LGBTQ Ugandans, told CNN that he fears people will take the law into their own hands:
“I think this is so so horrible. We didn’t expect this – we thought he would be advised against it. We are going to be tortured. I am just scared now about what is next. People have been waiting for the bill to be signed and then they will work on us. We are going to die.”
Civil society groups are already looking to challenge the law.
“This is hardly surprising for anyone following the events closely, but it is still deeply concerning that the country is viciously discriminating against its sexual minorities. The battle lines are drawn and the next stage of the contestation will be in a court of law,” Nicholas Opiyo, a prominent human rights lawyer said.
“The civil society in Uganda together with the LGBTQI community are prepared to take this to the courts and challenge the law. Because this law is a deeply discriminatory and repressive law that doesn’t meet any international human rights and local standards.”
He went on to say that the development partners of Uganda must hold the Ugandan government accountable.