Uganda - March 2023
Parliament passes bill that would further restrict LGBTQIA+ rights
On 21 March, Ugandan parliamentarians voted almost unanimously (389 to two) to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, a piece of legislation, which if signed into law, would further restrict the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people in the country. While the rights of this community are already severely constrained under Ugandan law (e.g. same sex-sexual relations are illegal and LGBTQIA+ rights groups are prevented from registering with the state), the Bill would expand these restrictions in important respects. It would, for example, criminalise identifying as an LGBTQIA+ person and ‘promoting homosexuality’, which would likely include advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights and financially supporting such advocacy and so could have significant implications for civil society engagement. These crimes would be punishable with lengthy prison sentences. The version of the Bill amended on 21 March (yet to be published) also includes the death penalty for the crime of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ (where same-sex relations are carried out in one of a select list of ‘aggravating’ circumstances, e.g. where the offender is a serial offender or the victim is under 18). President Yoweri Museveni has 30 days to assent or reject the legislation.