Uganda’s anti-gay law sparks global outrage: cultural values vs. HIV concerns.

Uganda’s president has signed into law anti-gay legislation prescribes the death penalty and imprisonment for up to 14 year for “aggravated homosexuality” sparking widespread criticism.

What does the new Ugandan anti-gay law says?

The amended version of the bill signed by President Yoweri Museveni does not criminalise LGBTQ people, but it does mandate the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as sexual relations with HIV-infected people, minors, and other vulnerable people.

Supporters of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 argue:

1. Asuman Basalirwa, who sponsored the legislation, said that the legislation is a manifestatio of Uganda’s sovereignty and an embodiment of the cultural values of the country. He added the potential loss of international aid due to the enactment of the law can be mitigated, “I am ready to champion the cause of going to the Arab world to look for donor support. The Arab world, we will go to Saudi Arabia, we will go to Kuwait, we will go to Qatar, we will go to UAE, and this deficit which will be occasioned by these cuts can easily be replaced”​​.

2. The speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Anita Among, stated that the bill safeguards the integrity of the family. She said, “As Parliament of Uganda, we have heeded the concerns of our people and legislated to protect the sanctity of family. We have stood strong to defend the culture, values and aspirations of our people”​​, Africa News reported.

3. Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, welcomed the bill, saying it confirms current criminal code provisions and provides stronger protection for minors. He also said that homosexuality is not a part of Ugandan culture or religious beliefs, reported

Critics of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 argue:

1. The LGBTQ rights activists argued that the new regulation was unnecessary since the country already has harsh penalties for homosexuality.

2. In a joint statement, the United Nations AIDS programme, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Global Fund expressed their worry about public health and the HIV response.

“Uganda’s progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy,” the statement said. “The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 will obstruct health education and the outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat.” That statement said adding that “stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the Act has already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services” for LGBTQ people.

3. There are global calls for the immediate repeal of the law. The US president Joe Biden said, “I join with people around the world—including many in Uganda—in calling for its immediate repeal. No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong”​​. He also hinted about sanctions and restrictions​​.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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