Ugandan president signs one of world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws

LGBTI Uganda

(CNN) — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed one of the toughest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world, a spokesman for Parliament has declared, defying international pressure.

The bill includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which includes sex with a minor, having sex while HIV-positive and incest.

The bill penalizes sex education about the gay community and makes it illegal not to report to the police those it calls perpetrators of aggravated homosexuality. It calls for the “rehabilitation”—a widely discredited conversion therapy—of homosexual offenders.

Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda. (Credit: Abubaker Lubowa/Reuters/File)

Museveni returned the bill to Parliament for review at the beginning of the year. The latest version was approved earlier this month.

The long-serving president of Uganda has already faced much criticism from Western governments, including the US, over this law.

A similar homophobic law was struck down by the courts in 2014.

Parliament Speaker Anita Annet Among celebrated the signing of the bill, saying parliament “responded to the cries of our people.”

“I thank His Excellency the President for his steadfast performance in the interest of Uganda. It is with great humility that I thank my fellow MPs for resisting all the pressure from the goons and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of the country.” added.

Henry Mukiibi, an activist who helps 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 they would advise against it. We are going to torture. Now I’m afraid of what might happen. People have been waiting for the bill to be signed and then they will work with us. We are going to die.”

Civil society groups are already trying to challenge the law.

“This comes as no surprise to anyone who closely follows events, but it remains deeply concerning that the country viciously discriminates against its sexual minorities. The battle lines are drawn and the next stage of the challenge will be in a court of law,” Nicholas Opiyo, a leading human rights lawyer, told CNN.

“Ugandan civil society, together with the LGBTQI community, is prepared to take this matter to court and challenge the law. Because this law is deeply discriminatory and repressive and does not meet any international or local human rights standards.”

He added that Uganda’s development partners must hold the Ugandan government to account.

— CNN’s Catherine Nicholls and Nimi Princewill contributed to this report.

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