Uganda: UN, rights groups condemn anti-gay bill


The United Nations and human rights groups have condemned the passing of Uganda’s Sexual Offences Bill that criminalises same-sex relations.

Uganda’s parliament passed the bill on Monday and, although it is yet to be finalised, the UN has raised fresh concerns about the latest iteration of the bill, warning that it discriminates against entire groups of people – including homosexuals and sex workers.

UN, rights groups condemn sexual offences bill

Uganda started developing its controversial Sexual Offences Bill in 2015 and the proposed regulations have changed significantly over the years. The proposals drew criticism from rights groups as soon as they went public over concerns of discrimination against gay groups and individuals. However, the UN warns that the latest iteration of the bill poses an attack on the human rights of entire groups of people, including homosexuals, sex workers and people infected with HIV.

Under the bill, consensual same-sex relations would be severely punished with potential jail terms of up to 10 years.

Human Rights Watch is among the rights groups also condemning the latest iteration of Uganda’s Sexual Offences Bill.

“Uganda’s Sexual Offenses Bill, 2019 both criminalizes consensual sex acts and would allow some nonconsensual acts to go unpunished, Human Rights Watch,” Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

“The bill, approved by parliament on May 3, 2021, violates international human rights law by criminalizing consensual sexual acts between adults and yet falls short in its definition of consent. While offering provisions designed to prevent and punish sexual violence, it also further criminalizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and sex workers.”

Featured image: “Karamoja” flickr photo by Rod Waddington shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.