Ireland has joined countries around the world in condemning the new Ugandan anti-LGBTQ+ law, which allows the death penalty for certain offences.
On Monday, May 29, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 into law, criminalising LGBTQ+ relationships and including some of the harshest penalties in the world. Same-sex relationships were already criminalised in Uganda under colonial-era laws, but the new legislation is sparking global outrage since it permits capital punishment.
Engaging in LGBTQ+ sexual relationships carries the risk of life in prison, and the death penalty can be implemented for counts of so-called “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes having sex while HIV Positive. It also includes a 20-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of “promoting” homosexuality, a provision that could apply to anyone who advocates for LGBTQ+ rights in Uganda.
In a tweet, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said: “Ireland condemns new laws in Uganda that threaten LGBTI+ people with punishments, including the death penalty,” and, “Ireland will continue to defend human rights, including LGBTI+ rights, as a priority on the international stage.”
Ireland condemns new laws in Uganda that threaten LGBTI+ people with punishments, including the death penalty.
This is contrary to Uganda’s international obligations. Ireland will continue to defend human rights, including LGBTI+ rights, as a priority on the international stage.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) May 29, 2023
The British government called the new law “appalling” and “deeply discriminatory”, with the nation’s International Development Minister, Andrew Mitchell, saying: “The strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which everyone can live freely, without fear of violence or discrimination, and where all citizens are treated fairly and can play a full and active part in society.”
Mitchell added, “The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.”
US President Joe Biden also denounced the new law, which he described as: “a tragic violation of universal human rights” and threatened to stop providing aid to the country.
A joint statement from three of the world’s leading health groups, namely the UN Aids programme, the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) and the Global Fund, expressed that they are “deeply concerned about the harmful impact” of the legislation and, “Uganda’s progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy”.
The United Nations Human Rights Office called the new anti-LGBTQ law “draconian and discriminatory” and “…a recipe for systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people”.
#Uganda: We are appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law. It is a recipe for systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people & the wider population. It conflicts with the Constitution and international treaties and requires urgent judicial… pic.twitter.com/cD7Gnwap95
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 29, 2023
While the new anti-LGBTQ+ law has widespread support among the Ugandan population, activist groups in the nation are working to institute court action that could annul the discriminatory legislation. Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum Uganda have filed a petition asserting that the new law violates the rights of queer people.
— Bombastic Kasha (@KashaJacqueline) May 29, 2023
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