Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill – A Briefing

Death penalty proposed for consenting same-sex relations

Misreported & unreported aspects of the legislation

By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

London, UK – 11 January 2010


Below is a full and comprehensive briefing on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is currently before the Ugandan Parliament and which proposes the death penalty for certain consenting homosexual acts.

Sponsored by the Ugandan MP, David Bahati, the Bill is expected to be debated and voted on in the coming weeks.

This briefing includes details of the already existing extreme homophobic laws in Uganda and their hateful social effects, a link to a full copy of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and my summary of its key elements.

Although there have been reports that death penalty clauses will be dropped, to date the Bill has not been amended, watered down or scrapped. All the original provisions, including the death penalty, remain.

Indeed, the Bill’s sponsor, MP David Bahati, said late last week that he stands by the Bill and will not withdraw it.

Read the full text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:

Summary of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Peter Tatchell of the London-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage! said:

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposes the death penalty for two classes of same-sex acts.

“First, for ‘aggravated’ homosexuality, which is defined as gay sex with under 18s or disabled persons and gay sex by a person in authority or by a person with HIV, even if they use a condom.

“Second, for ‘serial’ homosexual acts, meaning for persons who have repeated same-sex relations ie. more than once or twice.

“The Bill extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for same- sex intercourse to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have homosexual relations.

“Life imprisonment is also the penalty for contracting a same-sex marriage.

“Promoting homosexuality and aiding and abetting others to commit homosexual acts will be punishable by five to seven years jail. These new crimes are likely to include membership and funding of LGBT organisations, advocacy of LGBT human rights, supportive counselling of LGBT persons and the provision of condoms or safer sex advice to LGBT people.

“A person in authority – gay or heterosexual – who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will be sentenced to three years behind bars.

“Astonishingly, the new legislation has an extra-territorial jurisdiction. It will also apply to Ugandan citizens or foreign residents of Uganda who commit these ‘crimes’ while abroad, in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence. Violators overseas will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda.

“This bill is even more draconian than the extreme homophobic laws of countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“It is part of a wide attack on civil society and is symptomatic of Uganda’s drift to Mugabe-style authoritarianism,” added Mr Tatchell.

Read this report by me on the tyranny of President Yoweri Museveni’s Ugandan regime:

Existing anti-gay laws in Uganda – and their consequences

The Uganda Penal Code Act of 1950 (Chapter 120) (as amended)

Section 145. Unnatural offences.
–Any person who– (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; (b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.

Section 146. Attempt to commit unnatural offences.
–Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section 145 commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

Section 148. Indecent practices.
–Any person who, whether in public or in private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person or procures another person to commit any act of gross indecency with him or her or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any person with himself or
herself or with another person, whether in public or in private, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

“The current anti-homosexual laws were originally imposed on Uganda by the British colonial administration in the nineteenth century, during the period of imperial subjugation. They are not authentic Ugandan or African laws,” added Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage!

“The consequences of this already existing legislation can include long terms of imprisonment for homosexual relations between consenting adults in private.

“Criminalisation also often results in the failure of police to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims of mob violence. It gives a green light to blackmailers and to the police harassment of LGBT people, including the framing of LGBT Ugandans on false charges.

“The outing of LGBT people by the Kampala tabloid newspaper, Red Pepper, has resulted in some victims losing their jobs and homes. Others have been disowned by their families and forced to go into hiding.

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is just the latest of many attacks on the LGBT community of Uganda.

“In recent years, the Ugandan government of President Yoweri Museveni has passed a law banning same-sex civil marriage, fined Radio Simba for broadcasting a discussion of LGBT issues, and expelled a UN AIDS agency director for meeting with LGBT campaigners.

“Some years ago, a heterosexual Anglican bishop of the West Buganda diocese of Uganda, Christopher Senyonjo, was denied the right to preach and denied his pension by the Church of Uganda after he defended the human rights of LGBT people,” said Mr Tatchell.

See photos of the London protest against the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill on 10 December 2009:
These photos are free to use. Please credit Brett Lock of OutRage!

See videos of this London protest:
These videos are free to use.

More information:

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