By Melanie Nathan, Feb 28, 2023. Today Uganda's Parliament passed a Motion to legislate a New Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2022). See HERE for information.
For years, Uganda has been attempting to pass legislation with more precise definitions pertaining to homosexuality as a crime. Currently Uganda's anti-homosexuality Penal Code refers to a "crime against the order of nature" - but does not mention or define homosexuality per se.
The new Bill is worse than the original Anti-Homosexuality Act which was passed by Parliament and voided by the Constitutional Court in 2014, for lack of a quorum, because this Bill essentially criminalizes identifying as LGBTQI+ - see 2 (I) (d) below! You have committed the offense of Homosexuality if you identify as LGBTQI+, to include non-binary.
Clause 2: This current draft legislation makes no sense to those with an understanding of same-sex attraction. Homosexuality is not an ACT, it is a sexual orientation. The legislation reduces sexual attraction to a SEX ACT. The definition refers to the "OFFENSE OF HOMOSEXUALITY" in effect 'THE OFFENSE OF BEING HOMOSEXUAL' - and then by definition describes same-sex attraction as a SEX ACT. Right there is the problem, an insidious misconception and the false teaching of preachers and politicians, with minimal research and understanding, who have for years touted this misnomer.
Clause 2: Here is the explicit nature of the rather offensive legislation - which as can be seen applies to men and women - gays and lesbians, and obviously trans and bisexual people too.
Clause 2 and 3: Similar to the Bill of 2014, that passed Parliament, was signed by President Yoweri Museveni ( Uganda's dictator for 33 years) into law, and ultimately voided by the Courts for a technicality, this legislation includes so called "AGGRAVATED HOMOSEXUALITY," which this time does not carry the death penalty but rather ten years in jail. This is still terrifying. Look at Par. 3 (f) which basically interpreted means that if you have sex with a same-sex partner - under above definitions more than once, you have committed a more enhanced crime! What is odd is that ten years in prison applies here as well, and thus to all homosexuality offenses, whether aggravated or not. So not sure what the point is to include when the punishment for the "aggravated" crime is the same as for the crime. However I would not be surprised if this is a mere place holder, and once in Committee that the Parliamentarians sneak in the DEATH PENALTY or LIFE in PRISON when no one is looking. They have been known for such ploys!
Clause 4: And then there is ATTEMPTED HOMOSEXUALITY (Ok LOL! really?) It is almost laughable, but unfortunately very serious, as many Ugandans are now living in abject terror under further threat of these onerous terms, usually a license to extreme violence, resulting in forced displacement.
This clause, as with others, is more dangerous in how it sets people up for nonsensical revenge acts against each other. Anyone can accuse someone of attempted homosexuality. It is exceedingly dangerous and given my knowledge of how Uganda persecutes its LGBTQI+ community, it will result in unlawful and arbitrary detentions, where police and security, well known for corruption, will up the ante on the current climate of blackmail and extortion, indeed a nice payday for Uganda's cops!
Clause 13: Promotion of Homosexuality: Extremely onerous is the assertion that same-sex attraction can even be promoted? How can one promote an innate sexuality? This assertion is at the core of criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity. The thought that some third party can actually change another's sexuality, or that there could be desire to have sexual relations with some one of the same-sex when one is in fact not same-sex attracted, is mind-boggling. The truth is this clause is designed to oppress basic freedoms to include freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of broadcast and publication. It is designed to shut-down NGO support, journalist authentic reporting, LGBTQI+ organizations, proper sex education, psycho-socio support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex people. It will cut off the ability to provide safe shelter to those who have been banished, or persecuted by anti-LGBTQI+ climates, which this legislation in and of itself heightens. It is designed to cut funders out of assisting people in their endeavors to seek and claim their basic human rights. It could shut down legal services and medical services for LGBTQI people. Basically any one single act of support for a gay person can result in a charge of 'promotion of homosexuality' resulting in prison for 2- 5 years (note the poor drafting and mistake in (e).)
Clause 5: The so called protection of victims in this legislation serves to people to come forward as victims when in fact they may have been consenting adults who have been outed by someone. This provides the Government with the ability to accuse LGBTQI people of making "victims" of consenting partners. Surely a "VICTIM" of homosexual who is NOT a consenting partner would have recourse under the RAPE and SEXUAL ASSAULT Penal Codes. Hence it is obvious that there is NO REAL victim when it comes to consenting adults having sexual relations. This is an extremely dangerous clause. You will note the intention of the clause by drafters is obvious. It is designed to protect some so they can implicate others, so that charged will have an evidential basis. This is clear by noting that CONSENT of the other party is NO defense for the accused homosexual. It is tantamount to making consensual sex a rape crime.
I mean really!!! Clause 10!
Yes, if you are suspected of the crime of homosexuality and happen to be in the United States - you can be EXTRADITED back to Uganda. This is bound to cause an interesting exchange between Biden administration and his buddy Yoweri Museveni. Most US President have invited and hosted Museveni at the White House! This clause also inserts a form of reparative therapies when referring to "rehabilitating" the offender. We can only imagination what this will serve to license. This will justify the torture houses, starvation and beatings many have experience in the name of conversion therapies!
As can be seen if one enter into a same-sex marriage this can be seen as an offense. This is wide and vague. That means if you are on a safari as an American tourist with your same-sex spouse, you can go to jail in Uganda for ten years. (I do not see any caveat excluding visitors). It also means that if you are an Ugandan and married abroad, even if you acquired citizenship abroad, upon return to Uganda you can go to jail for 10 years. This could also mean that any Ugandan citizen could be the subject of EXTRADITION - if the Ugandan Government hears such person is married to a same-sex spouse, they can request you be extradited back to uganda.
In sum - the Punitive measures are (excluding the fines): Offense of Homosexuality - 10 years
Aggravated Homosexuality - 10 years (And maybe more...?) Conspiracy to Commit Homosexuality - 2 years Procuring Homosexuality by Threat - 5 years
Detention wit Intent to Commit - 2 years
Brothels - 7 years
The offense of entering into a Same-Sex Marriage - 10 years | Conducting a same-sex marriage 2 years Promotion of Homosexuality - 2-5 years
Conclusion: I have not covered the entire legislation and this is my knee jerk short analysis. There is much more to be said. When all is said and done, this is extremely onerous, painfully punitive and unjust.
Anyone supporting this legislation should be banned from entry to the United States. While I am loathe to suggest boycotts, this piece of legislation goes too far and occidental countries will have to decide how to weigh and balance the interests of Uganda's LGBTQI+ community, human rights defenders, allies and reporters, in the decision of whether or not isolate Uganda. By Melanie Nathan Nathan@AfricanHRC.org email@example.com
COPYRIGHT BY MELANIE NATHAN, 2023. Please cite: Analyzing the New Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill,Melanie Nathan, Executive Director African Human Rights Coalition, February 28, 2023, https://www.africanhrc.org/single-post/analyzing-the-harsh-new-ugandan-anti-homosexuality-bill
More Articles in recent days contributing to this heightened anti-LGBTI climate.