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Ugandan court upholds tough anti-gay law

Uganda’s Constitutional Court largely upheld the verdict on Tuesday Comprehensive anti-gay laws President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law last year, scuttling efforts by activists and rights groups to repeal the legislation, which has drawn worldwide condemnation and strained the East African country’s relations with the West. Gotta be nervous.

The bill was signed into law by Mr Museveni in May, Call for life imprisonment Anyone who engages in same-sex sexual behavior could face up to ten years in prison.

Uganda faces international consequences for passing the law, with the World Bank suspending all new funding and the United States imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on senior Ugandan officials. But the law is popular in Uganda, a landlocked country of more than 48 million people where religious and political leaders often lash out against homosexuality.

The fallout from the events in Uganda will be closely watched by other African countries where anti-gay sentiment is running high and anti-gay legislation is being considered, including Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and South Sudan. Ghanaian parliament passes anti-gay lawBut the country’s president said he would not sign the constitution until the Supreme Court rules on it.

In the Ugandan case, Frank Mugisha, a prominent human rights activist and one of the petitioners, said they would appeal the Constitutional Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

Ugandan law stipulates that anyone found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” is subject to the death penalty, a blanket term defined as same-sex relations with a minor or a disabled person under threat or while someone is unconscious. The law makes “attempted aggravated homosexual conduct” punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The passage of the law, which also imposes stiff fines on organizations convicted of promoting homosexuality, has alarmed human rights advocates, who say it will provide new impetus for other African countries to introduce equally tough laws. Uganda is one of the African countries that has banned homosexuality. Homosexuality, but the new law created more crimes and provided for harsher penalties.

The United Nations and local and international rights groups say the law conflicts with Uganda’s constitution and is likely to be used to harass and intimidate its LGBTQ community.

The law was first proposed in early March by a lawmaker who said homosexuality was becoming common and threatened the sanctity of the family in Uganda. Some lawmakers have also claimed that their constituents have informed them of alleged programs to promote and recruit schoolchildren to become homosexuals – charges that human rights groups have falsely claimed.

Anti-gay sentiment is widespread among Muslim and Christian lawmakers and religious leaders of both faiths. They say homosexuality is a Western import and held rallies in support of the law before it was passed.

Weeks after the law was introduced in parliament It passed quickly Only two lawmakers objected.

Activists, academics and human rights lawyers challenging the law in court say it violates not only Uganda’s constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy and freedom from discrimination, but also international treaties including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. It was argued that Parliament passed it too quickly and did not allow enough time for public participation.

Rights groups say Uganda’s LGBTQ community has faced intense violence and harassment since the law was introduced and passed.

Call for Equality, a coalition of Ugandan human rights groups recorded Hundreds of human rights violations and abuses, including arrests and forced anal examinations.Gay and transgender people in Uganda have also been kicked out of their homes and beaten by family members, forcing many to Fleeing to neighboring countries such as KenyaIn early January, prominent gay rights advocate Steve Kabuye was stabbed in an attack that activists said was motivated by homophobia related to the law. Kabuye has since fled to Canada with the help of an NGO.

The passage of the law also had a rapid impact in Uganda.Health experts also expressed concerns about the law Can impede access to care For gays and lesbians, especially those seeking HIV testing, prevention and treatment.

The United States said it would Restricted visa Targeting current and former Ugandan officials deemed responsible for enacting anti-gay policies.The Biden administration also released a Uganda Business Consulting and Remove the country from the special program Allow African products to enter the United States duty-free.

The World Bank also cited anti-gay laws in August. All future funding to Uganda will be stoppedEconomic pressure continues to increase, Foreign tourists and investors stay away From Uganda.

Ahead of the ruling, Museveni remained defiant in public, but analysts and diplomats said he privately worried about his country being labeled a “pariah” and the devastating economic fallout. .

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