Uganda passes bill imposing death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality"

The 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill will now have to be signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has said that he supports the legislation.

This article is about a Ugandan bill criminalising homosexuality. In the photo, Ugandan MPs discussing in parliament.
Image: Via Twitter - @AfricanHub_

On Tuesday, March 21, the parliament in Uganda passed a bill that criminalises LGBTQ+ people and imposes the death penalty for so-called “aggravated homosexuality”. The law has been dubbed one of the harshest in the world targeting the LGBTQ+ community, in a country where same-sex activity is already illegal.

The vote took place yesterday and all but two of the 389 legislators voted in favour. The 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced only days ago, on March 9, by Ugandan MP Asuman Basalirwa. Under the law, people will be banned from “promoting homosexuality” and will be punished for any “attempt to commit the offence of homosexuality”.

Moreover, the bill in Uganda will impose life imprisonment for same-sex sexual activity and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which, according to the law, involves same-sex sexual activity with people under the age of 18 or when a person is HIV Positive, among other things.

The bill will now have to be signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni, who, in a recent speech, appeared to support the move, saying that Western nations are “trying to impose their practices on other people”. Uganda is a very conservative Christian country where same-sex relations were already criminalised under a colonial-era penal code retained after the country achieved independence.


Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, one of the only two members of parliament who opposed the new legislation, commented on the vote, saying: “The bill is ill-conceived; it contains provisions that are unconstitutional, reverses the gains registered in the fight against gender-based violence and criminalises individuals instead of conduct that contravenes all known legal norms”.

Human rights campaigners from all over the world have condemned the bill, describing it as “hate legislation”. Human Rights Watch stated that if it became law, it “would violate multiple fundamental rights, including rights to freedom of expression and association, privacy, equality, and non-discrimination”.


Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah, said: “This deeply repressive legislation will institutionalise discrimination, hatred, and prejudice against LGBTI people – including those who are perceived to be LGBTI – and block the legitimate work of civil society, public health professionals, and community leaders.

“Instead of criminalising LGBTI people, Uganda should protect them by enacting laws and policies that align with the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined not only in Uganda’s Constitution, but also the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” Chagutah added.

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