Uganda lawmakers have drafted an anti-homosexuality bill that will place gay men and women in jail for life.
Homosexuality is already considered an illegal act in the east African nation where gays and lesbians regularly suffer physical attacks and social exile because of their lifestyle. The new bill seeks to build on the country’s homophobia by extending punishments to include a life behind bars.
Following the bills drafting, which still requires a vote, Amnesty International said it was “extremely concerned” with the direction of the country’s human rights. According to the rights group:
“The bill would have lasting, harmful effects on Ugandans who are thought to breach its far-reaching provisions and it would significantly hamper the work of human rights defenders and public health professionals.
“Although Amnesty International has been informed that some provisions of the bill have been amended, the content of these amendments have not been made publicly available.
“This bill violates the principle of nondiscrimination as guaranteed under international and regional treaties to which Uganda is a party.”
Speaking about her group’s bill, the Ugandan parliamentary speaker said she wants the political measure past before Christmas.
This is hardly the first time a similar bill in Uganda has angered world policymakers. The bill was first proposed in 2009, and, at the time, several nations promised to withhold aid to Uganda because of same-sex human rights.
Sodomy laws were first introduced in Africa during colonialism and have only worsened in recent years.
Despite its life in prison bill, Uganda is still far ahead of Nigeria, Sudan, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, and Iran where the death penalty can be given to same-sex partners.