UN Condemns Ugandan Bill to Criminalize Same-Sex Relations

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05/09/2021

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling on Uganda to amend a bill to ban same-sex relations that it says would violate human rights standards and undermine public health. The bill passed by the Ugandan Parliament this past week, but not yet final, has been under development since 2015 and gone through several significant changes. Human rights officials say they are deeply troubled by this latest iteration, which would criminalize entire groups of people. Under the bill, they note consensual same-sex relations would be harshly punished, as would sex workers and those infected with HIV. A spokesman for the U.N. high commissioner, Rupert Colville, notes the bill’s punishment for consensual same-sex relations has been reduced to 10 years in jail instead of life imprisonment. Nevertheless, he says the Sexual Offences Act raises serious human rights concern. “The fact remains that such relations are still criminalized. This, in a country where stigma, discrimination, and violence against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is widespread and often committed with impunity, given that victims are frequently too afraid to report any attack against them,” he said.

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