The Ugandan Parliament approved on Tuesday sweeping anti-gay legislation.
Under the new rules, anyone who engages in same sex activity or identifies as LGBT could face up to 10 years in prison.
According to Robert Amoafo, an activist with the African branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the new laws are a disappointment.
“First of all to say it’s quite sad and unfortunate that such a bill will be passed in this dispensation which we are in, where there is vast information about LGBT people being a group of people who are harmless, who are not criminals, and who do not cause any harm to anybody”. (…) And this is the second attempt at criminalizing LGBT people. One question that somebody could ask is what happened between the first law and the second law?”, asked **Robert Amoafo,**Advocacy manager for Pan Africa ILGA.
For the advocacy activist, LGBT people are being victimized needlessly.
“I think this is a rhetoric of the anti-LGBT, anti-human rights and anti-democracy movement which are all unfounded and untrue.
We have seen around the world where LGBT people exist in peace and nothing of that sort exists, I think within the period of public hearings, the Ugandan parliament, were probably educated by aspects about the fact that some of these issues we are raising are unfounded and are things that are being said out of ignorance. You ask them, where is the research you mention? Where is the data that you are talking about, which do not exist as far as we are concerned”, denounced the activist.
In recent years, Uganda’s LGBTQ community has been under pressure from civil authorities to pass a tough new law punishing homosexual activity.
“So if we look at this trend of what is happening, it is a clear indication that this could be a trump card for any group of people who are hoping to criminalize in their countries. But let’s not forget that we are we are a continent that is guided by the African Charter on Human and people’s rights. And the African Commission has a resolution 275 that request governments to protect LGBT people or sexual minorities and gender from violence. So it will be worrying that we see this trend happening, and this clearly shows that we need attention on this matter. We need to ensure that this does not go along, be a rollercoaster where we keep going around with these incidents”, concluded Robert Amoafo.
Homosexuality is a crime in more than 30 out of Africa’s 54 countries.