Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday signed into law a controversial anti-gay bill, his office and the country’s parliament said, introducing draconian measures against homosexuality that have been described as among the world’s harshest.
Museveni “has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023. It now becomes the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023,” a statement posted on the presidency’s official Twitter account said.
Uganda’s parliament on Twitter said Museveni had assented to a new draft of the legislation approved by lawmakers earlier this month.
The president had called on MPs to rework the bill, though most of the hardline provisions that caused an outcry in the West were retained.
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The amended version clarified that identifying as gay would not be criminalised, but “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be an offence punishable with life imprisonment.
Although Museveni had advised lawmakers to delete a provision making “aggravated homosexuality” a capital offence, lawmakers rejected that move, meaning that repeat offenders could be sentenced to death.
Uganda has not resorted to capital punishment for many years.
The bill was condemned by the United States, European Union and international human rights groups, but enjoys broad public support in Uganda.