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With the Anti-Homosexuality Act upheld, will Uganda loose more donor funding?

With the Anti-Homosexuality Act upheld, will Uganda loose more donor funding?
Nicholas Opiyo, Petitioner and Human rights advocate, speaks to journalists outside the Constitutional Court in Kampala, Uganda, Wednesday, April 3, 2024.   -  
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Hajarah Nalwadda/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


Ugandan gay rights activists asked the international community to mount more pressure on the government of Uganda to repeal an anti-gay law which the country's Constitutional Court refused to nullify.

Activist Frank Mugisha said April's 2nd ruling was “wrong and deplorable.”

“This ruling should result in further restrictions to donor funding for Uganda — no donor should be funding anti-LGBTQ+ hate and human rights violations,” said Mugisha on Wednesday' (Apr. 03).

The court upheld a law that allows the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Uganda has not resorted to capital punishment for many years.

The law in question defines “aggravated homosexuality” as cases of homosexual relations involving a minor and other categories of vulnerable people, or when the perpetrator is infected with HIV.

A suspect convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality”, faces up to 14 years in prison.

The offense of “attempted homosexuality” is punishable by up to 10 years.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law in May last year. It's supported by many in the East African country but widely condemned by rights groups and others abroad.

At the time, the UN chief, called on Uganda "to fully respect its international human rights obligations, in particular the principle of non-discrimination and the respect for personal privacy, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity."

Indeed, the lawimposes penalties of up to life in prison for consensual same-sex relations.

The court ordered that members of the LGBT community should not be discriminated against when seeking medicine.

A Ugandan human rights advocate who was a petitioner in the case, Nicholas Opiyo, expressed his disappointment.

“While we respect the court, we vehemently disagree with its findings and the basis on which it was reached. We approached the court expecting it to apply the law in defense of human rights and not rely on public sentiments, and vague cultural values arguments,” said Opiyo.

Foreign investments

Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda under a colonial-era law criminalizing sexual activity “against the order of nature.” The punishment for that offense is life imprisonment.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Apr. 4 the court’s decision “is deeply disappointing, imperils human rights, and jeopardizes economic prosperity for all Ugandans.”

Sullivan said President Joe Biden’s administration “continues to assess implications of the AHA [Editor's Note: Anti-homosexuality Act] on all aspects of U.S. engagement with the Government of Uganda and has taken significant actions thus far,” including sanctions and visa restrictions against Ugandan officials and reduced support for the government, he said. 

Antony Blinken, the US's top diplomat said “The remaining provisions of the AHA [...] undermine public health, clamp down on civic space, damage Uganda’s international reputation, and harm efforts to increase foreign investment”.

The European Parliament voted in April to condemn the bill and asked EU states to pressure Museveni into not implementing it, warning that relations with Kampala were at stake.

The White House also warned the government of possible economic repercussions if the legislation took effect.

Asuman Basalirwa, the MP who sponsored the bill, said aid cuts were expected and said he would champion new partnerships with like-minded countries.

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