A draft of a new law further criminalising homosexuality in Uganda has been leaked on the internet.
Gay sex is already illegal in Uganda. But the new law includes women as well and criminalises any stimulation of the body with a sexual organ, and the use of any object to stimulate a sexual organ with a maximum of ten years in prison, while repeat offenders are to be jailed for life.
The bill also bans the “promotion of homosexuality”, including the manufacture, sale, or distribution of any media advocating gay rights or depicting GLBT people in a positive light, and the raising or provision of funds or property to gay causes, with a minimum of five years in prison.
The bill claims to void any international treaties Uganda may have signed where they apply to the rights of homosexuals and prevents Uganda from ratifying any treaty protecting GLBT rights in future.
Failure to report a homosexual offence will be punished with a maximum of six months in jail, and the bill covers acts occurring both inside and outside Uganda, and includes an extradition provision.
Uganda has been visited by foreign ‘ex-gay’ proponents in recent years and the bill claims “same-sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic … people who experience this mental disorder can and have changed to a heterosexual orientation”.
“It is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle.”
The Ugandan Government has previously claimed there is an international conspiracy to turn Ugandans gay and has tried to prevent aid groups from providing gay men with HIV education.
Responding to the bill, retired High Court justice Michael Kirby told Southern Star, “The draft Ugandan bill to ban all forms of homosexual expression is further proof of the need for a Commonwealth initiative to counteract such oppressive legal measures.
“While the rest of the world is embracing a scientific approach to sexual minorities, governments and churches in Africa and elsewhere are increasing their oppression.”
Kirby suggested the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November would be an opportunity for Australia to enter into dialogue with Uganda and other countries with such punitive laws.
The Department of Foreign Affairs would not comment directly on the Ugandan bill but a spokesperson confirmed that the Australian Government “will take opportunities through the UN and other channels to urge all governments to ensure that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity form the basis for criminal penalties”.

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