FILE PHOTO: Uganda's Speaker Anita Annet Among addresses Member of Parliament Asuman Basalirwa (not pictured), during the passing of the anti-Homosexuality bill, at a sitting inside the Parliament Buildings in Kampala, Uganda May 2, 2023.
FILE PHOTO: Uganda's Speaker Anita Annet Among addresses Member of Parliament Asuman Basalirwa (not pictured), during the passing of the anti-Homosexuality bill, at a sitting inside the Parliament Buildings in Kampala, Uganda May 2, 2023. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

Ugandan LGBTQ law sparks international outrage and condemnation

Uganda has implemented one of the world's strictest anti-LGBTQ laws, drawing widespread Western condemnation and outraging activists at home.

(Reuters) - Uganda has implemented one of the world's toughest anti-LGBTQ laws, drawing widespread Western condemnation and outraging activists at home.

Below is some reaction:

CLARE BYARUGABA, UGANDAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

"The Ugandan President has today Legalised State Sponsored Homophobia and Transphobia. It's a very dark and sad day ... We shall continue to fight this atrocious legislation through the Judiciary until Human Rights for all are upheld. We shall win, because as Martin Luther King Jr reminded us, the moral arc of the Universe always bends towards Justice."

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE

"We are appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law. It is a recipe for systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people & the wider population. It conflicts with the Constitution and international treaties and requires urgent judicial review."

UGANDAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ANITA AMONG

"With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country."

UGANDAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE STELLA NYANZI

"Cry beloved Uganda, cry for this sad day for the rights of LGBTIQA+ people and their allies. La luta continua!"

U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

"The enactment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is a tragic violation of universal human rights. I join with people around the world - including many in Uganda - in calling for its immediate repeal."

"We are considering additional steps, including the application of sanctions and restriction of entry into the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption."

CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MELANIE JOLY 

"Uganda's 'anti-gay' bill is abhorrent, cruel and unjust. No one should live in fear or be persecuted for who they are and who they love. We stand with the LGBQTQ+ community in pushing back against the rising crackdown on their human rights."

BRITAIN'S MINISTER OF STATE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND AFRICA ANDREW MITCHELL

"This legislation undermines the protections and freedoms of all Ugandans enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution. It will increase the risk of violence, discrimination and persecution, will set back the fight against HIV/AIDs, and will damage Uganda’s international reputation."

"The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances."

LERATO, SOUTH AFRICAN FILMMAKER AND ACTIVIST

"To reduce any kind of human being, irrespective of their sexuality, to a death sentence based on who they identify as and who, and how they choose to live their lives is something that we should all feel very ashamed about as a continent."

"We can liken this to apartheid if not worse."

GLOBAL HEALTH GROUPS

"Uganda's progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy. The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 will obstruct health education and the outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat. The stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the Act has already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services" (Joint statement from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

GEORGE KALUMA, KENYAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

"Wow! What a leader we've in Africa! Congratulations Uganda! Kenya is following you in this endeavour to save humanity ... Perversion is treated, not normalized!"

DOMINIC ARNALL, CEO OF 'OPEN FOR BUSINESS' GROUP

"As a coalition of global companies, many doing business in Uganda, we want to see a thriving Ugandan economy. Our data shows that this law runs counter to the interests of economic progress and prosperity of all people in Uganda."

ASHWANEE BUDOO-SCHOLTZ, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH'S AFRICA DEPUTY DIRECTOR

"Museveni's signing of the anti-homosexuality bill is a serious blow to the right to freedom of expression and association in Uganda."

NORWAY'S FOREIGN MINISTRY

"This law will threaten human rights & increases persecution and discrimination of all Ugandans. Norway stands firmly against the use of capital punishment at all times and under any circumstances."

BOITUMELAO SHAKU, JOHANNESBURG RESIDENT

"I'm appalled, I'm disgusted, I'm disappointed. I'm just feeling a lot of feelings of anger and also I'm just questioning where are we? Like it's 2023, I'm finding this whole thing very regressive. We've made so much progress, in other countries, to only have this happen. It's just very like, it's defeating."

(Compiled by Anait Miridzhanian, Aaron Ross, Bhargav Acharya, Catherine Schenck, Thando Hlophe, Kanishka Singh; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Andrew Heavens)

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