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Uganda parliament passes mostly unchanged version of anti-LGBTQ bill

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Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday passed a mostly unchanged version of one of the world’s strictest anti-LGBTQ bills after President Yoweri Museveni asked that certain provisions from the original legislation be toned down.

Despite some changes, the new bill retains most of the harshest measures of the legislation adopted in March. Those include the death penalty for certain same-sex acts and a 20-year sentence for “promoting” homosexuality, which activists say could criminalise any advocacy for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer citizens.

A measure that obliged people to report homosexual activity was amended to only require reporting when a child is involved.

Museveni returned the bill to parliament last month, asking lawmakers to remove the duty to report and to introduce a provision to facilitate the “rehabilitation” of gay people.

But Museveni, a vocal opponent of LGBTQ rights, applauded lawmakers for having “rejected the pressure from the imperialists”.

The United States, European Union and major corporations have condemned the bill, and the U.S. government said it was assessing the implications of the looming law for activities in Uganda under its flagship HIV/AIDS programme.

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Quin Karala, 29, a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTQ) community and a single mother of one poses for a picture with rainbow colours at the offices of Rella Women’s Empowerment Program, for LGBTQ rights advocacy, after a Reuters interview in Kulambiro suburb of Kampala, Uganda April 4, 2023. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa/File Photo
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