The NGO Amnesty International called on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday to reject a law against homosexuality passed by parliament on Tuesday evening, calling it a "
" on the LGBTQ+ community.
The Ugandan parliament voted Tuesday evening, during a turbulent session, a law providing for heavy penalties for those maintaining homosexual relations.
MEPs considerably amended the initial text which provided for up to 10 years in prison for anyone engaging in homosexual acts or claiming to be LGBTQ +, in a country where homosexuality was already illegal.
The extent of the new penalties provided for by law was not immediately known.
This ambiguous, vaguely worded law criminalizes even those who 'promote' homosexuality
," Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty's director for East and Southern Africa, said in a statement.
Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, an elected member of the National Resistance Movement, President Museveni's party, took a stand against the text.
The MP told AFP that according to the final version of the legislation, offenders risk a life sentence or even the death penalty for “
Amnesty said Museveni must "
urgently veto this appalling law
", adding that it would "
institutionalise discrimination, hatred and prejudice
" against the LGBTQ+ community.
“Not a priority” in the eyes of the president
The debates on this text in parliament were peppered with homophobic words, Mr. Museveni himself having referred last week to homosexuals as “
However, the 78-year-old leader has often felt that the subject was not a priority for him and that he preferred to maintain good relations with his Western donors and investors.
Uganda has strict anti-homosexuality legislation - a legacy of colonial laws - but since independence from the UK in 1962 there have been no prosecutions for consensual homosexual acts.
In 2014, a Ugandan court blocked a bill, approved by MPs and signed by President Museveni, to punish same-sex relations with life in prison.
This text had caused an outcry beyond Ugandan borders, some rich countries having suspended their aid after its presentation to parliament.
Last week, the police announced the arrest of six men for "
" in Jinja (south).
Six other men were arrested on the same charge on Sunday, police said.