By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed its concern on gays tasking Uganda to amend a bill to ban same-sex relations that it says would violate human rights standards and undermine public health.
The bill passed by the Ugandan Parliament this past week, but not yet final, has been under development since 2015 and gone through several significant changes.
Under the bill, they note consensual same-sex relations would be harshly punished, as would sex workers and those infected with HIV.
A spokesman for the U.N. high commissioner, Rupert Colville, notes the bill’s punishment for consensual same-sex relations has been reduced to 10 years in jail instead of life imprisonment. Nevertheless, he says the Sexual Offences Act raises serious human rights concerns.
“The fact remains that such relations are still criminalized. This, in a country where stigma, discrimination, and violence against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is widespread and often committed with impunity, given that victims are frequently too afraid to report any attack against them,” he said.
Colville says other alarming provisions in the Act include mandatory and forced HIV testing of defendants.
“Such provisions not only violate Uganda’s human rights obligations and also risk undermining public health, leaving people afraid to come forward for essential testing and treatment, and so affecting critical HIV prevention and treatment efforts. They are also risking further fueling HIV in Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.