Seventeen human rights groups have called for proposed new laws on homosexuality in Uganda to be scrapped immediately, reports Pink News.
This week, Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, of the ruling party, tabled the private member’s bill in parliament to create a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality”.
Introduced by MP David Bahati, the bill would extend Uganda’s already tough anti-gay laws to prescribe the death penalty for those charged with “aggravated homosexuality”.
The bill describes this charge as engaging in “gay sex” with a person under the age of eighteen, or a partner with a physical disability (their consent does not factor). The charge also applies if the accused has HIV (regardless of whether a condom was used or not).
Gay and human rights groups have condemned the proposed laws, saying they would violate basic human rights.
In a statement, 17 groups expressed their concern over the bill, titled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.
The bill also imposes life imprisonment on those who have homosexual sex. Although this is already the case in Uganda, the new law widens the definition of the offence.
The bill also mandates that, should an individual reveal their sexuality to a relative or friend, they must be reported to the authorities within 24 hours.
Bahati said his bill would protect children, youths and the “traditional family”.
Human rights activists say Uganda, with a population of 31 million, has some 500,000 gays and lesbians.
More at Pink News.