Uganda Passes Bill Criminalising Gays, Sex Work

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PARLIAMENT has passed the Sexual Offences Bill, which violates international human rights law by criminalising consensual sexual acts between adults, and yet falls short in its definition of consent.

While offering provisions designed to prevent and punish sexual violence, it also further criminalizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and sex workers.

The bill, even though it includes some positive provisions toward addressing sexual violence, including protecting sexual assault survivors’ rights during criminal proceedings and criminalising sexual harassment by people in positions of authority, punishes any “sexual act between persons of the same gender,” as well as anal sex between people of any gender, with up to 10 years in prison.

It even provides that if Ugandans perform these sexual acts outside Uganda, they can be prosecuted in Uganda, Human Rights Watch reports. The lawmakers also rejected a proposal that allows a person, who had consented to a sexual act, to withdraw that consent at any time before or during the performance of the sexual act.