Uganda passes law criminalizing LGBTQ community 2:33

(CNN) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed one of the world's toughest anti-LGBTQ laws, the speaker of parliament said, defying international pressure.

The bill includes the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes sexual intercourse with a minor, sexual intercourse while HIV-positive, and incest.

The bill criminalizes sex education about the gay community and makes it illegal not to report to the police those it calls perpetrators of aggravated homosexuality. It calls for the "rehabilitation"—a widely discredited conversion therapy—of homosexual offenders.

  • Uganda passes bill criminalizing LGBTQ identification and imposing the death penalty for some crimes

Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda. (Credit: Abubaker Lubowa/Reuters/File)

Museveni returned the bill to parliament for review earlier this year. The latest version was approved earlier this month.

Uganda's longtime president has already faced numerous criticisms from Western governments, including the United States, over the law.


A similar homophobic law was struck down by the courts in 2014.

Parliament Speaker Anita Annet Among celebrated the bill's signing, saying parliament "responded to the cries of our people."

"I thank His Excellency, the President, for his steadfast action in the interest of Uganda. With great humility, I thank my fellow MPs for having resisted all the pressure of thugs and catastrophic conspiracy theorists in the interests of the country," he added.

Henry Mukiibi, an activist who helps LGBTQ Ugandans, told CNN he fears people will take the law into their own hands: "I think this is so, so horrible. We didn't expect this; We thought they would advise against it. They are going to torture us. Now I'm afraid of what might happen. People have been waiting for the bill to be signed and then they will work with us. We're going to die."

  • In which countries is same-sex marriage legal? Where was it legal first?

Civil society groups are already trying to challenge the law.

"This comes as no surprise to anyone closely following developments, but it remains deeply concerning that the country viciously discriminates against its sexual minorities. The battle lines are drawn and the next stage of the challenge will be in a court of law," Nicholas Opiyo, a prominent human rights lawyer, told CNN.

"Ugandan civil society, along with the LGBTQI community, is prepared to take this matter to court and challenge the law. Because this law is deeply discriminatory and repressive and does not meet any international or local human rights standards."

He added that Uganda's development partners must hold the Ugandan government accountable.

-- CNN's Catherine Nicholls and Nimi Princewill contributed to this report.

Gay RightsLGBTLGBTI Rights