“Norway deeply regrets the signing of a new and more stringent anti-gay bill by Uganda’s President today. The new law violates fundamental human rights and the Ugandan constitution. It will exacerbate the situation for an already vulnerable group, and criminalises individuals and organisations working to promote the rights of sexual minorities,” commented Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Mr Brende has warned that this development will have consequences for government-to-government support to Uganda.
“We will hold back around NOK 50 million of our aid to Uganda. At the same time, we will increase our support to human rights and democracy defenders,” said Mr Brende.
Today, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, signed a controversial anti-gay bill despite the fact that Norway and other countries have strongly advised against it. Homosexual acts are already prohibited in Uganda, as they are in a number of African countries. Under the new law, homosexual acts may be punished by life imprisonment, and failing to report homosexuals and lesbians is also a criminal offence, as is promoting homosexuality.
“For several years the human rights situation in Uganda has been deteriorating. We are concerned, as are local organisations, that the new law will lead to the persecution of sexual minorities in the country. The Ugandan authorities are responsible for protecting all minorities against persecution and abuse, but this is a move in the opposite direction,” said Mr Brende.
Norway supports efforts to promote human rights and democracy in Uganda through local and international partners, including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Uganda, the Ugandan National Human Rights Commission, and various NGOs.