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West trying to ‘coerce us’

A 20-year-old man became the first Ugandan to be charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under the contested law in August last year.

He was accused of “unlawful sexual intercourse with… (a) male adult aged 41”, an offence punishable by death.

Uganda, a conservative and predominantly Christian country in East Africa, is notorious for its intolerance of homosexuality.

It has resisted pressure from rights organisations, the United Nations and foreign governments to repeal the law.

The United States, which threatened to cut aid and investment to Kampala, imposed visa bans on unnamed officials in December for abusing human rights, including those of the LGBTQ community.

The World Bank announced in August it was suspending new loans to Uganda over the law, which “fundamentally contradicts” the values espoused by the international institution.

In December, Ugandan state minister for foreign affairs Henry Okello Oryem accused the West of seeking “to coerce us into accepting same-sex relationships using aid and loans”.

In 2014, international donors had slashed aid to Uganda after Museveni approved a bill that sought to impose life imprisonment for homosexual relations, which was later overturned.

But the latest anti-gay law has enjoyed broad support in the conservative country, where lawmakers have defended the measures as a necessary bulwark against Western immorality.

Last month, a Ugandan court dismissed an appeal by a gay rights group seeking government registration, ruling that it aimed to promote “unlawful” activities.

The Court of Appeal said any registration of the group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) was against the public interest and national policy.

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By Admin S

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