Uganda will reportedly drop plans for the execution and life imprisonment of gays.
An ‘anti-homosexuality’ bill has been passing through the country’s parliament but according to news agency Bloomberg, some of the most drastic measures will be removed.
The bill provoked worldwide outrage when it was first tabled. America, the UK and France all expressed concern, as did countless human rights and gay organisations.
Gay rights groups have urged Commonwealth leaders to throw Uganda out of the Commonwealth unless it drops the proposed law.
The minister for ethics and integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, reportedly said a more “refined” set of punishments would be favoured instead of execution.
Although it is not clear what this means, he pointed to so-called ‘gay cure’ therapies, saying the bill would promote counselling for gay people.
Buturo said the modified draft bill would come before parliament within two weeks.
If the provisions for execution and life imprisonment are dropped, the bill still places severe penalties on gay people, their families and those who work for gay organisations.
Other offences include promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house “for purposes of homosexuality”.
Some have suggested the bill is so badly written, it could threaten two men who hug with jail terms.
The MP who tabled the bill, David Bahati, has argued his bill will protect children, youths and the “traditional family”.
The reported concessions come days after a Swedish minister suggested that aid funds to Uganda could be cut if it persevered with the proposed laws.
Buturo retorted: “It is revealing that support to Uganda literally translated means that it is on condition that Uganda should do the bidding of givers of such support regardless of what Ugandans themselves think.”
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