The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has defended his visit to Uganda, despite the country’s recent decision to pass anti-gay legislation.

“Members will be aware that I returned yesterday from a visit to Uganda. I went there as a guest of the Mbale Coalition Against Poverty, a partner of the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme,” Mr Jones said in a statement on Monday to the Welsh Assembly.

“This presented an ideal opportunity for me to visit projects that have been made possible by the hard work and dedication of many people from Wales with the support of the Wales for Africa programme.”

In December, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

The UK and US governments, criticised the move along with business magnate and investor Sir Richard Branson – who urged for a corporate boycott of Uganda.

Campaigners are calling on Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill into law.

“I spoke publicly about the need for tolerance and acceptance and discussed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill privately with local political leaders in Mbale”, First Minister Carwyn Jones said. “Ugandans are well aware of our position and I was regularly advised that by speaking out on the bill – which is currently with the President – I could make the situation worse not better.”

Ahead of his visit, gay rights charity Stonewall Cymru urged Mr Jones to raise concerns about the situation for gay people in Uganda with political representatives.