Several reports from within Uganda suggest that the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed the country’s new anti-gay bill into law.
Dr Frank Mugisha, founder of Sexual Minorities Uganda tweeted to say that “reliable but unconfirmed sources”, said the bill was now law.
Reliable but not confirmed sources:President Museveni has signed anti gay bill & will send it to parliament before deadline 23rd February
— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) February 20, 2014
Other reports suggest that the president was to sign the bill on Friday, including an AllOut petition signed by 85,000 people calling for him to scrap the bill.
The Ugandan Government yesterday put out a vague statement which said it was committed to enforcing the country’s constitution which reads: “All persons are equal before and under the law”, and promises equal protection.
The statement read: “The 1995 Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda… The Government of Uganda therefore reassures all Ugandans and the international community of its continued commitment and respect for the rule of law in Uganda.”
Ugandan LGBT rights activists have questioned the meaning behind the statement, and the intention of the government behind releasing it. Many have said it remained unclear whether this meant the President would sign the bill into law, or not.
The law increases the punishments for those found guilty of homosexuality and includes life sentences for “repeat offenders”.
It was announced earlier this week that President Museveni would sign the bill following a report which claimed that homosexuality was “not a genetic but a social behaviour”. He previously said he would not sign it without clarification.