United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is “seriously concerned” by the President of Uganda’s decision to sign anti-gay legislation and fears it could generate fresh homophobic violence.

“It will institutionalise discrimination, restrict the vital work of human rights activists, and could trigger violence. It will also hamper potentially life-saving efforts to stop the spread of HIV,” Secretary General Spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York.

“Disapproval of homosexuality by some can never justify violating the fundamental human rights of others,” UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said. “This law will institutionalise discrimination and is likely to encourage harassment and violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.

“It is formulated so broadly that it may lead to abuse of power and accusations against anyone, not just LGBT people”.

She added: “This law violates a host of fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom from discrimination, to privacy, freedom of association, peaceful assembly, opinion and expression and equality before the law – all of which are enshrined in Uganda’s own Constitution and in the international treaties it has ratified.”

Politicians and campaigners around the world have strongly criticised President Yoweri Musevni for signing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.

The law calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and makes it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

Lesbians are covered by the bill for the first time.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced his country would be reviewing its relations with Uganda, following President Museveni’s decision.

EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton described the move as “draconian”.

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was “an abhorrent backwards step for human rights”.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “deeply saddened and disappointed”. 

The Chair of the Kaleidoscope Trust, Dr Purna Sen, said it was a “terrible blow to the struggle for human rights in Uganda”.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands on Tuesday became the first three countries to cut their aid to Uganda. 

The UK Government confirmed to PinkNews that none of its aid goes directly to the Ugandan Government.