Uganda has claimed that a new law which increases jail terms for those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality”, is not homophobic, and that it has simply been “misinterpreted”.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill in February. 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.

The new law has been widely and internationally condemned, and many countries have cut off aid to Uganda, or more commonly have redirected it to organisations on the ground, rather than giving money to the Ugandan Government.

A statement released today claims that international donors which are now withholding aid due to the law, had “misinterpreted” it, and that it had merely been enacted to stop the “open promotion of homosexuality”.

“However, its enactment has been misinterpreted as a piece of legislation intended to punish and discriminate against people of a ‘homosexual orientation’, especially by our development partners,” the Ugandan government’s statement continued.

Without explaining how Ugandans could avoid being prosecuted under the law, the statement read: “Uganda reaffirms that no activities of individuals, groups, companies or organisations will be affected by the act.”

The US last month announced sanctions against Uganda, following the implementation of the law.

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”.