The new anti-gay law in Uganda has been denounced by the government as “appalling” and “deeply discriminatory”.
Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, signed the Bill into law on Monday, prompting outrage around the world.
The new law still mandates the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as situations of sexual relations involving HIV-positive individuals as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable persons. It does not criminalize anyone who identify as LGBTQ.
According to the law, a defendant who is found guilty of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” may spend up to 14 years in prison.
International development minister Andrew Mitchell said: “Democracy depends on the guarantee of equal rights under law and freedom from discrimination for everyone in society.
“This legislation undermines the protections and freedoms of all Ugandans enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.
“It will increase the risk of violence, discrimination and persecution, will set back the fight against HIV/Aids, and will damage Uganda’s international reputation.”
Citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Mr Mitchell said: “Everyone is entitled to human rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind.
“The recognition of these inherent rights has been hard-won by citizens across the globe.
“The strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which everyone can live freely, without fear of violence or discrimination, and where all citizens are treated fairly and can play a full and active part in society.
“The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.”
Mr Mitchell said the UK will “continue to stand up for these rights and freedoms in Uganda and around the world”.
Joe Biden also made his opposition to Uganda’s new law clear, calling it “a tragic violation of universal human rights”.
In a statement, the US President said he joins people “around the world – including many in Uganda – in calling for its immediate repeal”.
“No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong,” he said.
“This shameful act is the latest development in an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda.
“The dangers posed by this democratic backsliding are a threat to everyone residing in Uganda, including US government personnel, the staff of our implementing partners, tourists, members of the business community, and others.”