Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday defied international calls to rescind an anti-gay law seen as one of the world’s harshest, including a potential death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”.
“The signing of the bill is finished, no one will move us,” Museveni said in a statement after a meeting with members of his National Resistance Movement party.
“The NRM has never had two languages, what we tell you during the day is what we shall tell you during the night,” he said.
Ugandan activists have called on international donors to impose sanctions against the east African country’s leaders over the law.
In a joint statement on Monday after the law was signed, the rights groups denounced a “dangerous and discriminatory” law would further crimp freedoms for civil society under Museveni, whose rule has become increasingly authoritarian since he took power in 1986.
US President Joe Biden as well as the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have also slammed the legislation, warning that foreign aid and investment for Uganda could be jeopardised unless the law is repealed.
In 2014, international donors slashed aid to Uganda after Museveni approved a bill that sought to impose life imprisonment for homosexual relations, which was later overturned.
But the latest anti-gay law has enjoyed broad support in the conservative country, where lawmakers have defended the measures as a necessary bulwark against Western immorality.
“President Museveni urged Ugandans to remain firm, pointing out that the issue of homosexuality is a serious one that concerns the human race,” his office said in the statement.