A Ugandan tabloid magazine has published a list of what it alleged included the country’s “200 top” homosexuals and gay sympathisers, a day after President Yoweri Museveni signed a harsh anti-gay bill into law.
The Red Pepper tabloid published the names, and some pictures, of people it accused of being homosexuals in a front-page story with the headline “EXPOSED!” The list included gay-rights activists, as well as a popular hip-hop star and a Catholic priest.
A prominent Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death in 2011 after a similar list was published by another daily. Activists said at the time that they believed he was targeted because of his work promoting gay rights in Uganda.
On Monday, the president signed a bill into law which holds that homosexuals caught having sex should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.
“There is something really wrong with you,” Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian who has been in power nearly three decades, said of gay men as he enacted the new legislation.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that the law – which is widely popular among Ugandans – would institutionalise discrimination and could encourage harassment and violence against gays.
Millions in aid cut
The signing of the law came despite fierce criticism from Western donors.
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that relationship between Washington and Kampala was under review following the enactment of the law, threatening to cut assistance programmes.
The Netherlands froze a seven-million-euro subsidy to Uganda’s legal system, while Denmark and Norway said they would redirect around six million euros each towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations.
Some Ugandan lawyers and activists have said they will challenge the law in court as unconstitutional and impossible to implement.