Uganda: Welsh Government 'deeply disturbed' by new anti-LGBTQ+ laws

FILE - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema speaks during their picket against Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill at the Ugandan High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa on April 4, 2023. Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni has signed into law tough new anti-gay legislation supported by many in the country but widely condemned by rights activists and others abroad, it was announced Monday, May 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)
Credit: PA

The Welsh Government says it’s “deeply disturbed” by new anti-LGBTQ+ laws in Uganda but has no plans to end its partnership “with the people of Uganda.”Wales has a long-standing link with the country and has so far funded the planting of  20 million trees there.Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni signed into law new anti-gay legislation on Monday, sparking international condemnation.The new law does not criminalise those who identify as LGBTQ but still prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which is defined as cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.

A suspect convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” can be jailed for up to 14 years, according to the legislation.

Here the UK Government’s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said, “This legislation undermines the protections and freedoms of all Ugandans enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.”

The Mbale Trees Programme - orchestrated by the long-standing Wales and Africa initiative – aims to plant 25 million trees by 2025 Credit: Welsh Government

The Welsh Government doesn’t have a formal relationship with the government of Uganda but says its Wales and Africa programme works in partnership with the people of Uganda and not the government and that there are no plans to change that.

The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds said the new Ugandan law was “absolutely sickening” and “absolutely unacceptable and we should do everything we can to stand up against that.”

She urged the Welsh Government to make clear "that there is not tolerance from the people of Wales to these sorts of laws. We have a tree-planting programme from Wales in Uganda. We have to make sure that we use the leverage that we can to ensure that we have influence and we make a very clear statement that it’s not acceptable.

“Wales should use any influence we can in relation to Uganda. We need to make sure that we stand up for all human rights across the world just as I was very clear with Qatar. It was unacceptable that we were not making clear statements about their laws in relation to women and people who are gay in Qatar and we should be doing the same in Uganda.”A Welsh Government spokesperson said, “We are deeply disturbed by the introduction of new anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda. LGBTQ+ people are suffering and this new legislation will inflame abhorrent rhetoric and put people at risk.“Wales is an open and progressive nation committed to the values of inclusivity and equality.“We will continue to promote these values as we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda and across the world.”

The Welsh Government says it will “take every opportunity to raise matters of human rights with representatives from overseas governments when we have the opportunity.”

Joe Biden called it a "a tragic violation of universal human rights" Credit: PA

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”.