Uganda says no plans to introduce death penalty against sexual minorities

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Uganda has reassured sexual minorities that they are safe, saying it has no plans to introduce the death penalty for gay sex after reports of rising homophobic attacks.

LGBT+ rights campaigners in Uganda have expressed concerns about a spate of attacks after a minister said earlier this month that the government planned to reintroduce a bill colloquially known as “Kill the Gays”.

However in a statement on Thursday, President Yoweri Museveni’s office denied that and said attacks on LGBT+ people should be reported to police for investigation so that perpetrators could be “brought to book”.

“(The) government of Uganda does not have any plans of reintroducing the anti-homosexuality bill on the floor of parliament,” said the statement signed by Esther Mboya, minister in charge of the presidency.

“On allegations that members of minority communities have been murdered, I would like to assert that protection of human life is enshrined in the constitution,” said the statement, seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday.

Gay sex carries a possible life sentence in Uganda.

Members of the LGBT+ community say they risk physical attacks in their daily life and routinely encounter harassment, as well as facing prejudice over work, housing and health care.

Campaigners have reported a spate of attacks this year, including four murders. The latest was on Oct. 4 when a gay rights activist was bludgeoned to death.

Earlier this week 16 LGBT+ activists were detained and charged for having gay sex after police raided their charity office and residence, forcing them to undergo anal examinations.