Ugandan LGBTQ activist takes part in a demonstration against the proposed anti-gay law in Uganda


  • Uganda's new law stipulates the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality"
  • About 67 countries criminalize homosexuality
  • There are at least 11 countries in which the death penalty is imposed or a legal possibility for consensual, same-sex sexual activity

Uganda, one of the nearly 70 countries that criminalize homosexuality, has recently enacted one of the world's toughest anti-LGBTQ laws.

Same-sex relations were already illegal in Uganda, as in 66 other nations around the world, according to the Human Dignity Trust. However, the new law signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni includes the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," a broad term that could include gay sex with a minor or with someone who is HIV positive, Reuters reported.

The legislation stipulates capital punishment for "serial offenders" against the anti-LGBTQ law and for those who transmit terminal diseases like HIV/AIDS through gay sex. It also punishes "promoting" homosexuality with 20 years in prison.

Existing Ugandan law stipulates a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for intentionally transmitting HIV and does not apply when the person who contracted the virus was aware of their sexual partner's HIV status.

However, the new law calls for the death penalty regardless of whether the transmission was intentional or unintentional and has no exception based on awareness of HIV status.

The legislation was amended earlier this month to stipulate that merely identifying as LGBTQ is not a crime and to require people to report homosexual activity only when a child is involved.

But the LGBTQ community in Uganda said the changes were useless since the country's law enforcement allegedly regularly exceeds its legal authority to harass them.

Uganda's anti-LGBTQ law was met with criticism at home, while Western countries and international organizations warned the country of losing aid.

President Joe Biden called the legislation "a tragic violation" of human rights. He said his administration will evaluate the implications of the law "on all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda."

Uganda-based Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum and 10 other individuals have already launched a complaint challenging the law at the constitutional court, Busingye Kabumba, one of the petitioners, told Reuters.

According to the Human Dignity Trust, at least 67 countries, including Uganda, currently criminalize "private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity," with most nations explicitly punishing sex between men via "sodomy," "buggery" and "unnatural offenses" laws.

Among these countries, at least five impose the death penalty for private, consensual same-sex sexual activity, including Iran, Northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen, the organization said. The death penalty is a legal possibility for same-sex relations in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, according to its report.

Around 41 countries criminalize consensual sexual activity between women, but lesbian and bisexual women have been subjected to arrest or threat of arrest even in nations that do not explicitly criminalize it, according to the organization.

So far, only 33 countries recognize same-sex marriages, while 34 others provide for some partnership recognition for same-sex couples, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) told BBC News.

Below is the complete list of countries that criminalize same-sex relations, according to the Human Dignity Trust.

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Brunei
  4. Indonesia
  5. Iran
  6. Iraq
  7. Kuwait
  8. Lebanon
  9. Malaysia
  10. Maldives
  11. Myanmar
  12. Oman
  13. Pakistan
  14. Palestine
  15. Qatar
  16. Saudi Arabia
  17. Sri Lanka
  18. Syria
  19. Turkmenistan
  20. United Arab Emirates
  21. Uzbekistan
  22. Yemen
  23. Algeria
  24. Burundi
  25. Cameroon
  26. Chad
  27. Comoros
  28. Egypt
  29. Eritrea
  30. Eswatini
  31. Ethiopia
  32. Ghana
  33. Guinea
  34. Kenya
  35. Liberia
  36. Libya
  37. Malawi
  38. Mauritania
  39. Mauritius
  40. Morocco
  41. Namibia
  42. Nigeria
  43. Senegal
  44. Sierra Leone
  45. Somalia
  46. South Sudan
  47. Sudan
  48. Tanzania
  49. Gambia
  50. Togo
  51. Tunisia
  52. Uganda
  53. Zambia
  54. Zimbabwe
  55. Cook Islands
  56. Kiribati
  57. Papua New Guinea
  58. Samoa
  59. Solomon Islands
  60. Tonga
  61. Tuvalu
  62. Dominica
  63. Grenada
  64. Guyana
  65. Jamaica
  66. Saint Lucia
  67. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Supporters of gay marriage wave the rainbow flag after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry