Uganda anti-LGBTQ law ‘devastating’ - UN rights chief

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STORY: The United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday (May 30) that Uganda's anti-LGBTQ law appears to violate the constitution.

“It’s devastating that this law was signed by the president and I hope that the judiciary is going to look into it. And I can tell you, if they look at human rights law, their own constitution, they will find it in violation of it."

The proposal signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni is considered one of the harshest in the world, and carries the death penalty for what the law calls "aggravated homosexuality."

Turk did not elaborate on which aspect of the constitution had been violated.

A UN spokesperson later said there was "a whole range" of violations, including the rights to life, equality, and non-discrimination.

Uganda's government rejects the criticism and says it's adhering to the constitution.

Uganda's information minister told Reuters: (quote) "We do not consider homosexuality as a constitutional right, it is just a sexual deviation which we do not promote as Ugandans and Africans."

Activists in Uganda on Monday filed a complaint against the law at the constitutional court.

It's not yet clear if the court will take up the case.

Turk also criticized "so-called religious groups" for stoking the government to pass the legislation.

“...they want to use the machinery of the state to impose their views which is utterly unacceptable because, at the same time, they also ask when it comes to their own religious freedom that the state does not get involved. So, there is a contradiction in terms.”

Turk also said that "each and every aspect of the law" would be examined by U.N. human rights experts.