The United Nations and the NGO Amnesty International on Wednesday called on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to reject an anti-homosexuality law passed by parliament on Tuesday night, calling it "appalling.
In a tense session on Tuesday night, Uganda's parliament decided to enact a law that will inflict severe penalties on anyone who participates in homosexual relationships.
In a country where homosexuality was already banned, MPs considerably changed the original wording, which provided for up to ten years in prison for anyone engaging in homosexual conduct or claiming to be LGBTQ+.
The new penalties under the law were not immediately revealed.
Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Museveni not to pass the measure on Wednesday.
"The passage of this discriminatory text -probably the worst of its kind in the world-- is a deeply troubling development," he said in a statement.
"If signed into law by the president, (this law) will make lesbians, gays and bisexuals criminals in Uganda simply by existing.
"It could give carte blanche to the systematic violation of almost all their human rights," he added.
"This ambiguous, vaguely worded law criminalizes even those who "encourage" homosexuality," Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah said in a statement.
Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, an elected member of President Museveni's National Resistance Movement, spoke out against the text.
According to the MP, the final version of the legislation would subject offenders to life imprisonment or perhaps the death penalty for "aggravated" offences.
Amnesty International said that Museveni should "urgently veto this appalling law," which will "institutionalize discrimination, hatred, and prejudice" against the LGBTQ+ community.
The bill's debate in parliament has been laced with homophobic terminology, with Museveni himself referring to homosexuals as "deviants" last week.
The 78-year-old leader, though, has repeatedly stated that the problem is not a priority for him and that he prefers to preserve excellent relations with his Western funders and investors.
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