Uganda anti-gay bill signed into law

The new law will punish people convicted of having gay sex with jail terms up to life.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Picture: AFP.

KAMPALA - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed a bill, which will further outlaw homosexuality in that country.

The new law will punish people convicted of having gay sex with jail terms up to life, according to drafts of the legislation.

It will also make it a crime to promote gay activity and to fail to report someone for breaking the new law, again according to drafts.

Homosexuality is taboo in almost all African countries and illegal in 37, including Uganda where rights groups say gay people already risk jail. Few Africans are openly gay, as they fear violence, imprisonment and loss of their jobs.

Gay and lesbian organisations in Africa fear the ripple effect from the anti-gay bill could spread beyond Uganda to other parts of a continent where conservative societies tend to view homosexuality as unnatural.

The move comes amid widespread global condemnation and a warning that the law is unconstitutional and a step backwards for human rights.

The new law makes it a crime not to report acts of homosexuality and threatens to send certain offenders to jail for life.

World leaders like US president Barack Obama and South Africa's archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu have spoken out against the new law.