American Secretary of State John Kerry has slammed Uganda's anti-gay law, saying it's "morally wrong". File picture: Manuel Balce Ceneta

Washington -

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday compared tough new anti-gay laws enacted in Uganda to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany or apartheid in South Africa.

“You could change the focus of this legislation to black or Jewish, and you could be in 1930s Germany or you could be in 1950s, 60s apartheid South Africa,” the top US diplomat told a small group of reporters.

On Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law which holds that “repeat homosexuals” should be jailed for life. It also outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.

“What has happened in Uganda is atrocious, and it presents all of us with an enormous challenge, because LGBT rights are human rights. It's that simple,” Kerry told reporters.

“The signing of this anti-homosexuality bill is flat-out morally wrong.”

Referring to anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa, the top US diplomat said “it was wrong there egregiously, in both places, and it is wrong here”.

But he also warned that discrimination against gays was “bigger than just Uganda” saying there were currently 78 other countries in which “you have these laws that are just contrary to human rights and contrary to human nature”.

Referring to the spread of anti-gay legislation, Kerry said “it's not just an African problem, it's a global problem, and we're wrestling with it”.

Activists working for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights had pushed Museveni to block the legislation. - Sapa-AFP