TORONTO -- Human rights groups are calling for an in-depth investigation into the death of an LGBTQ activist in his home in Jinja, Uganda, as the Ugandan government calls for an anti-homosexuality bill that could impose the death penalty for same-sex acts.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report Tuesday, calling on the Ugandan authorities to thoroughly investigate the death of 28-year-old Brian Wasswa, who was bludgeoned to death earlier this month in his home.

HRW said that Wasswa was a paralegal who worked with vulnerable communities including Uganda’s LGBTQ population and a peer educator with an AIDS/HIV NGO who did outreach to the LGBTQ community.

Days later, the Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo announced that the government is planning a bill to “introduce the death penalty for consensual same-sex acts,” Amnesty International said.

Lokodo has a long history of homophobic rhetoric. In 2016 he publicly backed a police raid of an LGBTQ nightclub where clubgoers were stripped and beaten, and has repeatedly spoken against the gay community and given support to legislation aimed at restricting their rights and freedoms.

Senior Researcher on LGBT Rights for HRW Neela Ghoshal told CTVNews.ca in an email that Lokodo’s statements are “dangerous, regardless of policy outcomes, in that they provide a veneer of acceptability to the worst forms of homophobia and transphobia. When a government minister advocates killing gay people, how can the state effectively protect against anti-LGBT violence and discrimination?”

Uganda is a deeply conservative country where anti-LGBTQ sentiment is prevalent and the sentence for homosexual acts is life imprisonment, according to the BBC.

The proposed bill is reminiscent of the Ugandan 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act, which “criminalized the undefined ‘promotion’ of homosexuality and early drafts included the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality,’” HRW said in their report.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act was annulled by the Constitutional Court in August of 2014 on a technicality, because the bill did not have enough lawmakers present to vote on it.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) a non-profit NGO advocating to LGBTQ rights, issued a statement on Oct. 9, condemning the death of Wasswa as a “deplorable act of violence fueled by fear, stigma and discrimination.”

SMUG said that Wasswa is the fourth LGBTQ person killed in the last three months.

The executive director of SMUG, Dr. Frank Mugisha, directly equated the rise of LGBTQ Ugandans’ deaths with the sentiments being displayed by the government, saying in the statement that “when politicians, members of parliament call for laws, the reintroduction of the ‘anti-gay’ law, they are responsible for this increase in vulnerability in the LGBT community.”

The Ugandan Media Centre, a government-run communications organization, released a statement on Twitter over the weekend, denying Lokodo’s claims that a new bill is going to be introduced as “the current provisions in the penal code are sufficient.” However LGBTQ rights activists have expressed their skepticism of the prospect online.

“It all depends on what they [the government] determine to be politically expedient at a given moment,” Ghoshal said. “LGBT people’s lives become pawns in a political game.”