Uganda on Thursday defended its recently-approved anti-gay law.

The law, signed last month by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, increases the penalties for homosexuality in a nation where gay sex was already illegal. As approved, the law calls for life imprisonment for the crime of “aggravated homosexuality.” A previous version of the bill called for the death penalty.

Western nations, including the United States, have condemned the law.

In addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council, Ambassador Christopher Onyanga Aparr insisted that sexual orientation was “not a fundamental human right” as defined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Reuters reported.

“It is important to underscore the fact that the law is not intended to discriminate, persecute or punish homosexuals by the sheer fact of their sexual orientation,” Aparr said. “Rather the law is aimed at protecting and defending Ugandan society from social disorientation.”

Secretary of State John Kerry last week likened the law to anti-Semitism and apartheid.

(Related: John Kerry speaks to Uganda's Yoweri Museveni about anti-gay law.)

Sweden on Wednesday joined three other donors – World Bank, Norway and Denmark – in suspending part of its financial aid to the nation.

Aparr dismissed the criticisms, insisting that the law was needed “to protect our children from those engaged in acts of recruiting them into homosexuality and lesbianism.”

“The law also aims at discouraging homosexuals from publicly exhibiting their sexuality and sexual acts or practices,” he added.