Uganda : The Anti-Gay Bill-What it means for Ugandan Human Rights Defenders

For Human Rights Defenders in Uganda who advocate for the rights of LGBTQ individuals, this law means that they are at risk of being harassed, arrested, and prosecuted for their work.

The bill restricts the freedom of expression and assembly of individuals who identify as LGBTQ, as well as those who support their rights. This makes it extremely difficult for Human Rights Defenders to carry out their work and raise awareness about the discrimination and abuse faced by the LGBTQ community in Uganda. In short, the LGBTQ bill has a significant impact on Human Rights Defenders in Uganda, as it undermines their ability to promote and protect the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sad to say, but « people don’t want to be associated with homosexuals because they risk being accused of being criminals for failing to report. Thus, this demonstrates unequivocally that the bill’s discussion has gone beyond the homosexual issue to encompass human rights. » For instance, a 32-year-old LGBTQI activist who wished to remain anonymous claimed that this month, after a picture of him being identified as gay went viral, his landlord served him with an eviction notice. “I feel this is unfair to me because I have lived in this house for more than three years and never missed a rent payment. I regret not being able to find justice anywhere”, he says.

This Bill, which the President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Museveni is yet to sign into law, also calls for lengthy prison sentences for people who identify as gay or are found to have promoted homosexuality. It establishes the death penalty for homosexual acts with minors and several other groups. If passed, this would violate multiple fundamental human rights.

Two years ago, President Museveni rejected the sexual offenses bill, which had similar provisions but was less comprehensive than this one. Human Rights Defenders are hoping that this Bill experiences the same outcome.

Ruth Atim


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