Punishable By Death: LGBTQ Rights Under Siege in Uganda Amid New Anti-Homosexuality Law

Same-sex intercourse is punishable by life in prison, and sometimes death, in Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act. 

All Eyes on Uganda

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Advocacy groups from around the world are tuning into the current anti-LGBTQ+ climate in Uganda. 

Sharp Increase in Homophobic Activity 

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In the last 9 months alone, there have been over 1,000 recorded cases of arrests, torture, and home invasions targeting the queer community. 

Tracing it Back

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While the hostility has been escalating recently, there was a notable shift back at the start of 2023 when the Anti-Homosexuality law was first in discussion. 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act

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The Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) became law in May of 2023, causing a serious increase in homophobic rhetoric and attacks. 

Cracking Down on LGBTQ+ Rights

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The AHA cracks down on same-sex intercourse, and deems it punishable by life in prison. There is another category of “aggravated homosexuality” that can result in a death sentence. 

What Is Aggravated Homosexuality?

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“Aggravated homosexuality” is loosely defined as same-sex intercourse with a vulnerable population, and if someone who has HIV engages in same-sex intercourse.

Advocacy Groups Step In

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The Convening for Equality advocacy group began collecting data as soon as the controversial law was enacted. 

Shocking Statistics

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In the law’s first year, the CFE noted at least 1,253 human rights violations. In comparison, the year before, there were only 306 violations between January and August. 

Continued Escalation

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The law seemed to shift the mindset of Uganda’s political and police forces, almost giving blanket permission to launch an anti-LGBTQ+ tirade across the country. 

The Accusations

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It is recorded that both state and non-state employees have been accused of some heinous actions against the queer community since AHA. 

The Details

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The CFE report noted, “Known and/or perceived LGBTQ+ persons were arrested, tortured, beaten, exposed, including evictions and banishment, blackmail, loss of employment, and health service disruptions”.

Smear Campaign

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Continuing “This was sustained by frequent fake and false news shared on different platforms and a sustained campaign to paint LGBTQ+ persons … as persons who are out there to recruit children into homosexuality”. 

The West Responds

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The West has responded with outrage, and the public outcry has triggered political and trade sanctions against Uganda and their elite. 

Halting All Lending

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The World Bank will not allow any lending to Uganda, and the U.S. backed out of a trade deal that would have greatly benefited the Ugandan economy. 

U.S. Takes Further Action

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The U.S. has also enacted sanctions against “unnamed individuals” for human rights violations. 

“A Tragic Violation”

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President Joe Biden called the AHA “a tragic violation of universal human rights — one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country”. 

Legal Resistance 

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The Anti-Homosexuality Act has met further legal resistance, and was challenged in court back in April. 

Appeal Denied

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Unfortunately, the Ugandan constitutional court did not annul the law entirely. 

Public Health Officials Make a Stand for Equality

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They did choose to void the sections that they deemed to “violate rights to health and property” due to a push from public health officials that were worried about access to medication. 

Medical Acceptance Required

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The Deputy Chief Justice who helped make that decision said, “They should be medically and culturally accepted”. 

A War Against “Cultural Bigotry and Prejudice”

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The only petitioner to vote for the appeal, Andrew Mwenda said, “What we have witnessed in court is what I would call a temporary reversal in an overall strategic battle or a strategic war against cultural bigotry and prejudice, so we are going to appeal to the Supreme Court, not for striking down the different components of this law but for overturning this law into its entirety”. 

The post Punishable By Death: LGBTQ Rights Under Siege in Uganda Amid New Anti-Homosexuality Law first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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