In May this year , The Ugandan Parliament passed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, which garnered international attention and sparked outrage due to its discriminatory and repressive nature. This legislation targeted the LGBTIQ+ community, criminalizing same-sex relationships and activities. This controversial law has not only created a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ individuals but has also been used as a pretext to infringe upon a wide range of human rights. A report documenting the effects of this law on the LGBTIQ+ community of Uganda has been compiled and shared by the Strategic Response Team.
According to this report, the most glaring violations documented since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 has been the widespread infringement of the right to housing and shelter. According to the report, there have been a shocking 180 cases of evictions targeting LGBTQ+ individuals and families. These evictions often stem from discrimination and prejudice, forcing vulnerable individuals into homelessness. The denial of a safe and secure place to live not only infringes on their basic human rights but also exposes them to further risks of violence and exploitation.
The right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment is a fundamental human right enshrined in both the Ugandan constitution and international law. Sadly, this right has been consistently violated in Uganda since the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 came into effect. Reports reveal a horrifying 176 cases of torture, abuse, and degrading treatment inflicted upon LGBTIQ+ individuals. These abuses range from physical violence to psychological trauma, perpetrated by both state and non-state actors. Such acts are not only a gross violation of human rights but also a stain on Uganda’s international reputation.
Equality before the law is a cornerstone of any just and fair society. However, since the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, 159 cases of violations and abuse of the right to equality and freedom from discrimination have been documented. LGBTIQ+ individuals in Uganda continue to face systemic discrimination and prejudice, which hinders their access to education, healthcare, employment, and other essential services. This discrimination perpetuates a cycle of inequality and injustice, leaving these individuals marginalized and vulnerable.
Mental health is a critical aspect of an individual’s overall well-being, and it is deeply interconnected with human rights. The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 has taken a toll on the mental health of LGBTIQ+ individuals in Uganda. The documented 102 cases of mental health issues among this community highlight the psychological trauma endured due to discrimination, violence, and social exclusion. Stigmatization and fear of persecution contribute significantly to mental health challenges, making it imperative to address the broader human rights violations that underlie these issues.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda has had far-reaching consequences, not only for the LGBTIQ+ community but also for the broader human rights landscape. The violations of the right to housing and shelter, freedom from torture, cruel and degrading treatment, the right to equality, and freedom from discrimination, as well as the documented mental health issues, paint a grim picture of the human rights situation in the country.
It is essential for the international community, human rights organizations, and concerned citizens to continue to pressure the Ugandan government to repeal this discriminatory law and work towards a more inclusive and equitable society where the rights of all individuals are respected and protected. Until then, the struggle for LGBTIQ+ rights in Uganda remains a crucial battle for human rights and dignity.