Eteeka Lyayita Volume 2: A documentation of violations towards LGBTQI+ persons from September, 2023 to May, 2024.

The Strategic Response Team (SRT) Uganda has launched the second volume of the Eteeka Lyayita, a report that highlights the violations towards the sexual and gender community of Uganda. The Strategic Response Team (SRT) Uganda is a consortium of five entities dedicated to documenting and coordinating community response and referral mechanisms for safe shelter, access to justice, and health services, has released the second edition of its comprehensive report. Covering the period from September 2023 to May 2024, this report reveals the harrowing impact of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) on the LGBTQ+ community. The SRT, formed in response to the increasing witch-hunt of LGBTQ+ persons and the opposition from anti-LGBTQ+ and sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) groups, aims to strategically mitigate the harm inflicted on LGBTQ+ individuals and their organizations.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, signed into law on May 29, 2023, criminalizes homosexuality, aggravated homosexuality, promotion of homosexuality, and mandates the reporting of suspected LGBTQ+ persons. Despite legal challenges, the law was upheld by the Constitutional Court of Uganda, with only a few sections nullified. This has resulted in widespread violence, discrimination, and human rights abuses against LGBTQ+ individuals, perpetuated by misleading campaigns and misinformation.

The report documents 1,031 cases directly affecting 1,043 LGBTQ+ persons, encompassing multiple human rights violations and abuses. Here are some of the key findings:

1. Forced Evictions and Loss of Shelter:
– 434 cases of evictions from premises and banishments were recorded.
– Landlords and Local Council leaders were the most frequent perpetrators, enforcing provisions of the AHA that mandated denial of housing to LGBTQ+ persons.

2. Violence and Threats:
– 309 cases of violence against LGBTQ+ persons were documented, including physical violence (92 cases), threatening violence and verbal attacks (87 cases), public outing and exposure (59 cases), cyber and online attacks (41 cases), police raids and summoning (15 cases), and blackmail and extortion (15 cases).
– These acts violate multiple constitutional rights, including freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to dignity.

3. Discrimination:
– 108 cases of discrimination were documented, involving family rejection (51 cases), termination and loss of employment (35 cases), exclusion from social services (21 cases), and denial of a passport (1 case).
– These acts violate the right to equality and freedom from discrimination.

4. Mental and Physical Health Challenges:
– 92 cases related to mental and physical health were documented, including conversion practices, denial or failure to access health services, suicide attempts, self-harm, abuse of harmful drugs, and anxiety and panic attacks.
– The general climate of fear propagated by the AHA has led to LGBTQ+ persons shunning mainstream health services.

5. Arrests and Legal Charges:
– 69 arrests were documented, with 47 related to charges under the AHA and 22 without charges.
– Charges under the AHA included homosexuality (31 cases), aggravated homosexuality (11 cases), attempted homosexuality (3 cases), and promotion of homosexuality (2 cases).
– 33 forced anal examinations were recorded, violating the right to health and other constitutional rights.

6. Sexual Assault:
– 19 cases of sexual assault, including corrective rape, forced marriages, and reproductive coercion through childbearing, were documented.
– These acts violate multiple human rights, including freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to health.

The SRT’s report highlights the severe and pervasive impact of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act on the LGBTQ+ community. It underscores the urgent need for coordinated efforts to protect the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ individuals in Uganda. Despite the challenges, the SRT remains committed to documenting and responding to these abuses, advocating for justice, and providing support to victims.

Here is the link to the full report