5. April 2023

Stop “Anti-Homosexuality” law

The “Anti-Homosexualilty” law in Uganda provides for up to life imprisonment and even the death penalty for homosexuality and queer identities. Once passed by parliament, it only needs President Yoweri Museveni’s signature to become reality. It would make Uganda one of the most hostile places in the world for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

If the international community remains inactive, the law may come into effect within the next few weeks and lead to fatal human rights violations. Already the proposal of the “Anti-Homosexuality” law has led to a steep rise in homophobic hatred and massive violence against the LGBTQIA+ community. If implemented, this law would make living with dignity for LGBTQIA+ persons in Uganda entirely impossible.

We therefore appeal to the German government for acute support. We call upon you:

  • Use every diplomatic opportunity-including targeted sanctions-to convince President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill.
  • Initiate an official condemnation of the proposed law in international fora such as the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • Support LGBTQIA+ and human rights organizations in Uganda to sustain and expand their work in the emergency situation.
  • Organize and fund safe escape options for people in danger.

No person should be persecuted or punished on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.


Why is this important?


The LGBTQIA+ community in Uganda ist acutely threatened

The LGBTQIA+ community in Uganda has been under attack for years. According to documentation by various human rights organizations, for example Human Rights Watch, queer people have been increasingly attacked by mobs, evicted from shelters or denied access to health services in recent months. Homophobic hatred is fueled primarily by regressive religious institutions, especially conservative Anglican and evangelical churches, most of which are funded from the United States. At the same time, government institutions have also increasingly contributed to a homophobic environment. A recent government report recommended the closure of LGBTQIA+ friendly organizations. The repression of the LGBTQIA+ community culminated in the passage of the “Anti-Homosexuality” bill in Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday.

The “anti-homosexuality” law contains fatal human rights violations

In the parliamentary session, the repressive measures previously provided for in the bill were tightened up to the death penalty. For example, the passed “Anti-Homosexuality” law criminalizes same-sex relationships or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex identities with life imprisonment. The law sentences HIV-positive people to death if convicted of homosexuality and also makes same-sex relationships with a person with a disability or a person of advanced age punishable by death. The bill further criminalizes allies of the LGBTQIA+ community. Providing medical care, housing, legal advice, or even queer-friendly statements in the media can be punished by up to 10 years in prison. The portrayal of homosexuality in the media is also to be prosecuted. In a global comparison, the bill thus represents one of the most discriminatory legal documents against LGBTQIA+ people.

The emergency requires international solidarity

While homosexuality in Uganda is already criminalized by existing legislation, this law represents a significant intensification. The proposal of the law alone has triggered homophobic discussions in the media and several cases of mob violence in recent weeks. It must be assumed that the passed law will further fuel discrimination and result in a sharp increase in persecution and displacement of LGBTQIA+ people unprecedented in Uganda.

While human rights and LGBTQIA+ community organizations on the ground are working hard right now to prevent or mitigate the worst, they also rely on international solidarity. In the past, international efforts have helped prevent similar legislative proposals from being enacted and have immensely supported the safety of the LGBTQIA+ community. The German government is in an influential position internationally and, especially given its feminist foreign policy, has a responsibility to initiate preventive and reparative diplomatic measures against such anti-queer policies in Uganda.