Uganda’s Anti-LGBTQ Bill: A Violation of Human Rights

We condemn the recent passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act by Uganda’s legislature, which further criminalizes LGBTQ individuals and their allies, violates their human rights, and undermines the country’s democratic values and international reputation. This bill, which has been in the making for years, resurrects the same discriminatory and harmful provisions that were struck down by the Ugandan Constitutional Court in 2014 and should be challenged again.

The Context and Implications of the Anti-LGBTQ Bill

The Anti-Homosexuality Act seeks to criminalize not only same-sex relations but also “promotion” of homosexuality, defined vaguely as any “propaganda”, “publicity”, or “recruitment” of LGBTQ persons, including in media, schools, churches, or NGOs. Those who commit “aggravated homosexuality”, such as same-sex acts with minors or disabled persons, face the death penalty, while those who commit “homosexuality” or “promotion” face imprisonment or fines.

This bill reflects the government’s hostility towards LGBTQ people, who already face widespread discrimination, violence, and harassment in Uganda. It also echoes the influence of conservative and evangelical groups from the US and other countries that have exported their anti-LGBTQ agenda to Africa and elsewhere, often in the guise of promoting “family values”, “religious freedom”, or “morality”. Such groups have been implicated in the persecution of LGBTQ activists and the suppression of scientific, medical, and human rights evidence that counters their myths and stereotypes.

The consequences of the Anti-Homosexuality Act are dire for the LGBTQ community in Uganda and beyond. They include increased stigma, isolation, and fear; decreased access to healthcare, education, and employment; and reduced support from allies and donors. They also contribute to a broader climate of repression, censorship, and authoritarianism that affects all citizens and undermines democracy, pluralism, and justice.

The Human Rights and International Law Implications of the Anti-LGBTQ Bill

The Anti-Homosexuality Act violates numerous human rights and international law standards that Uganda has ratified and pledged to uphold. These include the rights to non-discrimination, equality, privacy, freedom of expression, assembly, and association; the right to health, education, and work; the right to due process and a fair trial; and the prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.

These violations are not only a matter of domestic concern but also of global significance. They undermine the universal values and principles of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other human rights instruments that protect the dignity and diversity of all human beings, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other status. They also violate the legal obligations and commitments of Uganda under regional and international human rights treaties, such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The Call to Action and Solidarity with the LGBTQ Community

We call upon the government of Uganda to repeal the Anti-Homosexuality Act and respect the human rights and dignity of all its citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We also call upon the international community, including the UN, the EU, the US, and other states and organizations, to condemn this bill and support the LGBTQ community in Uganda and beyond, through diplomatic pressure, financial assistance, and human rights monitoring and reporting.

We express our solidarity and support with the LGBTQ community in Uganda, who are facing immense challenges and risks for their identity and activism. We recognize their courage, resilience, and contributions to the human rights and social justice movements, and we stand with them in their struggle for freedom, equality, and dignity. We urge all individuals and organizations, including media outlets and online platforms, to use their platforms and voices to amplify the voices and stories of LGBTQ Ugandans and counter the harmful and misleading narratives that fuel discrimination and hate.


The Anti-Homosexuality Act passed by Uganda’s legislature is a grave violation of human rights, democracy, and international law. It targets and scapegoats LGBTQ individuals and their allies, perpetuates stigma, discrimination, and violence, and undermines the fundamental values and principles of a just and inclusive society. We must reject this bill and all forms of bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance, and support the LGBTQ community in Uganda and beyond. Let us remember that human rights are not a matter of opinion or preference, but a matter of dignity and justice for all.

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