Frontline AIDS stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda
As a dehumanising and discriminatory anti-Homosexuality Act has been signed into law, we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda.
A new anti-LGBTQ+ Act approved by the Ugandan Parliament and signed into law by President Museveni will have severe consequences for the LGBTQ+ community in the country, as well as for organisations providing health and human rights services.
Same sex acts were already illegal in Uganda, but the enactment of Uganda’s 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Act goes further by introducing many new criminal offences. These include the death penalty for the offence of “aggravated homosexuality” and punishment of up to 20 years in prison for the “promotion of homosexuality.”
The Act also targets media groups, organisations and institutions distributing any materials that are deemed to promote homosexuality, which are likely to include the publication of information relating to HIV and AIDS among LGBTQ+ people. Under the new law, friends, family and community members will also have a duty to report individuals in same-sex relationships to the authorities.
Frontline AIDS is deeply concerned that this new Act is already leading to increased stigmatisation of the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda. Since its introduction, LGBTQ+ people and organisations have reported a dramatic increase in violent attacks, as well as being forcibly outed on social media, blackmailed and made homeless.
The increasingly hostile environment for LGBTQ+ people is also impacting on their access to HIV, health and social services. There is a serious danger that this new law will force a shutdown of HIV prevention, testing and treatment for the LGBTQ+ community.
Lois Chingandu, Interim Executive Director of Frontline AIDS, says:
This Act sets a dangerous precedent for the dehumanisation and discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community.
She continues, “Instead of solving fundamental problems for their people, here we see political leaders finding a vulnerable group to scapegoat and attack. This Act will leave LGBTQ+ people scared to be themselves and to seek the health services they need and jeopardises progress on our mission to end AIDS.”
As a global partnership of civil society and community organisations working together to end AIDS, Frontline AIDS expresses its solidarity with all Ugandan organisations and people affected by the Act. We remain united in our commitment to health equity and defending human rights so that we can build a future free from AIDS for everyone, everywhere.
NB: This article was updated after the Act was signed into law on 30 May 2023.