Uganda: repeal of Anti-Homosexuality Act helps end discrimination

7 April 2015, 16:18 UTC | Uganda
19 November 2009 protest at Uganda House, New York, against the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. © Kaytee Riek

The striking-down of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in August 2014 is a step towards stopping state-sponsored discrimination in its tracks.

“Even though Uganda’s abominable Anti-Homosexuality Act was scrapped on the basis of a technicality, it is a significant victory for Ugandan activists who have campaigned against this law. Since it was first being floated in 2009, these activists have often put their safety on the line to ensure that Ugandan law upholds human rights principles,” said Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.

“We now hope that this step forward translates into real improvements in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in Uganda, who have been trapped in a vicious circle of discrimination, threats, abuse and injustice for too long.”

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act came into force in March 2014. Since then, Amnesty International documented a sharp increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

Many lost their jobs, were left homeless or were forced to flee the country.

Uganda's Constitutional Court ruled that the Act was "null and void" as not enough representatives were in the room for the vote when it was passed by parliament in December 2013. However, Section 145 of Uganda’s Penal Code, which remains in force, continues to criminalize “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”

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