INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA
Anti Homosexuality Act: The Aftermath.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) this year comes in the wake of the passing of the HIV/AIDS Control and Prevention Bill 2010 by the parliament of Uganda, which a waits the president’s ascent. The Bill which is intended to provide a legal framework geared towards prevention, control and reduction of HIV infections, comes with a punishment of up to 10years imprisonment for intentional infection of another with HIV. The ‘HIV Bill’ is yet another unnecessary legislation that is already catered for in the penal code of Uganda under section 171.
“The parliament of Uganda has continued to pass legislations aimed at suppressing not only the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons but all citizens of Uganda. Freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination are fundamental human rights guaranteed by several international Human Rights instruments and also by the constitution of the Republic of Uganda. These laws punish anybody who dares to act, love or dress differently. The passing of the Anti Pornography Act saw women being stripped naked on the streets. All this is because parliament is in a hurry to pass laws without sensitizing the public and with no clear guidelines as to the implementation of these laws. ” Remarked Junic Wambya, the executive director of Freedom and Roam Uganda.
According to a recent situation report compiled by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG); (From Torment to Tyranny), persecution of perceived LGBTI persons since the passing of the Anti Homosexuality Act (AHA) has increased from 8 incidences in 2013 to a staggering 162 incidence in the last four months. This number only includes reported cases. It is important to note that most cases of abuse against LGBTI persons are never reported hence they are not documented. The fear of embarrassment after sexual violence and the hopelessness that comes with knowing no justice will come from seeking legal intervention as the police is more inclined to punish the victim/survivor than the perpetrator, makes such cases go un noticed.
After the AHA was signed into law on 24th Feb 2014, the media especially tabloids ‘outed’ suspected homosexuals and LGBTI activists, which exposed and made them more vulnerable to physical abuse, blackmail, kidnap, family disownment, eviction and suicide among others. Many have been pushed further into the closet and have settled for or been forced into heterosexual marriages by their families. Levels of alcohol and substance abuse have shot up leading to violence in same sex relationships, depression and many activists have been forced to flee the country for asylum.
LGBTI organizing has become increasingly difficult making it even harder to avail health and other services to LGBTI persons by both LGBTI organizations and allies as any attempt at mobilization is seen as promotion or aiding and abetting, both punishable according to the Anti Homosexuality Act, but this is not going to hinder FARUG’s programmes.
We appeal for continued support to the LGBTI community in Uganda. With the ever increasing incidences of violence, a lot of financial help is needed to verify, investigate, relocate and access legal aid for victims.
IDAHOT was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policy makers, opinion to public discrimination experienced by LGBTI persons internationally. The theme for 2014 is Freedom of Expression.
Freedom and Roam Uganda.