Uganda: Stop Harming Your Own Citizens
ReportOUT strongly condemns the recent decision of the Ugandan government to pass their Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2023). This toxic Bill will cause more harm than good, and should it be signed into law, it will harm more Ugandan citizens than it proposes to 'protect.'
Furthermore, this Bill should be revealed for what it is. This is a Bill which will cause irreparable harm to sexual and gender minorities and their allies, it will halt any development progress in tackling HIV and AIDS, and will leave the human rights of Uganda's most marginalised population, in shreds. This Bill is an easy vote winner, set to appease the wider Ugandan public, and designed to distract attention away from Uganda's slow economic growth, food insecurity issue, rising unemployment, and job losses, as forecast by the World Bank.
Our own OUT in Uganda Report, produced in 2020, with several Ugandan LGBTQI+ partner organisations, identified some worrying findings back then. Such as:
Three quarters of sexual and gender minorities stated that Uganda is 'very unsafe.' Factors such as community mob violence, persecution by the state, brutality by the police, and removal from housing by tenants after finding out their SOGIESC status, was common.
The mental health of many sexual and gender minorities is very poor, and a quarter of the respondents reported that their physical health was 'getting worse.'
Over half would not access healthcare services due to discrimination and fear of being reported to the police.
Over half would not report a crime to the police, fearing their own persecution.
60% of sexual and gender minorities had been tortured within the previous 12 months of the research taking place.
A third of sexual and gender minorities live below the Ugandan Minimum Wage each month and 65% of them, live below the International Poverty line of $1.90 per day.
At the time, we all hoped that the situation may change for the better as we saw some promising results elsewhere in Africa, with Sudan removing the death penalty for homosexuality and with other nations such as Botswana, Gabon, and Angola, all decriminalising homosexuality around the same time.