UN Reacts to Confirmation of Anti-Homosexuality Law in Uganda

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UN Reacts to Confirmation of Anti-Homosexuality Law in Uganda

The High Commissioner Calls for the Repeal of the Law

The United Nations representative for human rights, Volker Türk, expressed his deep concern on Wednesday after the Ugandan Constitutional Court ratified the anti-homosexuality law, deemed discriminatory. He urgently requested the country’s leaders to overturn this decision and other similar laws.

“Nearly 600 people are reported to have been victims of human rights violations and abuses based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity since the enactment of the law against homosexuality in May last year,” Türk stated in a declaration. “It must be repealed in its entirety, otherwise, this number will unfortunately only increase.”

He continued by emphasizing that Ugandan officials must protect the rights and dignity of every individual, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The implementation of the death penalty for consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex goes against Uganda’s international commitments in terms of human rights.

Fighting Discrimination

Türk also urged the government to eradicate all forms of discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity. He reminded that Uganda’s constitution and international treaties impose equal treatment and non-discrimination for all.

He highlighted the need to repeal Section 145 of the Penal Code, which also criminalizes consensual sexual relations between same-sex individuals. He suggested revising the Equal Opportunities Law to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as protected criteria against discrimination.

The High Commissioner called for the creation of a welcoming framework for defenders of all human rights, including those fighting for LGBTQ rights, so that they can freely exercise their right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly without discrimination.

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Reaction from UNAIDS

UNAIDS also reacted to the court’s decision. Anne Githuku-Shongwe, the Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, highlighted that the criminalization of high-risk groups, such as the LGBTQ+ communities, limits their access to essential health care and HIV prevention services, endangering public health and the effectiveness of the response to HIV in the country.

“To achieve the goal of ending the AIDS pandemic by 2030, it is essential to ensure that everyone has equal access to health services, without fear,” she concluded, emphasizing the importance of equitable access to health care for all.

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