Report: Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative [Empirical evidence and strategic alternatives from an African perspective]

This report uses scientific, historical, anthropological and comparative social data from other sub-Saharan African states to debunk the theories behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Parliament as not only factually unfounded but also essentially un-African.

Below is an outline of the findings of the report:

i. Uganda’s own Human Rights Commission, in its Annual Report of 2009, indicated that the proposed law would violate Uganda’s international human rights treaty obligations and fail to address issues such as HIV prevention and coercive or forced sexual relations.

ii. Historical and anthropological evidence shows that same sex relationships existed throughout Africa, including in the territories that now make up Uganda, long before colonisation by Western powers.

iii. Current homophobic attitudes date from the colonial period and are strongest in those countries that were once part of the British Empire. Uganda’s laws criminalising homosexuality stem entirely from laws introduced by the British colonial administration in 1902 and 1950 in an attempt to counter what was seen at the time as dangerous sexual tendencies among Ugandans. Ubuntu (or ‘African humanism’) extends tolerance towards and acceptance of other sexualities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. Consequently, it is more correct to see homophobia as alien to Africa rather than homosexuality.

iv. According to the widespread consensus of psychiatric and psychological bodies, same-sex attraction is not an alterable mental disorder.

v. Homosexuality does not affect the traditional Ugandan Family Unity. The two countries with the highest fertility and birth rates in the world do not criminalise homosexuality. Countries such as Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Congo, which have never criminalised homosexuality, do not have ever-increasing populations of gay men and lesbian women, and the traditional African family unit which forms part of their respective societies is alive and well. vi. Incontrovertible scientific data, which has been acknowledged by various African and international figures, shows that the spread of HIV is actually facilitated by expanded criminalisation of homosexuality. vii. Child sexual abuse will not be prevented by this bill banning sexual relations between two consenting adults. Instead, sex with minors, who are by definition under the age of consent, should be criminalised. viii. Gay and lesbian people are not

seeking special privileges or rights, they are simply seeking enforcement of the rights enjoyed by all Ugandans under the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. Drawing on this data the report makes four recommendations as political and legislative alternatives to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill: a. Amend sexual offence laws to ensure offences and sentences are gender neutral so all perpetrators can be brought to justice. b. Implement a system of mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse. c. Increase access to health services without discrimination

For the full report click here to download pdf



Advocating for and protecting the rights of the sexual and gender minorities in Uganda.

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