Uganda’s government has passed one of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws, leading to a surge in abuse against the LGBTQ community. The Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) imposes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts. Since its enactment in May, at least six people have been charged under the law, including two facing the capital offense of “aggravated homosexuality.”
A report released by the Convening for Equality (CFE) coalition reveals that the majority of human rights abuses against LGBTQ individuals have been committed by private individuals. These abuses include torture, rape, arrest, and eviction. The report suggests that the law and the preceding homophobic rhetoric have radicalized the public against the LGBTQ community, making mob-aided arrests increasingly common.
Between January 1 and August 31, researchers documented 306 rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with state actors responsible for 25 of those cases. In comparison, previous reports from 2020 and 2021 found that state actors were responsible for nearly 70 percent of documented rights violations. The report does not provide comparative figures for 2022.
The report also highlights instances where the police conducted forced anal examinations to gather “evidence” of homosexuality. Survivors of these examinations describe the experience as traumatic and long-lasting. The police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, has not yet commented on the report.
The report acknowledges that its statistics may not be exhaustive due to the difficulties LGBTQ individuals face in reporting violations. It also notes that the climate of fear and intimidation created by the law has resulted in a rise in mental health conditions within the LGBTQ community, including suicidal thoughts.
Since its passage, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act has faced widespread condemnation globally. In response to the legislation, the United States took action in June, and the World Bank announced in August that it was pausing project financing to the country.