Uganda Is Sticking to Its Anti-LGBTQ Law Despite Petions to Annul

Uganda’s Constitutional Court while noting that some sections of the country's Anti-gay laws law violated the right to health, privacy and freedom of religion rejected petitions to suspend the law.

1 min read
Uganda Is Sticking to Its Anti-LGBTQ Law Despite Petions to Annul
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2020.John Muchucha / AP file

Uganda Constitutional Court on Wednesday stood firm on its decision to uphold one of the world’s harshest anti-LGBTQ laws, despite widespread international condemnation and the suspension of funding from global institutions.

The law, known as the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, has faced widespread condemnation both locally and internationally. It imposes harsh penalties for individuals involved in same-sex relations, including life imprisonment and even death in cases of so-called “aggravated homosexuality.

In a ruling delivered in the capital, Kampala, the court rejected a petition seeking to overturn the legislation. Justice Richard Buteera, Uganda’s deputy chief justice and head of the court, stated, “We decline to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement.”

Despite acknowledging that certain sections of the law violated rights such as health, privacy, and freedom of religion, the court did not suspend or block its enforcement.

The decision comes after mounting pressure from international organizations and governments. The World Bank suspended financial assistance to Uganda over the law, and the United States cautioned investors about the risks of operating in the country, leading to exclusion from trade deals.

“While this ruling may disappoint those advocating for LGBTQ rights, it reflects the prevailing sentiment within Uganda, where the law enjoys significant support,” said Uganda’s Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum. Nicholas Opiyo one of the lawyers representing the petitioners challenging the law indicated that they might seek further legal action by appealing the decision to the Supreme Court.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni’s government has maintained a defiant stance, accusing Western nations of attempting to impose their values on Africa. The government argues that the law reflects the country’s conservative and predominantly Christian beliefs.

The petition against the law was brought by various parties, including law professors, legislators, and human rights activists, who argued that it violated fundamental rights guaranteed by Uganda’s Constitution and international human rights law.

Leave a Reply