Uganda report: Increase in LGBTQI+ assaults and human rights violations need urgent activist responses

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
SRT report cover

SRT report on impact of legislation in Uganda

On 28 September 2023, Strategic Response Team (STG) in Uganda published a new report documenting 306 cases of abuse and discrimination this year when criminalisation laws were publicised and passed against LGBTQI+ people. [1]

These figures are likely to be an underestimate, as many people are too frightened to report these assaults.

The new law, the Anti Homosexuality Act, includes the death penalty for same-sex activity and 10-year prison sentences for people who support LGBTQI+ people or who do not report them.

The 48-page report details an increase in cases of people being exposed, tortured, beaten, arrested and outed and who have suffered physical, sexual and psychological violence, including evictions and banishments, blackmail, loss of employment and health service disruptions.

The report documents:

  • 180 cases of evictions, displacement and banishment from villages and family homes.
  • 176 cases of violating and abusing the right to freedom from inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.
  • 159 cases of violation and abuse of the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, including 25 by the state.
  • 102 cases of of mental health conditions directly linked with violations, abuse and the general climate of fear. Most of these presented with anxiety and panic attacks, suicidal ideation, and depression.
  • That since 2022, many organisations that supported LGBT+ rights have been evicted and raided or closed by the police.
  • That the climate of fear has disconnected people from health care, including for HIV and sexual health.

Each case is documented by notes, police bond forms, bail forms, medical forms, rulings, and judgments. Additional verification involved interviews with clients, witnesses, paralegals, community responders, and lawyers directly involved. Cases of sexual assault however were particularly difficult to assess.

The report explains: “Queer people are routinely attacked by family members, neighbours, friends and co-workers, accusing them of being a disgrace to themselves and society” and that many assaults “have been mob attacks mobilised by neighbours, family members or community members.”

These cases breach human rights that should be protected under Articles 24 and 44 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. These rights are also stressed in Articles 1 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The report includes specific recommendations for the following individuals and organisations in Uganda and internationally.

  • The Constitutional Court of Uganda.
  • The President of Uganda.
  • The Parliament of Uganda.
  • The Uganda Police Force.
  • The Uganda Law Reform Commission.
  • The Uganda Human Rights Commission.
  • The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
  • The National Bureau for NGOs (NGO Bureau).
  • The Civil Society Organisations.
  • The US, the EU, the UK and other donor governments.

These include a call for the impact of the law to be documented and for the law to be repealed.


Once established, human rights are usually difficult to take away and the decision to withdraw rights from LGBT+ people in Uganda is an urgent issue that needs to be challenged until the law is overturned.

Failure to achieve this risks other countries copying Uganda, already threatened by Kenya and Tanzania. Legislation seeking to outlaw LGBT+ people have been proposed in Kenya, but have since been thrown out by the Supreme Court in Kenya, with activists calling for trade negotiations between the US and Kenya to be a linked issue. [2, 3]

Health activists, including Uganda’s Convening For Equality and HealthGAP, have been lobbying to make this a political issue in Western countries. In August, a significant outcome was achieved when the World Bank put any current loans to Uganda on hold. [4]

The Supreme Court in Mauritius also recently declared that discrimination against LGBT+ people is unconstitutional. [5]

In the UK however, a recent speech by Home Secretary Suella Braverman when visiting the US, supported the discrimination in Uganda by saying that these abuses against LGBT+ people are not sufficiently serious to enable international migration. Braverman’s parents emigrated to the UK from Kenya and Mauritius. [6]

BASHH has issued a statement in response to the speeches. [7]


  1. SRT Uganda. “ETEEKA LYAYITA… EVEN THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT LIKE YOU HOMOSEXUALS.” Lives at risk: A report on documented human rights violations and abuses of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer plus persons (LGBTIQ+) in Uganda. (28 September 2023). (PDF)
  2. US Resumes Kenya Trade Talks Despite LGBTQ Groups Opposition. (4 October 2023).
  3. Supreme Court throws out Kaluma’s petition challenging LGBTQ ruling. (13 September 2023).
  4. HealthGAP and The Uganda Solidarity Coalition. Convening for equality. Building global power against anti-LGBTQ+ hate.
  5. Human Dignity Trust (HDT). Mauritius Supreme Court rules law targeting LGBT people is unconstitutional. (4 October 2023).
  6. Politico. UK’s Suella Braverman says LGBTQ+ persecution not enough for asylum claims. (26 September 2023).
  7. BASHH. BASHH statement in response to the comments by the Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP. (2 October 2023).

This report was first posted on 30 September 2023.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.