Top Ugandan Court Seals the fate of LGBT+ people, endorses Anti-Homosexuality Act

Justices declare it can remain in force despite violating rights to health, privacy and religion


Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled today that the nation’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 violates citizens’ “right to health, privacy and freedom of religion” but did not block or suspend it.

Petitioners challenging the Anti-Homosexuality Act have been rejected by the Constitutional Court. They included Ugandan human rights lawyers and member of parliament Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, at right. (Abubaker Lubowa courtesy of Reuters and HRW)
Petitioners challenging the Anti-Homosexuality Act have been rejected by the Constitutional Court. They included Ugandan human rights lawyers and member of parliament Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, at right. (Abubaker Lubowa courtesy of Reuters and HRW)

Al Jazeera reported:

Uganda’s Constitutional Court rejects petition against anti-gay law

Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 imposes penalties of up to life in prison for consensual same-sex relations and possible death in ‘aggravated homosexuality’ cases.

Uganda’s Constitutional Court has rejected a petition seeking to annul an anti-gay law that has been roundly condemned internationally as one of the toughest in the world.

The court found [today] that some sections of the law violated the right to health and it was “inconsistent with right to health, privacy and freedom of religion” but did not block or suspend the law.

“We decline to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement,” Justice Richard Buteera, Uganda’s deputy chief justice and head of the court, said in the landmark ruling.

Uganda's Constitutional Court begins deliberations on whether the Anti=Homosexuality Law of 2023 is constitutional. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Opiyo / X)
Uganda’s Constitutional Court left the Anti-Homosexuality Act in force. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Opiyo / X)

According to Ugandan television station NTV, the five-member court reached a unanimous decision to reject the petition against the law, which enjoys broad popular support in the country.

The legislation was adopted in May, triggering outrage among the LGBTQ community, rights campaigners, the United Nations and Western nations.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 imposes penalties of up to life in prison for consensual same-sex relations and contains provisions that make “aggravated homosexuality” an offence punishable by death.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni’s government has struck a defiant tone with officials accusing the West of trying to pressure Africa into accepting homosexuality.

The Constitutional Court in Kampala began hearing the case in December.

The petition was brought by two law professors from Makerere University in Kampala, legislators from the ruling party and human rights activists.

They said the law violates fundamental rights guaranteed by Uganda’s Constitution, including freedom from discrimination and the right to privacy.

The petitioners also said it contravenes Uganda’s commitments under international human rights law, including the UN Convention against Torture.

West trying to ‘coerce us’SEE ALSO

Ani Zonneveld, founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values.
Islamic group urges Muslims to follow Pope’s model of love for LGBTQ people

A 20-year-old man became the first Ugandan to be charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under the law in August.

He was accused of “unlawful sexual intercourse with … [a] male adult aged 41”, an offence punishable by death.

Uganda, a conservative and predominantly Christian country in East Africa, is well known for its intolerance of homosexuality.

It has resisted pressure from rights organisations, the UN and foreign governments to repeal the law.

In August, the World Bank announced that it was suspending new loans to Uganda over the law because it “fundamentally contradicts” the values espoused by the international institution.

In December, Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem accused the West of seeking “to coerce us into accepting same-sex relationships using aid and loans”.

In 2014, international donors had slashed aid to Uganda after Museveni approved a bill that sought to impose life sentences for homosexual relations, which was later overturned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *