On 1 August 2014 the Ugandan Constitutional Court declared Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) void on the basis that Parliament did not have the required quorum when the Act was passed on 20 December 2013. Under Uganda’s Constitution, at least one-third of the members of Parliament entitled to vote must be present when proposed legislation is voted upon. The Court ruled that the AHA was passed without the required quorum, in contravention of the Constitution, and that the Speaker acted illegally in allowing a vote. This rendered the process of enactment “an illegality that [the] Court cannot sanction.”
On 9 October 2014, Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh signed his assent to the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2014, passed by the Gambian Parliament on 25 August 2014. The Act further criminalises the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Gambia.
Téa Braun, ‘Dark Side of the Moon: The Legacy of British Sexual Offences Laws in the Commonwealth’, presentation to Legal and Judicial Legacies of Empire Conference, 17 June 2014.
While awaiting directions from the Court in respect of a hearing, the Northern Cyprus Parliament – prompted in part by this litigation – repealed the offending provisions on 27 January 2014. The Presidential assent was given on 6 February 2014 and the gazetting took place on 7 February 2014. The Human Dignity Trust submitted a letter to the Court on 1 April 2014 seeking to have the case discontinued. On 3 June 2014 the Court decided to strike the case from its list, thereby formally ending the proceedings.
This report considers instances of persecution of the LGBT community in Uganda as recorded by Ugandan civil society organisations in the period of a little over four months after the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed by the Ugandan Parliament on 20th December 2013. As this report establishes, an alarming increase in instances of harassment and maltreatment can be traced back to the passing of the Act through Parliament.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights’, during its 55th ordinary session (28 April – 12 May 2014) adopted the historic ‘Resolution on the Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the Basis of their Real or Imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity’. Condemning the acts of violence and systematic attacks by state and non-state acts, the resolution calls on State Parties to ensure an enabling environment for human rights defenders and end all such acts of violence and abuse.