This briefing note looks at the criminalising of homosexuality through the prism of the rule of law, suggesting that the criminalisation of consensual same- sex intimacy offends against the Rule of Law. From a procedural point of view, criminalisation means that rights granted to all citizens in national constitutions, domestic laws and via international treaty obligations are being dis-applied to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) minority. From a substantive point of view, criminalisation is inconsistent with the human rights that should be present in a well-functioning domestic system.
This note demonstrates, via data and case studies, the link between democracy and the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. These data and case studies show that LGBT people are most likely to be criminalised where democracy is weak, that LGBT rights and democracy take root together, and that society turning its back on LGBT rights is a signal that democracy is in retreat.
This series of briefing notes was produced by the Human Dignity Trust in the second half of 2015. These notes aim to illustrate the link between the criminalisation of homosexuality and various aspects of good governance. They also offer information and guidance to governments, the international community, civil society and activists on how to bring about the decriminalisation of homosexuality across the globe. This research draws on our experience working with activists in criminalising countries and our expertise in international human rights law.
The Human Dignity Trust has produced a series of ground-breaking notes explaining how criminalisation interacts with various key areas of democratic values, good governance and well-being. These notes highlight how crucial decriminalisation is for states to prosper and uphold their core democratic principles. They demonstrate the variety of lenses through which criminalisation's damaging effects can be seen, from exacerbating HIV to harming businesses to undermining the rule of law.
This note by the Human Dignity Trust explains the Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisations Bill 2015 published in the Ugandan government gazette on 10 April 2015. If passed, the Bill is likely to severely restrict the activities of NGOs, and in particular those who work in support of LGBT rights.
After the Ugandan courts suspended the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) on a technical ground, the persecution of the Ugandan LGBT community continues through a new Bill, the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill, 2014 . This Human Dignity Trust’s Briefing highlights key issues. The language of the new Bill is less sensational than the AHA but it is equally draconian. This Bill expressly criminalises the non-sexual conduct of LGBT people and criminalise those who provide services to them. It may also render many LGBT people homeless.