Briefing on the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act (2014)

On 24 February 2014, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed his assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 (AHA), passed by the Ugandan Parliament on 20 December 2013. This is the Human Dignity Trust's briefing on the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) was signed by President Museveni on 24 February 2014 and appeared in the official Uganda Gazette on 10 March 2014, when it entered into force. Under pre-existing law, Uganda criminalises consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults in private which attracts a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The AHA further criminalises the LGBTI community and their allies in Uganda.

The expanded forms of criminalisation under the Act include offences of ‘aggravated homosexuality’, ‘the promotion of homosexuality’ and, ‘aiding and abetting homosexuality’. Criminalisation under the Act further contravenes Uganda’s Constitution as well as its binding international treaty obligations, which guarantee fundamental rights to dignity, equality, non-discrimination, privacy, life, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention and freedom of expression and association.

In addition to violating a number of fundamental human rights, the criminalisation of homosexuality has been recognised by experts as seriously impeding public health outcomes, in particular the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. Such laws hinder the effectiveness of strategies and measures designed to contain the HIV epidemic.

This briefing note, prepared by the Human Dignity Trust, outlines the purpose and objectives of the Act, the offences and penalties under the Act and the implications of the Act on the LGBTI community. One of the main concerns about the Act is the breadth and ambiguity of its provisions.

The briefing note also address the international reaction to the legislation and the legal challenge to the Act in Oloka-Onyango et al v Attorney General of Uganda.

Download the briefing note