Accepted paper:

State Homophobia and the Sodomy Laws: The Struggle of Sexual Minorities in Uganda


Douglas Ribeiro Weber (University of Minho)

Paper short abstract:

In February 2014, the President of Uganda enacted an Anti-Homosexuality Act whose text provided for the criminalization of anyone promoting or practicing homosexual acts. The Law was invalidated by the Ugandan Constitutional Court, but its content remains in the expression of government.

Paper long abstract:

The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 is just one example of legislation that discriminates against and marginalizes sexual minorities. In force in the country since 1950, the Penal Code of Uganda provides sanctions resulting from offenses against morality and, in this context, punishes practices that are considered against nature or its attempted to commit unnatural offenses. Such legal provisions, besides constituting an invasion of individuals' privacy, legitimize violence against LGBTI persons. In addition, they attack their dignity in dealing with affective feelings and conduct regarding homosexuality as counter-crimes. They are provisions that can be used to destroy careers and lives by promoting and inciting violence, giving the state the power to arrest, blackmail and abuse, leading LGBTI people to live in invisibility and fear. Sexual minorities in Uganda, at least since colonization and the emergence of laws that combat homosexuality, have always lived in a politically hostile and dangerous environment. The content of the Act sanctioned and annulled in 2014 and the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uganda itself contradict the Constitution of that country, which provides for the protection of rights to equality and freedom, the protection of personal liberty, respect for human dignity and protection against inhuman or degrading treatment. Moreover, such State homophobia characterized by the laws and the way in which LGBTI persons are treated by public authorities in Uganda, also defies obligations under international treaties ratified by Uganda and which guarantee the protection of fundamental rights such as dignity, equality and non-discrimination.

panel Law02
LGBT human rights in Africa: struggles and strategies