Ugandans Petition Court to Block Anti-Homosexuality Law
A protest against the Anti-Homosexuality law in New York.

Two different court challenges of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill have been launched over the past week.

The first involves 10 Ugandans and a human rights organisation, which have petitioned the country’s Constitutional Court to prevent the Anti-Homosexuality Act signed into law on Monday from being implemented.

According to the petition, the law is unconstitutional as it violates a number of constitutional rights, including the rights of children as it allows for prison sentences for LGBTQ children, and it was introduced without public participation. According to the rules of the Ugandan Parliament,  every bill should be considered for at least 45 days at the committee level but this law was went through Parliament in about 30 days, without public engagement.

The Attorney General has 10 days to respond to the petition, which has been filed by a Member of Parliament, academics and activists alongside the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF). 

MP Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, academics Professor Sylvia Tamale and Dr Busingye Kambymba and journalist Andrew Mwenda have joined forces with activists Frank Mugisha, Jacqueline Nabagesera, Richard Smith Lusimbo and Eris Ndawula to oppose the law.

The second petition filed with the Constitutional Court involves nine Ugandans, some of the same as in the first petition. It includes the only two MPs to vote against the bill in parliament, Fox Odoi-Oywelowo and Paul Kwizera Bucyana; Jane Nasiimbwa, who has a queer child, human rights activists Pepe Onziema and Frank Mugisha; feminist lawyer Linda Mutesi and feminist activist Jackline Kemigisa, diplomat Kintu Nyago, and journalist Andrew Mwenda.


Kemigisha, writing in openDemocracy this week, said she is “petitioning against this law simply because I am a Black African, and it is anti-Black to class queer Ugandans as non-humans deserving of life in prison or even death”.

“Queerness is well documented in our historical societies, including in the royal court of the Buganda kingdom, the nucleus around which colonialists cobbled present-day Uganda. To disown queer Ugandans is to disown both our past and our present,” she added.

The draconian law introduces the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, prison terms for up to 20 years and fines for a wide range of people who provide services to LGBTQ people, including landlords.

Since Parliament passed the law earlier this month, there has been an increase in evictions as well as violence against people suspected of being LGBTQ.

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