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June 13, 2024
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Human Rights Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo Sits With Ugandan Lawyers Inside The Registrar's Chambers To File A Petition Against The Anti Gay Law At The Constitutional Court In Kampala
Human Rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo and West Budama North East Constituency Member of Parliament Fox Odoi-Oywelowo sit with Ugandan lawyers inside the registrar's chambers to file a petition against the Anti-gay law at the constitutional court in Kampala, Uganda October 2, 2023. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

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Ugandan Court Moves Toward Hearing Challenge To Anti-gay Law

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in May, is one of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws and punishes some same-sex acts with the death penalty. Lawyers in the case met before the court registrar and agreed to reconvene on Oct. 12, when the matter will be forwarded to the court’s judges to set a hearing date, according to Nicholas Opiyo, an attorney for the organizations contesting the law. At least six people have been charged under the law so far, and rights groups said last week they had documented hundreds of cases of torture, evictions, and intimidation against LGBTQ people this year.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 violates multiple fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s constitution and breaks commitments made by the government as a signatory to a number of international human rights agreements. Uganda’s penal code already punishes same-sex conduct with life imprisonment, but the new law creates new crimes such as the vaguely worded “promotion of homosexuality” and introduces the death penalty for several acts considered as “aggravated homosexuality.” It also increases the prison sentence for attempted same-sex conduct to 10 years. Museveni’s signing of the anti-homosexuality bill is a serious blow to multiple fundamental rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and association, privacy, and equality.

The LGBTQ+ community in Uganda has been facing persecution and discrimination for years, and the Anti-Homosexuality Act has only made things worse. The law has been widely condemned by human rights organizations and governments around the world, and many have called for its repeal. The case against the law is ongoing, and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be

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