New Report Sheds Light on Violations against LGBTI Persons in Uganda

By Benetech, posted on

The Benetech Human Rights Program celebrates the success of the Uganda Consortium of our partner organizations in producing a new, high-quality report on persecution and discrimination against Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) community. Released on July 23 in Kampala, the 2015 Report on Violations Based on Sex Determination, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation aims to assist in advocacy efforts by providing an evidentiary record of human rights violations experienced by the LGBTI community to policymakers, law enforcement members, and the local and international community at large. It is a publication of the Consortium on Monitoring Violations Based on Sex Determination, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. Since its inception, our Human Rights team has extended capacity building and technical support to the Consortium and its member organizations.

The report is a major achievement in their efforts to monitor and document the full range of human rights violations targeting LGBTI persons in Uganda. It verifies and documents 89 cases with violations of LGBTI rights in 2014, including, among others, denial of access to legal counsel, excessive violence during arrests, forced testing for HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections, forced eviction, denial of employment, and suspension or closure of organizations working on issues of LGBTI persons. The report sheds light on the role of the police in these incidents, revealing that, in many cases, the Uganda Police Force participated in the violation of the rights of LGBTI individuals and/or condoned their abuses by third parties. The report also shows that the passing of the 2014 Anti-Homosexuality Act fueled violations and abuses of rights of LGBTI persons in Uganda during that year. (The act was eventually ruled invalid by the Constitutional Court of Uganda on August 1, 2014.) Moreover, it includes a comprehensive analysis of the implications of the documented violations, as well as recommendations for improving human rights conditions in Uganda to conform to domestic and international standards.

This publication represents very strong documentation work, using a qualitative method to collect and verify the data. Officers affiliated with the Consortium’s member organizations collected information from the field, and each documented case was then organized and entered into Martus, Benetech’s free, open source, secure human rights information management software. The Consortium collected nearly 200 incidents of violations in 2014, taking concrete steps to verify each and every one of them to the greatest measure possible to ensure that only substantiated cases made it to the final report.

This is the Consortium’s second violations report, following a previous one that was published in October 2014 and covered the period 1988-2013. It constitutes an important output of the Benetech Human Rights Program’s support of the Consortium and its member organizations. Our work in this area is part of a four-year effort to build a culture of secure, systematic, documentation of human rights violations against LGBTI individuals in Eastern and Southern Africa, and to transform this data into evidence-based advocacy. The project was made possible by funding by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

We would like to extend our thanks to DRL for its support and congratulations to the Uganda Consortium of our partner organizations. We are inspired by the Consortium’s documentation and monitoring work and proud to collaborate with them in pursuit of our collective goal to promote and protect LGBTI rights.