Parliament passes Sexual Offences Bill - a setback for LGBTI rights in Uganda

"This is yet another law that will be used by law enforcers to harass, blackmail and arrest LGBT persons", says human rights defender and Rafto Laureate 2011 Frank Mugisha to the Guardian. The Rafto Foudation shares his concern about the situation for the LGBT community in Uganda.

The Uganda Parliament passed the Sexual Offences Bill 2019, 3 May 2021.

The initial object of this Bill is to enact specific laws on sexual offences for the effectual prevention of sexual violence; to enhance punishment of sexual offenders; to provide for the protection of victims during sexual offences trials; to provide for the extraterritorial application of the law; to repeal some provisions of the Penal Code Act.

On paper, the Bill resembles the ideal law to counter the ever-increasing cases of sexual violence that many Ugandans of all gender identities face as documented by the Uganda Police.

However, Rafto Laureate Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is particularly concerned about Clause 11 in the Bill, which further criminalizes same-sex sexual acts even as the Uganda Penal Code Act already does, hence criminalizing the private lives of adult and consenting same-sex loving persons.

SMUG is concerned that this clause in the Bill will enhance the already homophobic environment in Ugandan and consequently lead the way for further violation of the rights of sexual and gender minorities, including violations such as "corrective rape" and other acts of violence, the organisation states in their press release.

Call to action

SMUG calls on the President of Uganda to consider not assenting to the Bill because of the problematic clause 11 that now classifies sexual and gender minorities as sexual offenders. Read SMUG's statement

The Rafto Foundation supports Frank Mugisha and SMUGs call on the Ugandan Authorities.


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Therese Jebsen

The Rafto Foundation, Senior Advisor
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Phone:415 11 390

Responsible for the Business and Human Rights programme including Thorolf Rafto Challenge and Masters course at UiB.
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