With the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 (AHA), Uganda has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for LGBTQI+ persons. Under the AHA, persons who engage in same-sex relations may be imprisoned for life or even face the death penalty.
This law is an unconscionable attack on an already marginalized group. No one should be punished or harmed for whom they love. LGBTQI+ Ugandans have been a part of the country’s society throughout history and should enjoy the same protections and opportunities as every other Ugandan. Yet since the AHA passed Parliament on March 21, 2023, LGBTQI+ Ugandans have been targeted with heightened violence, harassment, and evictions. Many fear they will soon lose access to critical health and social services.
The AHA is only the latest in a series of actions by the Government of Uganda to curtail freedoms and violate the human rights of its people. Human rights are under attack in Uganda, with journalists, human rights defenders, and anyone who opposes the regime regularly arrested, tortured, and disappeared. The increasing threats, violence, and abuse perpetrated against the Ugandan people, including members of the LGBTQI+ community and those who provide services to them, is unacceptable.
As one of the largest providers of foreign assistance to the people of Uganda, including through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief, USAID remains committed to nondiscrimination for all its program participants – including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
As we have raised on many occasions with the Government of Uganda, the enactment of the AHA will directly impede our ability to provide effective USAID assistance to the people of Uganda. It will hinder our partnership with Uganda and the Ugandan people in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It will severely undermine the ability of USAID staff and U.S. partners who identify as LGBTQI+ to safely and freely live and work in Uganda. And it will make it more difficult for our partners to advance inclusive development across the many sectors and areas where we work.
Because of this, USAID is joining other departments and agencies from across the U.S. government to evaluate the impact of this law on our policy, relationship, and assistance toward Uganda. The United States urges the Government of Uganda to reconsider the Anti-Homosexuality Act, demand an end to violence against Ugandans under the auspices of the law, and take affirmative steps to protect human rights for all Ugandans.