Activists demand Ugandan Supreme Court overturns anti-gay law

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Campaigners have asked Uganda’s highest court to overturn the country’s newly-imposed anti-homosexuality law.

It was announced on Tuesday that several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are taking joint action against the Ugandan Government.

Activists want the Anti-Homosexuality Act to be repealed by Uganda’s Constitutional Court.

US-based LGBT campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) warn that hearings before the court can be delayed for several years.

The challenge argues that the new law is overly broad and unconstitutional on multiple grounds, including by violating Ugandans’ rights to equality before the law without discrimination, as well as their rights to privacy, freedom of expression, thought, assembly, association, and civic participation.

“Uganda’s constitution explicitly protects basic human rights for all,” said Maria Burnett, HRW senior Africa researcher. “The anti-homosexuality law completely defies Uganda’s constitution and its legal obligations under international law, so this challenge is a crucial step to ensure that the law is removed from the books.”

Uganda’s penal code already criminalises “carnal knowledge against the order of nature,” but the new law goes much further, criminalising various forms of same-sex conduct, including “touching with the intent to commit homosexuality.” It also criminalises keeping “a house, room, set of rooms or place of any kind for purposes of homosexuality” and engaging in the undefined “promotion of homosexuality.”

Yesterday, the former vice president of Uganda, Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, launched a scathing attack on President Yoweri Museveni for signing the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.

The World Bank, along with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, have all halted aid to the Ugandan Government as a result of the decision.