Uganda LGBT Laws

Censorship, Free Speech Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 25 September 2016, Ugandan police prevented organizers from holding a gay pride parade at two locations outside Kampala on the orders of a government minister who said such an event is illegal [R1.3].

On 30 January 2016, President Museveni reportedly signed the Non-Governmental Organizations Act into law, and now the onerous NGO Act of 2016, is open to publication and implementation [R1.2].

On 26 November 2015, the parliament passed the Non-Governmental Organizations Act providing that NGOs must ‘not engage in any activity which is ‘contrary to the dignity of the people of Uganda’ and barring Foreign NGOs from commenting on or being involved in Ugandan politics. The law allows powers to supervise, approve, inspect, and dissolve any NGOs and will impose severe criminal penalties for violations [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 24 June 2014, it was reported that High Court Judge Steven Musota dismissed the case alleging that Minister of Ethics Simon Lokodo had violated the rights of LGBTI activists when he shut down a training workshop for LGBTI activists organized in 2012 because the event was promoting homosexuality, an illegal activity [C2.2], [R2.2].

On 02 January 2013, Chief Magistrate Esther Nambayo in the Makindye Chief Magistrates Court in Kampala dismissed the charge of disobedience against David Cecil Edward Hugh for staging a pro-gay play, advising the State to reinstate the charges if they wished so. Hugh’s play showed the dilemma an openly gay man is confronted with in a country with anti-gay laws [R2.1].

R1.3 LGBTQnation: Police stop Uganda’s gay pride parade a month after a bar raid 25 SEP 16
R1.2 Oblogdeeoblogda: Ugandan President Museveni Has Signed the Perilous Anti NGO Bill 20 FEB 16
R1.1 GayStarNews: Uganda passes new anti-gay law 26 NOV 15
C2.3 Judgment: Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera, Frank Mugisha, Julian Pepe Onziema, and Geoffrey Ogwaro v. The Attorney General and Hon. Rev. Fr Simon Lokodo [2014] UGHC 49 Word 41.19kb, 24 JUN 14
R2.2 BuzzFeed: Ugandan Court Rules Government Can Stop LGBT Groups 24 JUN 14
R2.1 Daily Monitor: Court dismisses case against British producer 03 JAN 13
Defamation, Libel, Slander Legislation/Cases/References
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 19 February 2014, Justice Joseph Murangira in the High Court upheld the lower court ruling that four Ugandan pastors defamed another pastor accusing him of ‘sodomising’ his male flock. They were sentenced to a hundred hours of community service and 1million Ugandan Shillings (£244) each [R1.1].

R1.1 PinkNews: Uganda: Defamation ruling against four pastors who said another ‘sodomised’ his flock upheld 19 FEB 14
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/Documents/References
1. National

Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 [R1.3].

Chapter Four – Protection and Promotion of Fundamental and Other Human Rights and Freedoms: General

Article 21. Equality and Freedom from Discrimination

(1) All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.

(2) Without prejudice to clause (1) of this article, a person shall not be discriminated against on the ground of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.

On 14 February 2014, a government spokesman reported announced that President Yoweri Museveni has decided to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill after 14 medical experts presented a report that homosexuality is not genetic but a social behavior [D1.2], [R1.1]. See also: Homosexuality, Sodomy.

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 10 November 2016, the Constitutional Court reportedly ruled that the anti-gay section of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act (EOCA), which barred the commission from investigating any matter involving behavior ”considered to be immoral and socially harmful, or unacceptable by the majority of the cultural and social communities in Uganda”, was unconstitutional and violated the right to a fair hearing [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.3 Constitution: Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 (Accessed 29 DEC 13)
D1.2 Press Release: Presentation by a team of scientists from MOH and Makerere University on homosexuality and genetics in humans 14 FEB 14
R1.1 GayStarNews: Uganda president to sign anti-gay bill into law 14 FEB 14
Courts & Tribunals
C2.2 Judgment: Adrian Jjuuko v. Attorney General Constitutional Petition No. 1 of 2009 PDF 5.58MB 10 NOV 16
R2.1 HRAPF: Section 15(6)(d) of Uganda’s Equal Opportunities Commission Act declared Unconstitutional 11 NOV 16
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 26 February 2014, health minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda reportedly said that the Anti-Homosexuality Act will not apply to doctors or other healthcare professionals and LGBT people still have access to hospitals to seek treatment. There being no such specific exemptions enshrined in the legislation, this appears a hollow promise [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Uganda promises gays will still have access to healthcare 26 FEB
HIV, Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 31 July 2014, President President Yoweri Museveni assented to The HIV and Aids Prevention and Control Act, 2014, an act which introduces fines and a 10-year prison sentence for the intentional transmission (or 5-years for the attempted transmission) of HIV in Uganda [L1.3], [R1.2].


On 13 May 2014, the parliament unanimously passed the “HIV Prevention and Management Bill” that will – if signed into law – not only criminalize HIV transmission imposing 10-year jail sentences for the ‘willful and intentional’ transmission of HIV in the East African country, but also mandates HIV testing for pregnant women and their partners, and allows doctors to disclose a patient’s status without their consent [R1.1].

L1.3 Act: The HIV and Aids Prevention and Control Act, 2014 PDF 825.60kb, 31 JUL 14
R1.2 BuzzFeed: Ugandan President Signs Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission 20 AUG 14
R1.1 HIVPlusMag: Uganda Criminalizes HIV Transmission, Mandates Testing 16 MAY 14
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/Documents/References
1. National

The Penal Code Act of 1950 (Chapter 120) (as amended) provides –

Section 145. Unnatural offences.

“Any person who–

(a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature;
(b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or
(c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature,

commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.”

Section 146. Attempt to commit unnatural offences.

“Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section145 commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.”

Section 148. Indecent practices.

“Any person who, whether in public or in private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person or procures another person to commit any act of gross indecency with him or her or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any person with himself or herself or with another person, whether in public or in private, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years” [R1.26].

On 08 November 2014, a new draft anti-gay Bill (called the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill of 2014 dated 29 October 2014) prepared by a government committe to replace the struck down Anti-Homosexuality Act has reportedly been sent to the office of President Yoweri Museveni and newly named Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda. The draft includes a new Section 2 making the provision of “funding for purposes of promoting unnatural sexual practices” and in Section 4 to “make a representation … by whatever means of a person engaged in real or fictitious unnatural sexual practices” unlawful [D1.25].[R1.24].

On 28 April 2014, it was reported that a draft new anti-gay law would ban non-governmental organizations from promoting gay sex and foreign non-government organizations from helping LGBTI people [R1.23].

On 24 February 2014, President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law [L1.22], [R1.21]. See also 2. Court & Tribunals.

On 24 February 2014, a team of Ugandan doctors and scientists who were commissioned to investigate whether homosexuality is a choice found that it was not – but reportedly Government MPs subsequently distorted their findings in their report to President Yoweri Museveni, leaked documents reveal [D1.20], [R1.19].

On 18 February 2014, President Yoweri Museveni reportedly said in a statement dated 18 February that he would not sign the anti-gay law until after hearing more advice from scientists. Other reports suggest he has already signed the Bill into law [R1.18].

On 14 February 2014, a government spokesman reported announced that President Yoweri Museveni has decided to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill after 14 medical experts presented a report that homosexuality is not genetic but a social behavior [D1.18], [R1.17].

On 27 January 2014, President Museveni reportedly said he would only sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill if a team of scientists could prove people were homosexual by choice not genetics [R1.16].

On 17 January 2014, it was reported that President Museveni had blocked the anti-homosexiality bill, confronting Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in a letter dated 28 December for passing the controversial the bill without parliamentary quorum [R1.15].

On 20 December 2013, the Parliament passed the Private Members’ Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex and the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places. The Bill must be signed by the President before it can become law [ R1.14].

On 28 November 2012, Kasha Jacqueline, Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) said “The only version of the bill that is public today still includes the death penalty provision for ‘aggravated homosexuality’” [L1.3], [R1.13].

On 23 November 2012, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill reportedly would no longer include capital punishment after scrutiny by a parliamentary committee – MP Medard Segona, who is on the Legal and Parliamentary committee, told the BBC “substantial amendments” had been made to the bill but said he was not allowed to reveal further details [R1.12].

On 12 November 2012, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would become law before the end of 2012 [R1.11].

On 06 February 2012, Parliamentarian David Bahati reintroduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill [R1.10].

On 26 October 2011, it was reported that the Parliament voted to reopen a debate on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that seeks to outlaw homosexuality and which may be expanded to include the death penalty for gay people [R1.9].

On 06 April 2011, a petition signed by a reported two million Ugandans was presented by anti-gay activists to Speaker Edward Ssekandi of the Uganda Parliament who reportedly said, “even if the current Parliament doesn’t debate it (the Anti-Homosexuality Bill), the new Parliament will do it” [R1.8].

In April 2011, it was reported that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had been dropped [R1.7].

On 26 January 2011, gay rights activist David Kato, who was late last year featured with other gays in a newspaper article headlined “Hang Them” [see Privacy] was beaten to death in his Kampala home [R1.6].

In December 2009, James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of ethics and integrity, reportedly said that life imprisonment and the death penalty will be dropped from a revised version of Uganda’s antigay bill [R1.5]. However, the bill’s main sponsor, David Bahati has reportedly contradicted the minister [R1.4].

On 13 October 2009, Ndorwa West MP David Bahati tabled a private member’s bill in parliament entitled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 that would, if passed, create a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality”. Under the Bill, those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” (such as having gay sex with disabled people and those under the 18) would face the death penalty (Section 3 (2)) and those who have homosexual sex (Section 2 (2)), life imprisonment [L1.3], [R1.3].

In October 2008, it was reported that laws that would boost police investigations against gays in Uganda would be strengthened due to the government’s concern over the “mushrooming” of gays and lesbians in the country [R1.2].

In October 2003, it was reported that gays were routinely arrested on the streets of Kampala, the capital, and often beaten and tortured while in prison [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 27 September 2016, the panel of three judges of the Arusha-based East African Court of Justice held that the regional court could not pronounce itself on the matter where there were no disputes since the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 had been annulled by the Constitutional Court in Uganda. The Human Rights Awareness & Promotion Forum had challenged the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 as being contrary to the rule of law and good governance [C2.11], [R2.10].

On 24 September 2015, a Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) legal analysis reportedly found that sports celebrity Chris Mubiru was not acquitted of ‘unnatural offences’ because he engaged in ‘consensual’ same-sex sex with George Oundo but because Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Flavia Nabakooza concluded that evidence from his consensual sex partner could not be trusted. On 08 September Mubiru was convicted on another count for forced sodomy with Emmanuel Nyanzi, 18, who he alledgedly drugged. [R2.9].

On 22 October 2014, the Court dismissed the case against Kim Mukisa and Rehana Mukasa (charged as Jackson Mukasa) who were arrested and charged under the old colonial penal code after Mukisa was attacked by a mob during the period leading up to final approval of the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The prosecution failed to produce any evidence [R2.8].

On 08 August 2014, the Attorney General was reported to have filed a Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court in an attempt to reverse the Constitutional Court of Uganda’s judgment which voided the Anti Homosexuality Act. The grounds for the appeal are not yet known [R2.7].

On 01 August 2014, a 5-judge panel of the Constitutional Court ruled that the Anti-Homosexuality Act is unconstitutional because the Ugandan Parliament had failed to pass it with a quorum (the right amount of people needed for the vote). The ruling failed to pronounce upon the issue of constitutionality of the AHA as it pertains to human rights and maybe subject to an appeal. The Act may also be re-introduced to the Parliament [C2.6], [R2.5].

On 23rd April 2014 the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) and the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL) filed a reference before the East African Court of Justice contending that Uganda is in violation of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community by enacting the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 [R2.4].

On 16 April 2014, prosecutors announced that the trial of Kim Mukisa (24) and Jackson Mukasa (19), two men charged under the 1950 Penal Code Act of homosexuality who have been held in Luzior prison since December, will commence on 07 May. The men who have denied the charges, face life imprisonment [R2.3].

On 11 March 2014, the legality of the Anti Homosexuality Act was challenged in Constitutional Court by an unprecedented coalition of petitioners and an Injunction against enforcement sought [C2.2], [R2.1].

1. National
R1.26 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF382.87kb, MAY 08
D1.25 Draft Bill: The Prohibition of the Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill of 2014 PDF 1.72MB, 07 NOV 14
R1.24 BuzzFeed: 08 NOV 14
R1.23 GayStarNews: It gets worse: Uganda drafts new anti-gay law 28 APR 14
L1.22 The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014 PDF 20.27kb, 18 FEB 14
R1.21 GayStarNews: Uganda president signs anti-gay bill into law live on TV 24 FEB 14
D1.20 Report: Consensus Statement on the Presidential Scientific Committee on Homosexuality PDF 91.73kb, 22 FEB 14
R1.19 GayStarNews: Ugandan MPs lied to President Museveni on gay science report 24 FEB 14
D1.2 Press Release: Presentation by a team of scientists from MOH and Makerere University on homosexuality and genetics in humans 14 FEB 14
R1.18 ThomsonReuters: Uganda leader puts anti-gay law on hold to seek more scientific advice 21 FEB 14
R1.17 GayStarNews: Uganda president to sign anti-gay bill into law 14 FEB 14
R1.16 GayStarNews: Museveni says he will sign Uganda anti-gay bill if scientists can prove being gay is not genetic 27 JAN 14
R1.15 The Daily Monitor: Museveni blocks Anti-Homosexuality Bill 17 JAN 14
R1.14 Parliament of the Republic of Uganda: Parliament outlaws homosexuality 20 DEC 13
R1.13 allAfrica: ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill: Ugandan Activists Confirm Death Penalty Not Removed 28 NOV 12
R1.12 PinkNews: Uganda drops death penalty from anti-gay bill 23 NOV 12
R1.11 Times Live: Anti-gay bill to be passed 13 NOV 12
R1.10 IGLHRC: Anti-Gay Bill Reintroduced in Uganda 07 FEB 12
R1.11 Times Live: Anti-gay bill to be passed 13 NOV 12
R1.9 Bloomberg: Uganda Parliament Votes to Continue Anti-Homosexual Bill 26 OCT 11
R1.8 The New Civil Rights Movement: Uganda Kill The Gays Bill Returns With 2 Million Signature Petition 07 APR 11
R1.7 PinkPaper: Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill reportedly dropped 04 APR 11
R1.6 Reuters (UK): Ugandan gay activist beaten to death after threats 27 JAN 11
R1.5 The Advocate: Death Penalty Dropped From Uganda Antigay Bill 09 DEC 09
R1.4 The Advocate: Death Penalty Still in Antigay Uganda Bill 14 DEC 09
L1.3 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 Bill No. 18 PDF 1.47MB, 14 OCT 09
R1.3 Ugandan MP proposes that gays should be executed 15 OCT 09
R1.2 The Advocate: Uganda to Enforce Stronger Antigay Laws 07 OCT 08
R1.1 Uganda Gays Demand Rights 08 OCT 03
2. Courts & Tribunals
C2.11 Judgment: Human Rights Awareness & Promotion Forum (HRAPF) v. The Attorney General for Uganda No. 6 of 2014 PDF 1011.76kb 27 SEP 16
R2.10 DailyMonitor: East African Court of Justice dismisses homosexuality case 30 SEP 16
R2.9 Erasing76Crimes: Acquittal, but bad news, in Uganda consensual sex case 25 SEP 15
R2.8 BuzzFeed: 23 OCT 14
R2.7 O-blog-dee-o-blog-da: Ugandan Attorney General Appeals Anti-Homosexuality Act Court Ruling 08 AUG 14
C2.6 ULII: Oloka-Onyango v. Attorney General No. 08 of 2014 Word 59.72kb, 01 AUG 14
R2.5 GayStarNews: Uganda court strikes down anti-gay law 01 AUG 14
R2.4 ILGHRC: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act Challenged before the East African Court of Justice 30 APR 14
R2.3 TheGuardian: Ugandan men to go on trial on homosexuality charges 18 APR 14
C2.2 Petition: Prof J Oloka-Onyango & Ors. v. Attorney General of Uganda No. 08 of 2014 PDF 1.97MB, 11 MAR 14
R2.1 Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law: Legality of Anti Homosexuality Act challenged in Constitutional Court by an unprecedented coalition of petitioners; Injunction against enforcement sought 11 MAR 14
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In 2005, Uganda became the first country in the world to introduce laws banning same-sex marriage [R1.1].

R1.1 Ugandan Judge Rules in Favour of LGBT Activists and Awards Damages for Illegal Raid 23 DEC 08
Privacy Legislation/Cases/References
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 03 January 2011, High court judge, Vincent Musoke-Kibuuke issued a permanent injunction against the newspaper Rolling Stone, ruling that media companies cannot out gay people and citing the constitutional right to privacy in a decision that could help activists fighting the proposed bill that would impose the death penalty for homosexuality.

The petitioners were awarded 1.5 million Uganda shillings (about 650 dollars or 500 euros) and Rolling Stone was ordered to pay all legal fees incurred by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) [R1.4].


On 23 November 2010, High Court judge Vincent Musoke-Kibuuka extended an order restraining local paper Rolling Stone from any further publication of the identity of any person perceived by them to be gay, lesbian or homosexual [R1.3].

On 01 November 2010, Judge Vincent Musoke-Kibuuka granted an interim restraining order until the 23 November hearing [R1.2].

In December 2008, Uganda High Court Justice Stella Arach issued a ruling in favour of LGBT activists in their suit against the Attorney General of Uganda citing constitutional violations of the rights to privacy, property and the fundamental rights of women [R1.1].

R1.4 The Advocate: Uganda Court Bans Outings by Media 03 JAN 11
R1.3 PinkNews: Judge extends ban on Ugandan tabloid outing gays 23 NOV 10
R1.2 The Guardian: Ugandan paper ordered to stop printing list of gay people 01 NOV 10
R1.1 Ugandan Judge Rules in Favour of LGBT Activists and Awards Damages for Illegal Raid 23 DEC 08