The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023, was reportedly presented to Uganda’s parliament on March 1st, 2023, by opposition MP Asuman Basalirwa. It was passed on the 21st of March 2023. The measure aims to outlaw all forms of sexual connections between people of the same sex, as well as the encouragement or approval of such relationships. In detail the Bill criminalizes same-sex relations and identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex by imposing up to life imprisonment.
The Bill further criminalizes allyship to the LGBTQI+ community whether by providing medical care, housing, legal services, associating or making any queer friendly expression in the media. Such acts would be punishable up to 10 years in prison. Minors who are involved in homosexual acts are also penalized by the bill with up to three years of imprisonment. Media portrayals of homosexuality and queer life would equally be prosecuted.
As an organization that the Government of Uganda falsely accused of promoting and recruiting Ugandans into homosexuality, we are very deliberate in our actions. We believed that a well-thought-out plan for the coming weeks and months would be essential to help us avoid abandoning the many people who are currently stranded with various needs.
URGENT ACTIONS NEEDED:
1. Strengthening Let’s Walk Uganda Capacity To Safely Continue Providing Existing Services
- Urgent support for continued provision of Safe and confidential shelter for homeless LGBT people in Uganda who face violence, discrimination, and harassment.
- Facilitation of our lawyers under the Access To Justice Unit to continue with responding to different community human rights concerns.
- Provision of information and education for LGBT people who are subjected to stigma, ignorance, and misinformation through continued awareness sessions.
2. LGBT Emergency and Crisis Response Unit
Let’s Walk Uganda’s LGBT+ Emergency and Crisis Response Project aims to provide lifesaving services and support to vulnerable LGBT+ individuals during and after emergencies. The project will involve the development of a crisis and emergency response guide, training and operationalizing of rapid response teams, establishing a toll-free emergency hotline, and locating private and secure settings. The project intends to ensure that victims of LGBT+ violence have access to fundamental, high-quality emergency response and crisis management services.
3. Well Strategized Exit Plan and Support of Most at Risk Individuals seeking safety outside Uganda
Let’s Walk Uganda proposes to assist the most vulnerable LGBT+ Ugandans who may wish to flee the country for safety by providing accurate information, establishing contacts and networks, helping them obtain travel documents, visas, funds and safe routes, and advocating for their protection and recognition as refugees. We will develop a strategic exit plan to provide safe temporary shelter in Uganda and Kenya and organize safe passage to Kenya, where UNHCR will be contacted to determine a suitable final destination. The plan aims to limit risks associated with the asylum-seeking process but may face challenges such as criminalization of same-sex relationships and difficulty in finding a secure and hospitable third nation for resettlement.
4. Transformation of the Stall App into The Queer Safety App:
The Stall App was developed by Let’s Walk Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic to enable online purchasing and selling of goods and services. Now, the Let’s Walk Uganda team proposes to transform the app into The Queer Safety App by adding four additional services that will benefit both the LGBT+ and non-LGBT+ communities. The new services include improved safety and access to safe spaces, improved access to healthcare, access to justice and emergency response services, and access to environmental awareness and justice information. This transformation will help ensure equal treatment for the LGBT+ community in Uganda.
Your support is very key in these very hard times where the LGBTIQ+ community in Uganda is witnessing unprovoked hate and persecution. The Ugandan LGBTIQ+ community needs you to stand with them now more than ever. We thank you and look forward to your generous Support.