Uganda’s recent enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) in May has positioned the nation among the most stringent anti-LGBTQ+ countries worldwide.

The controversial legislation not only reaffirms the criminality of homosexual acts but also introduces the death penalty for offences labelled as “aggravated homosexuality.” The bill further elaborates on these offences, pointing to cases involving minors, HIV-positive individuals, or incestuous relationships.

Global human rights organisations and LGBTQ+ advocates raised the alarm immediately after the AHA’s endorsement, anticipating a surge in violence against the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda.


A recent study by the Convening for Equality (CFE) coalition underscores these concerns. Released on 28 September and reviewed by Reuters, the study indicates that following the bill’s passage, violations against the LGBTQ+ community have predominantly come from the general public rather than state officials. 

From the start of January to the end of August 2023, the research documented 306 rights infringements in Uganda centred on individuals’ gender identity or sexual orientation. A mere 25 of these incidents involved government representatives. This is a significant shift from the past two years, where almost 70% of such violations were state-driven.

The research implies that the AHA might have played a role in this rise in public-perpetrated abuses against LGBTQ+ individuals.

One notable insight from the report is the observed uptick in mob-facilitated apprehensions, which it attributes to the AHA spotlighting LGBTQ+ individuals, effectively instigating a public-led manhunt.

Arthur Kayima, a prominent Ugandan LGBTQ+ rights advocate, criticised the AHA and commented on the nation’s misplaced priorities, emphasising the government’s neglect of pressing national issues in favour of suppressing individual rights.

Global leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have spoken against the law. Biden termed the legislation a “heartbreaking infringement” on fundamental rights. He warned of potential US interventions, hinting at sanctions and travel restrictions for those implicated in such human rights abuses. Following suit, the US State Department updated its travel advisories for Uganda, highlighting the risks of “crime, terrorism, and anti-LGBTQI+ laws.”