25 April Global Day of Action at Uganda High Commission
London, UK – 25 April 2023
Fifty LGBT+ campaigners and allies staged a noisy vigil outside the Ugandan High Commission in Trafalgar Square London on 25 April 2023, chanting “Museveni! Kill the bill” and “The world is watching! Kill the bill.”
They were protesting in solidarity with Ugandan LGBTs, against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which includes long jail-time and even execution for LGBT+ people and supporters.
Many were Ugandan LGBTs who had fled persecution in their home country and are members of the African Equality Foundation and Out & Proud African LGBTI. They were joined by the UK Alliance for Global Equality, UK Black Pride, ACT-UP London, Rainbow Migration, Peter Tatchell Foundation and STOPAIDS.
STOPAIDS organised the vigil in conjunction with Convening for Equality Uganda and Uganda Key Population Consortium.
Clare Byarugaba, human rights activist at Chapter Four Uganda & co-organiser of Convening for Equality Uganda declared:
“As a proud lesbian Ugandan woman…let me be clear that this bill is designed to eliminate people like me from my home country and it must be defeated…The solidarity shown by activists and community members worldwide…is essential in this fight. We must reiterate to Museveni that the world is watching and not stay silent as our human rights are trampled on.”
Abbey Kiwanuka, a Ugandan activist with the Out & Proud African LGBTI group said:
“Politicians in Uganda scapegoat LGBTs and use homosexuality as a pretext to divert people from questioning their failed policies…Homosexuality is not the cause of people’s suffering. The problem is the rotten, corrupt system.”
Edwin Sesange of the African Equality Foundation, also from Uganda, added:
“Uganda must respect human rights, uphold the values of the Commonwealth Charter and stop exercising impunity and immunity with its persecution of LGBTI people. Please sign the Downing Street UK parliament petition demanding a travel ban on Ugandan MPs who voted for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/636003 (only UK residents can sign).
Moud Goba, chair of the board of trustees of UK Black Pride said:
“Members of the UK LGBTQ+ community stand in solidarity with all those at risk of harm under this cruel bill…we refuse to let this attack on human rights go unchallenged and call on President Museveni to veto this bill.”
Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation added:
“We are urging the UK Government to impose a travel ban on Ugandan lawmakers and clergy who supported the Anti-Homosexuality bill. It is outrageous that the UK has a travel ban on Uganda’s democratic opposition leader, Bobi Wine, but not on the legislators who voted to execute LGBT+ people.
“The Uganda Bill would outlaw almost every aspect of LGBT+ existence, including LGBT+ identity, advocacy, funding and organisation. The bill violates Sections 2 and 4 of the Commonwealth Charter. It also breaches Article 21 of the Uganda constitution & Articles 2 and 3 of the African Charter of Human & People’s Rights – all of which guarantee equal treatment and prohibit discrimination.”
Uganda’s parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 (AHB23) on March 21 and on April 20, President Museveni informed Parliament that it should make changes before he will sign it. The Biden administration has called the legislation “one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.” The legislation stipulates the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” 20 years in prison for the “promotion of homosexuality,” 10 years in prison for “attempted homosexuality,” and 6 months in prison or a fine of $28,000 for failing to report someone who has violated any provision of the bill. Identifying as LGBTQ+ would become a criminal act. Uganda’s HIV response would be devastated: providing lifesaving HIV services to LGBTQIs would become crimes, and frontline care providers would become criminals.
LGBTQI+ Ugandan civil society groups have been calling for international allies to apply pressure through political, diplomatic, economic and public means on the Museveni government, resulting in the Emergency Global Day of Action on 25 April. Their appeal for solidarity can be found here