The advisory states that the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 (AHA), which was signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on 26 May, ‘raises the risk that LGBTQI+ persons, and those perceived to be LGBTQI+, could be prosecuted and subjected to life imprisonment or death based on provisions in the law’.
It added that travellers ‘may be subject to mandatory reporting to the police if they are suspected of committing or intending to commit acts in violation of the law, and could face harassment and attacks by vigilantes’.
The Department of State warned that LGBTQI+ persons, including youths, may be subjected to forced ‘conversion therapy’, while those perceived as LGBTQI+ may be subjected to harassment, blackmail, and violence. It added that hoteliers are not permitted to knowingly provide rooms to individuals who may commit homosexual acts ‘deemed illegal’ under the AHA.
The advisory concluded: “Supporters of the dignity and human rights of LGBTQI+ persons – including those … under the age of 18 – could be prosecuted and imprisoned for multi-year sentences.” This includes people who are members of organisations which advocate for the human rights of LGBTQI+ people, as well as those who have attended a same-sex marriage, either inside or outside of Uganda’s borders.
Risk of crime and terrorism
The Department of State also warned that travel to Uganda should be avoided if possible, as there is a prominence of violent crime and terrorism in some areas.
The advisory stated: “Violent crime, such as armed robbery, home invasion and sexual assault, present a serious threat to those visiting or residing in Uganda, and can occur at any time, especially in larger cities, including Kampala and Entebbe, in the Karamoja region, and along Uganda’s western and northern borders.” The department warned that ‘local police may lack appropriate resources to respond effectively to serious crime in most areas’.
Similarly, the department warned that ‘a threat of terrorist attacks in Uganda and throughout the region’. It noted the occurrence of several attacks in villages in western Uganda in December 2022, as well as multiple bombings in and around Kampala in 2021. The advisory concluded: “While the attacks did not appear to target foreign nationals, anyone can be a victim. US citizens should remain alert and avoid large public gatherings.”
ITIJ spoke to LGBTQI+ members of our industry about their experiences in our June issue, in celebration of Pride Month.