The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is appalled and deeply disturbed by the recent enactment of the anti-homosexuality act 2023 by President Museveni of Uganda. This regressive law represents a grave violation of human rights and sexual and reproductive rights, affecting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ugandans.
The draconian and abhorrent provisions of this law criminalize same-sex relationships and any promotion of homosexuality, subjecting individuals to severe penalties, including life imprisonment. Its implementation will have dire consequences, fostering a climate of homophobia, hatred, and hate crimes. The law instills fear not only among those directly targeted and their families but also among health workers providing essential Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services in Uganda.
IPPFAR is extremely concerned that this law blatantly violates numerous human rights, including the right to bodily autonomy. The right to life and dignity, freedom of expression and association, protection from discrimination, the right to a fair trial, protection against arbitrary arrest, and access to health services are all undermined, compromising the full realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
"The IPPF Africa region vehemently condemns the anti-homosexuality act 2023, which targets the LGBTIQ+ community and their allies in Uganda. This law marks a sorrowful day for Uganda and its people," stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. "Targeting a community based solely on their shared characteristics is extremely dangerous and an undeniable violation of human rights. Instead, we should strive to empower all members of our society to be positive contributors, rather than driving them into hiding and marginalization," Petrus-Barry added.
Since March 2023, IPPF has witnessed a surge in physical attacks against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and an alarming increase in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies.
The anti-homosexuality act 2023 is discriminatory and flagrantly violates the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Uganda constitution. By isolating itself from the international community, Uganda risks alienating potential collaborators and donors. Already, the U.S. Government has expressed intentions to suspend development funding to Uganda, including through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund and UNAIDs, potentially jeopardizing the progress in the fight against the HIV pandemic in Uganda.
As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, IPPFAR is immensely concerned that this law will deter individuals from seeking vital SRH services due to fear of being targeted. This will inevitably hinder access to life-saving services, including HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, provision of antiretroviral therapy, contraceptive services, and accurate SRH information. Moreover, the law obstructs healthcare professionals from fulfilling their duties and providing high-quality care in a safe and confidential environment.
IPPFAR joins the chorus of condemnation against this harmful and regressive law. The safety, health, and dignity of all Ugandans must remain paramount. IPPF stands resolutely with the LGBTIQ+ community and their allies in Uganda and worldwide during this challenging time.
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About the International Planned Parenthood Federation
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
For 70 years, IPPF, through its 118 Member Associations and seven partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context.
We advocate for a world where people have the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.