TCEN Statement on Uganda

Feb 16, 2023

The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) stands in solidarity with Uganda’s LGBTQI+ community as we learn of the Ugandan Government’s actions to deregister and suppress non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that support LGBTQI+ people. 

LGBTI+ people in Uganda remain criminalised and face widespread discrimination and violence. Over the past couple of years, the Ugandan Government has increased its harmful rhetoric and actions against a community that is denied the basic human rights to which they are entitled and which the Government is obliged to uphold. Uganda’s LGBTQI+ community has experienced a dramatic increase in censorship, violence, and persecution as a result of the Government’s stigmatising discourse and actions. The few Ugandan NGOs working to uphold the human rights of LGBTQI+ people in Uganda are often one of the few means of support for a community that is shunned and marginalised by its own government. 

Steve Letsike, chairperson of TCEN, said: “There is a persistent perception that human rights organisations, dependent on donor aid, represent the selective concerns of Western interest rather than local interests. These conditions pose challenges when it comes to advocating for the equality and rights of the Ugandan LGBTQI+ community. It cannot be correct that Ugandan Government fails to protect minority groups, but rather pursue efforts to oppress, torture and violate citizens’ rights. We will continue to raise the flag on these human rights violations and condemn the Government of Uganda. And we will rise to stand in solidarity with Ugandan LGBTQI+ people. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. A government must do right by its minority groups.”

The Commonwealth Equality Network calls for the immediate reversal of the Ugandan National Bureau for NGOs’ discriminatory decisions and for the affected organisations to have their status reinstated effective immediately. We condemn these acts and will continue to monitor developments as they unfold.