Uganda: Equality before the law – and in practice

18.06.2019 - Article

‘Addressing inequalities’ is the motto of this year’s European Development Days in Brussels. This approach has many facets, as a project for sexual minorities in Uganda shows, writes GIZ.

The German development agency GIZ is working to achieve true equality for the LGTBI community in Uganda.
The German development agency GIZ is working to achieve true equality for the LGTBI community in Uganda.© GIZ

Discrimination may be based not only on origin or gender, but also on sexual preferences, as in the case of the LGBTI community. LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. This presents a challenge in many countries, especially in Uganda. Although Uganda has adopted important United Nations human rights conventions, resentment and hatred against gay and transgender individuals are traditionally widespread in this East African country. Violent attacks on sexual minorities still take place and it is also quite common to see cases of discrimination against homosexuals at work.

The German development agency GIZ is working to achieve not just formal, but true equality for the LGTBI community in Uganda. On behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) and with financial support from the European Union, GIZ is working together with Ugandan institutions and non-governmental human rights organisations to reinforce the rights of sexual minorities. In addition, measures are being taken to sensitise the general public, for example with a documentary film on transgender individuals in the country.

Uganda’s national development plan places an emphasis on fundamental human rights, which includes the aim of enforcing the rights of sexual minorities more effectively. Seven ministries and 26 local governments have already made corresponding adjustments. Important points of contact for cases of discrimination are now also available to deal with LGBTI cases. The process of protecting sexual minorities also entails providing training, and GIZ has already trained more than 450 police officers on the situation and rights of the LGBTI community. In these training courses, individuals from the LGBTI community report on personal experience and discrimination. Specific training has also been provided for medical experts with regard to the health requirements of transsexual women. Although further steps will be necessary before local people notice any tangible improvement, there is a growing sense in the LGBTI community of being able to fight back against discrimination.

GIZ will also be presenting its work for sexual minorities in Uganda at the European Development Days on 18 and 19 June in Brussels. This year, the event will be dedicated to combating inequality. In addition to the LBGTI community, GIZ will, among other things, be drawing attention to initiatives to achieve equality for refugees and female entrepreneurs.


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