Uganda: Equality before the law – and in practice
‘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.
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 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working to achieve not just formal, but true equality for the LGTBI community in Uganda. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and with financial support from the European Union, GIZ is working together with Ugandan institutions and non-governmental human rights organisations to advocate for the rights of all Ugandans including those of sexual minorities as a marginalised group
GIZ supported the National Human Rights Institution (UHRC) to carry out its mandate, to protect and promote human rights of all through working with civil society organisations.
One of the ways the GIZ support manifested itself was through the trainings that UHRC carried out in conjunction with Human Rights Awareness and Protection Forum. The trainings were carried out and reached 450 police officers sensitising them on the rights of LGBTI persons. In these training courses, individuals from the LGBTI community reported 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 be discussing its support to state institutions and civil society organisations that work towards enhancing LGBTI rights 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.