In the heart of a virtual gathering on July 26th, 2023, a powerful movement unfolded – united African advocates in solidarity with our comrades in Uganda. Advocates from diverse corners of Africa united for a common cause: standing in solidarity with Uganda’s marginalized LGBTQ+ community. This was no ordinary day; it was an extraordinary assembly of voices, ideas, and passion, aimed at combating the discriminatory Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 that was passed on 29 May 2023.
Amid the global pursuit to end AIDS by 2030, Uganda emerged as a beacon of progress in the fight against HIV. However, the recent enactment of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 threatens to undo these hard-fought gains. The Act, laden with severe punishments including the death penalty for homosexuality, has cast a shadow over marginalized communities, particularly the LGBTQ+ individuals who are already grappling with prejudice.
Comrades from diverse corners of Africa mobilized for a Regional Day of Action – a resounding call for unity, awareness, and advocacy. Comrades across Africa rallied to express their unwavering support for Uganda’s LGBTQ+ community and to highlight the far-reaching repercussions of the Act on public health and human rights.
In a remarkable display of unity, community representatives, civil society organizations, activists, and stakeholders convened in South Africa’s Uganda High Commission. Here, stories and testimonies were shared, illustrating the real impact of discriminatory legislation on public health efforts. The gathering wasn’t just about discussing challenges; it was a testament to the resilience of those standing against oppression.
These very same stories were amplified virtually and the flame of solidarity extended beyond borders. Throughout the region, a virtual Twitterthon resonated with messages of support, using social media as a dynamic platform to amplify the voices of unity and advocacy.\ddd
Comrades from Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and beyond joined hands, united in the digital realm.
With the vigor of a rallying cry, an advocacy campaign was launched. Policymakers, health authorities, and international organizations were engaged in a coordinated effort to apply pressure on the Ugandan government to repeal the Act and uphold the values of human rights and inclusivity.
The climax of this regional day of action was with the Virtual Extraordinary Meeting. Comrades gathered to debrief on the Regional Day of Action, gain insights from the Uganda Representative about the ground situation, and discuss the legal perspective on the Act. Allies from various sectors – the LGBTQ+ Community, Religious Leaders, Sonke Gender Justice, Policy Makers, and NGO Delegation to GF Board – expressed unwavering support and solidarity.
This union of voices, ideas, and determination paints a vivid picture of unity in diversity. The struggle against discriminatory laws is not isolated to Uganda alone; it echoes across the continent. Our call to all African Governments is to uphold the dignity and fundamental rights of their citizens .
Appreciation goes out to the planning partners