UN warns against inciting hatred after Ugandan newspaper publishes names of gays

It is against international law to discriminate against people because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Photo: OHCHR

27 February 2014 – The United Nations human rights office said today that the publication by a Ugandan newspaper of the names and photos of people it claims are homosexual violates basic rights to privacy and dignity, and called on media outlets to refrain from actions that fuel hatred and violence.

A Ugandan tabloid on Tuesday named the country’s “200 top homosexuals,” a day after President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law, criminalizing and imposing life imprisonment for homosexuality, same-sex marriage and “aggravated homosexuality.”

“The publication by a newspaper in Uganda of the names and photos of people it claims are homosexual not only violates the right to privacy, it also demonstrates the very real danger that the new anti-homosexuality law will encourage acts of violence and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” said a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Cécile Pouilly recalled that the High Court of Uganda has previously ruled that publishing such lists amounts to a violation of the rights to dignity and privacy protected by the Ugandan Constitution.

“We reiterate that media organisations should refrain from fuelling hatred and attacks on the basis of sexual orientation,” stated Ms. Pouilly.

“We further reiterate our call upon the Ugandan authorities to take urgent steps to protect all persons from discrimination and violence regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

OHCHR urged the authorities to review the criminal legal provisions targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and make sure that attacks against them are investigated, and alleged perpetrators prosecuted.

Both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay spoken out against the new law and urged Uganda to repeal it.


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