After 26 years of President Yoweri Museveni’s rule, ongoing threats to freedom of expression, assembly, and association continue to raise serious concerns. Security forces largely enjoy impunity for torture, extrajudicial killings, and the deaths of at least 49 people during protests in 2009 and 2011. The government banned a political pressure group calling for peaceful change, obstructed opposition rallies, and harassed and intimidated journalists and civil society activists working on corruption, oil, land, and sexual rights. On July 31, 2014, Uganda’s constitutional court ruled that the Anti-Homosexuality Act, signed into law by President Museveni on February 24, was null and void because there was no quorum in parliament on the day of the vote. Uganda’s penal code already criminalizes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature,” but the new law went much farther, criminalizing various forms of same-sex conduct with life imprisonment and the undefined “promotion of homosexuality” which put legitimate human rights and public health work at risk of criminal prosecution. The law criminalizing torture went into force, though challenges to prosecutions persist.
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