Uganda (CESCR 08-07-2015)
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the initial report of Uganda on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/UGA/1) at its 36th to 38th meetings (E/C.12/2015/SR.36–38), held on 10 and 11 June 2015, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 50th meeting, held on 19 June 2015
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
- The Committee is concerned about the lack of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that encompasses all prohibited grounds of discrimination, and about the prevalence of societal stigma and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, ethnicity and disability. It also regrets the lack of information on the mandate and the actual functioning of the Equal Opportunities Commission (art. 2 (2)).
Recalling its general comment No. 20 (2009) on non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural rights, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law that includes all the grounds for discrimination set out in article 2 of the Covenant;
(b) Take steps to combat and prevent discrimination and societal stigma, in particular against persons with disabilities, persons with albinism and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals, and ensure their enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant, in particular access to housing, employment, social security, health care and education;
(c) Allocate the resources necessary for the Equal Opportunities Commission to discharge its role effectively and independently.
Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
- The Committee is highly concerned about the draft law on the “prohibition of promotion of unnatural sexual practices” that discriminates against persons on grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as about the criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual conduct in the State party’s Penal Code. The Committee is also concerned about information that there has been an increase in arbitrary detention and police abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in 2014 (art. 2 (2)).
The Committee urges the State party to withdraw the draft law on the “prohibition of promotion of unnatural sexual practices” and to urgently take steps to amend the Penal Code to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct. The Committee also urges the State party to investigate, deter and prevent acts of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, bring perpetrators to justice and provide compensation to victims.
- The Committee is concerned about repeated cases of forced evictions of communities as well as lack of compensation to those communities or provision of alternative housing. The Committee is particularly concerned about the case of Mubende District, whose inhabitants were evicted from their homes in 2001 because of the Kaweri Coffee Plantation, and about the fact that so far the legal redress that the district’s inhabitants were able to obtain did not include restitution of land rights. Moreover, the Committee expresses concern about information on many incidents of eviction of tenants following the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in 2014. The Committee is also concerned about the absence of information on the extent of homelessness in the State party (art. 11).
Taking into account its general comment No. 7 (1997) on the right to adequate housing: forced evictions, the Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Refrain from forcibly evicting individuals and expropriating land, including in the context of development projects. It recalls that in cases where eviction or relocation is considered to be justified, it should be carried out in strict compliance with the relevant provisions of international human rights law;
(b) Immediately take measures to ensure that the rights of the Mubende community, as well as of all other forcibly evicted communities, are restored;
(c) Investigate all reported cases of illegal evictions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and ensure they are compensated;
(d) Consider developing a legal framework on forced evictions that includes provisions on effective and meaningful consultation, adequate legal remedies and compensation;
(e) Include disaggregated data in its next periodic report on the extent of homelessness in the State party and measures taken to address it.
Right to health
- The Committee is concerned about the decrease in the health budget and at disparities in access to health care by poor individuals and families. It is also concerned that most hospitals are inaccessible to persons with disabilities and lack the necessary medical supplies as well as appropriate accommodation. The Committee is further concerned that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons are frequently denied access to health care and, in particular, that same-sex partners face serious difficulties in accessing HIV/AIDS-related prevention, treatment, care and support services (art. 12).
The Committee recommends that the State party include the right to health in its Bill of Rights and in relevant laws, as necessary. It urges the State party to raise progressively the budget allocations to the health sector with a view to reaching the benchmark agreed in the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases. The Committee also recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to provide everyone access to quality health care and take steps to address challenges faced by persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in access to health care, including HIV/AIDS-related care.