An Open Letter to Minister Nanaia Mahuta and the New Zealand Government regarding the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023

We call upon the Government of New Zealand to leverage its position on the world stage and in the United Nations to condemn the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 in Uganda. We call also for the government to make special provision and allowance for accepting LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers from Uganda. 

This bill imposes severe penalties, including the death sentence, on individuals for consensual same-sex relationships or even identifying as LGBTQIA+. We acknowledge the historical context of anti-LGBTQIA+ norms in Uganda, originally instituted by British colonial powers. It is crucial, now more than ever, for Aotearoa New Zealand to support the fight against such discriminatory laws as a part of its contribution to the broader decolonisation process. We urge our government to promote respect for human rights and acceptance of diversity in Uganda and globally.

The law infringes upon numerous fundamental rights that Uganda's constitution and various international human rights treaties guarantee, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It represents a direct violation of the rights to freedom of expression, association, liberty, privacy, equality, and freedom from discrimination, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as the right to a fair trial.

This legislation not only discriminates against Ugandan LGBTQIA+ individuals but also seeks to erase their identities, silence their voices, and end their lives. It has the potential to lead to widespread extortion and abuse, undermining the rule of law—with such negative effects seen already from the environment of hate fostered by the Bill’s introduction

Furthermore, this law will severely harm public health efforts, notably those related to HIV and other stigmatised diseases. The United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2021 affirmed the importance of dismantling discriminatory laws and stigma against key populations, such as men who have sex with men and transgender people, to combat HIV globally. It has already contributed to adverse health outcomes.

We stand in firm solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community in Uganda and the human rights-oriented civil society organisations supporting them. We urge the Government of New Zealand to extend its support to these communities and the global movements upholding the rights of sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.

We also call on you to consider special provisions for LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers from Uganda and family reunification pathways for LGBTQIA+ people in Aotearoa, recognising the imminent danger they face due to such discriminatory legislation.

Signed by: 

Rainbow Greens of Aotearoa New Zealand

Ricardo Menéndez March (Green Party Rainbow Spokesperson) 

Golriz Ghahraman (Green Party Spokesperson for Human Rights)