Uganda retains a legal regime on sexual offences that is heavily influenced by Victorian morality, which mainly focuses on criminalising ‘immoral’ (albeit generally victimless) conduct. Thus, the laws of Uganda as they relate to sexual offences, particularly in the Penal Code Act (a June 1950 legislation), define all sexual offences in terms of decency, morality, modesty, etc.

The Penal Code Act, therefore, has an entire chapter dedicated, not to ‘sexual offences’, but to ‘offences against morality.’ It looks at the offences of rape, defilement, abduction (with sexual intent), elopement, indecent assaults, prostitution, ‘unnatural sexual acts’, among others.

Now, while this chapter is no doubt critical in the protection of vulnerable persons from sexual violence and such gross violations of their bodily integrity, these acts should not be considered offensive to ‘morality’ but, rather, to the specific individual affected. Morality, like culture, is a subjective, ever-growing and ever-evolving concept that is nebulous, untouchable, dynamic and sometimes even unknowable depending on the times and regions where it is sought to be enforced – which is simply untenable in a good law. Read more........


Today, 17th May 2022, Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) joins the rest of world in celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). This day is commemorated annually to raise awareness and draw attention to the violence and discrimination faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and or expressions globally. 


To read the entire statement, click the link below:

HRAPF's Press statement on the Commemoration of International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Intersexphobia and Transphobia

Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Human Rights Day. This year marks the 73rd year since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10th December 1948, and this is cause for celebration as this document continues to guide and inspire the protection of human rights globally.

To read the entire statement, click the link below:

pdf HRAPF's Statement on the International Human Rights day 2021 (132 KB)

Criminal laws, particularly those providing for petty offences such as vagrancy laws, have consistently been used to arrest, detain, evict, or exploit the labour of persons who are deemed unfit to occupy public spaces. The continued enforcement of these laws often shows no regard for the individual right to dignity, fair trial, and freedom of movement and hence provides a basis for gross violation of the human rights of poor and vulnerable populations especially those in cities and major urban centers.

Petty offences in Uganda such as being a rogue and vagabond under section 168, touting, failure to pay debts, loitering to mention but a few are all under the Penal Code Act Cap 120. Though not targeted at the poor and vulnerable, these laws end up being enforced in a discriminatory manner and result in arbitrary and unlawful arrests of the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. Petty offences are inconsistent with the universal principles of equality and non-discrimination before the law, principles and rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and under Article 2 and 3 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. 

HRAPF with support from the Open Society Initiative of Eastern Africa (OSIEA) and the Coalition to Decriminalise and Declassify Petty Offences (CODPO) aired a documentary of the Implications of Petty Offences in Uganda. Watch Full Documentary here 

On 29th November 2021, The Botswana Court of Appeal through the Judge President Ian Kirby issues a monumental judgement to decriminalise consensual sex between same-sex partners.  The unanimous decision found that the Penal Code provisions (Sections 164 (a) and (c) ) violated the right to privacy (section 9 of the Constitution), the right to liberty, security of person and equal protection under the law (Section 3 of the Constitution) and the right to freedom from discrimination (section 15 of the Constitution)


Read more on the Judgement here

Continue reading