A letter circulating on social media suggests that landlords in Uganda have now begun evicting LGBTQ+ tenants to avoid violating the country’s recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act.
According to the new law, landlords could face up to seven years in prison if they knowingly allow “any premises to be used by any person for purposes of homosexuality.”
Although the authenticity of the letter has not been independently verified, it terminates the tenancy of two occupants with one week’s notice to vacate the premises.
The rental company justifies the eviction by citing: “Your behaviours, the way you act and your homosexual visitors who keep coming to our client’s premises which behaviours are against the cultural norms and normal behaviours of our society.”
It also states that the tenants’ “abnormal behaviours” pose a “serious threat” to the neighbourhood and the children residing on the premises.
The company added that “the likely punishments that have been imposed to landlords harbouring
homosexuals in their premises… may cause a negative output to our client (herein the landlord).”
If the tenants fail to vacate within the designated time, the company warns that it will seek legal action to protect its client from potential penalties.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act imposes other severe penalties, including life imprisonment for engaging in homosexual acts, the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality, and a 20-year prison term for “promoting” or advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. Minors engaging in homosexual acts can face three years in prison.
Activists have filed a petition in Uganda’s Constitutional Court, challenging the law on the grounds that it violates the rights to equality and dignity. They also argue that the law was passed without proper public consultations.
The spokesperson for António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, expressed deep concern over the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Guterres believes the law will exacerbate “the violence and persecution already faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Uganda.”
The World Bank and USAID have both announced reviews of their aid to Uganda in response to the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.