Uganda’s recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) has caused a surge in anti-LGBTQIA+ abuse, activists on the ground have said.

Content warning: This story includes topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable and/or upset.

Enacted in May, the AHA upholds the criminalisation of same-sex sexual activity and orders that certain acts be punished with the death penalty.

At least six people have been charged under the legislation, including two accused of “aggravated homosexuality” – something that is defined in the bill as sex with a minor, having sex while HIV-positive or engaging in incest.

LGBTQIA+ individuals in Uganda are now facing torrents of abuse because of the AHA, according to a report authored by a committee of the Convening for Equality (CFE) coalition and seen by Reuters.

From 1 January to 31 August this year, at least 306 rights violations based on someone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity have been recorded by researchers.

These include acts of torture, rape, arrest and eviction, with 18 documented instances of police conducting forced anal examinations to gather “evidence” of someone’s homosexuality.

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“Surviving a forced anal examination at police is something that lives with you forever,” one of the survivors told researchers.

Reports from 2020 and 2021 found that state actors perpetrated almost 70 per cent of rights violations, though in 2023 just 25 incidents were attributed to them.

Instead, most are believed to have been committed by private individuals, which has been linked to an increase in homophobic rhetoric in the country.

Researchers said this rise began prior to the AHA passing earlier this year and has been used to radicalise the public against LGBTQIA+ people.

The report noted that it cannot be considered comprehensive of the situation in Uganda because of the difficulties LGBTQIA+ people face in reporting the abuse they endure.