Human Rights Council - 50th Session, Item 6
Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review - Uganda
Thank you Mr President,
Action Canada makes this statement on behalf Girls Awake, Peer to Peer Uganda, the PACT, and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We regret that Uganda has taken an inconsistent approach to recommendations on the right to health and HIV/AIDS. Uganda noted those recommendations that focus on meeting the Abuja Declaration health budget threshold, on improving access to a broad range of sexual and reproductive health services including abortion, and on improving the legal and policy status of key populations including persons living with HIV and LGBT people.
HIV transmission is still criminalised in Uganda, thus exacerbating stigma and resulting in people living with HIV and are at high risk of HIV being reluctant to seek health services. Additionally, young people living with HIV in detention are routinely denied access to their antiretroviral treatment, endangering their health. We call on Uganda to repeal all laws criminalising HIV transmission, to implement programs of holistic support for people living with HIV, and to tackle HIV-related stigma.
Abortion in Uganda can only be accessed to save a woman’s life, contrary to the Maputo Protocol and international human rights standards. In practice, most doctors refuse to perform abortions even under this exception. Without free, legal, safe, and accessible abortion services young pregnant people seek out unsafe methods of abortion that can result in disastrous health consequences or death. We call on Uganda to guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion and post-abortion care for all, including young people.
Finally, Uganda’s new framework for sexuality education continues to focus on abstinence only and stigmatises LGBT people. CSE is key for young people to realise their sexual and reproductive rights, and is essential to tackling the AIDS epidemic. We call on Uganda to fully implement mandated comprehensive sexuality education in line with international technical guidance for youth in and out of school.