Legal aid for LGBTI community in Uganda

Legal aid for LGBTI community in Uganda 15 October 2013

Defending the rights of sexual minorities

Adrian Jjuuko, a lawyer started the first and still the only Legal aid clinic offering tailor made services to LGBTI persons in Uganda. This was at a time when the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009, that seeks to create the offence of homosexuality which would even include ‘touching with the intent’ punishable by life imprisonment and the offence of aggravated homosexuality punishable by death, as well as the offence of promotion of homosexuality punishable by seven years imprisonment.

Offering legal services to LGBTI people would indeed be regarded as ‘promotion of homosexuality’ under the bill.

The project operates the outreach model of legal aid service provision, where the lawyers move out to the clients rather than the clients coming to the lawyers. This was done to encourage LGBTI persons to report cases of violations freely and within spaces that they are comfortable in, and that indeed ensure their security. The project offers free legal advice, change of name services for transgender people, registration of non registered LGBTI organisations, processing police bond and bail after arrests, verifying cases of violations, documenting the violations, training members of the LGBTI community as community paralegals, providing rapid response in cases of arrest or abuse, and strategic litigation. The project has reached been handling more than 250 cases every year since 2010.

Read more about this nomination for the Human Rights Tulip