UNAIDS welcomes the decision of Uganda's Constitutional Court to overturn the law that called for a 14-year jail term for a first conviction, and imprisonment for life for 'aggravated homosexuality'. Challenged by 10 petitioners including civil society, parliamentarians and academics, the law was annulled by the Court over a lack of quorum when the bill was passed.
"This is a great day for social justice," said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. "The rule of law has prevailed."
UNAIDS urges the protection and safety of all people seeking health services. While homosexuality remains illegal in Uganda annulling the law could have positive public health implications. Studies show that when gay men and other men who have sex with men face discrimination including abuse, incarceration and prosecution - they are less likely to seek HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.
"President Yoweri Museveni had personally indicated to me - that he wants Uganda to accelerate its AIDS response to ensure all people have access to life-saving services," said Mr Sidibé.
UNAIDS urges all governments around the world, to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people through repealing criminal laws against adult consensual same sex sexual conduct; implementing laws to protect people from violence and discrimination; promoting campaigns that address homophobia and transphobia; and ensuring access to health services including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.