Uganda

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Africa: Moving towards revolutionising approaches to HIV criminalisation

29 Jun 2017
“We have all agreed with the Sustainable Development Goal of ending HIV and Tuberculosis by 2030. We cannot get there while we are arresting the same people we are supposed to ensure are accessing treatment and living positively,” said Dr … More

Video and written reports for Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalisation at AIDS 2016 now available

08 Sep 2016
On 17 July 2016, approximately 150 advocates, activists, researchers, and community leaders met in Durban, South Africa, for Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalisation – a full-day pre-conference meeting preceding the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) to discuss progress on … More

Uganda: ABC Radio interviews HIV criminalisation survivor, Rosemary Namubiru, and UGANET’s Dora Kiconco Musinguzi

18 Aug 2016
Listen to Natasha Mitchell compelling interview with HIV criminalisation survivor, Rosemary Namubiru, and UGANET’s Dora Kiconco Musinguzi on the challenge to the problematic HIV criminalisation statutes within Uganda’s HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act. This seven minute audio report from AIDS … More

Uganda: ‘HIV nurse’ Rosemary Namubiru loses conviction appeal, but still released from prison after almost a year [Updated with full judgement]

28 Nov 2014
The High Court in Kampala has rejected an appeal from Rosemary Namubiru, who was convicted in May 2014 for negligently exposing a child to HIV during a needlestick injury. However, Justice Rugadya Atwooki found that her original three year sentence was excessive … More

[Feature] Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalisation

01 Oct 2014
Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalisation A pre-conference meeting for AIDS 2014 In July 2014, at a meeting held to just prior to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia around 150 participants from all regions of the world came together … More

Uganda: Civil society coalition condemns President Museveni for signing HIV Prevention and Control Bill into law

20 Aug 2014
[Press Statement from the Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act] Civil society organisations reacted harshly today to the assent by President Museveni on July 31 2014 to Uganda’s controversial HIV Bill, the HIV Prevention and Control Act of 2014, … More

Uganda: Parliament passes ‘deeply flawed’ HIV law, takes ‘giant leap backwards': urge President Museveni to veto

14 May 2014
After years of intensive debate and strong local and international advocacy against many of the problematic clauses found within Uganda’s omnibus HIV law, yesterday Uganda’s Parliament passed the HIV Prevention and Control Act virtually unchanged from this 2010 version. The … More

Uganda: ‘Trial by media’ of nurse accused of exposing a child to HIV via injection sets a ‘dangerous precedent’

12 Feb 2014
The ongoing case of Rosemary Namubiru, the Ugandan nurse accused of exposing a child to HIV during the course of administering an injection, is highlighted in a powerful press release issued yesterday by AIDS Free World.  Fortunately, Ms Namubiru is … More

African HIV criminalisation achievements and challenges highlighted at ICASA 2013

11 Dec 2013
The African continent has more countries with overly broad and vague HIV-specific laws relating to HIV non-disclosure, exposure and/or transmission than any other global region, nearly all of which have been enacted in the past decade. Although North America is … More

Nigeria: Oh the irony – “aggressive dissemination” of HIV-specific law both increases and punishes stigma

11 Nov 2010
It was passed three years ago, but only now has the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), in collaboration with Enhancing Nigerian HIV Response (ENR) and the Lagos State Ministry of Justice begun “aggressive dissemination” of the Law for the … More

Uganda: Latest version of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act introduced, HRW analysis

20 May 2010
Yesterday, Beatrice Rwakimari, Chairperson of the Committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Matters introduced the latest version of the 2010 HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act to the Ugandan parliament. According to a press release from Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued yesterday: … More

Uganda: Minister’s turnaround on HIV bill raises concern (PLUSNews)

13 May 2010
KAMPALA, 11 May 2010 (PlusNews) – Ugandan AIDS activists have expressed concern over a decision by the Ministry of Health to back an HIV/AIDS bill that would criminalize the deliberate transmission of HIV. Last week, State Minister for Health in … More

East Africa: Move Towards Common HIV/AIDS Law (IPS)

05 Dec 2009
Another excellent piece from the Inter Press Service News Agency, whose mission is to give voices to the voiceless. EAST AFRICA: Move Towards Common HIV/AIDS Law by Wambi Michael ARUSHA, Dec 4 (IPS) – All HIV-positive east Africans could soon … More

Uganda: ‘Human rights will suffer’ under new HIV/AIDS law (update)

03 Dec 2009
Update: December 3rd The United Nations Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa, Elizabeth Mataka – and NGOs that include the Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/Aids (Uganet) and ActionAID – have added to the many voices urging Uganda to … More

Global: Human Rights Watch – Punitive Laws Threaten HIV Progress

26 Nov 2009
Human Rights Watch today issued a press release to tie in with World AIDS Day – the theme of which is “universal access and human rights” – which highlights that punitive laws, including those that criminalise HIV transmission, threaten progress … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Country overview

The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, 2010, CIII (24) Bill Supplement to the Uganda Gazette (Apr. 30, 2010).) was passed by Parliament on 13 May 2014, and signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni dated 31 July 2014. Problematic sections include Section 41. Attempted transmission of HIV, and Section 43. Intentional transmission of HIV. Vague and overly broad. Defences are either disclosure and/or proof that "protective measures were used during penetration."

In addition, the Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch 120) contains Section 171. Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease, a non HIV specific law which was used in the one case to date.

Specific laws

Specific law enacted Yes

The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, 2010, CIII (24) Bill Supplement to the Uganda Gazette (Apr. 30, 2010).) was passed by Parliament on 13 May 2014, and signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni dated 31 July 2014. Problematic sections include Section 41. Attempted transmission of HIV, and Section 43. Intentional transmission of HIV.

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: Yes

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: No

Prosecutions

Number of prosecutions 1

A nurse living with HIV, Rosemary Namubiru, was convicted under the Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch 120) Section 171. Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease in May 2014 for negligently exposing a child to HIV during a needle stick injury. The case was seen as test for public support of the provisions in the HIV Prevention and Control Act. She was since convicted and then released for term served in November 2014.

Convictions

Number of convictions 1

A nurse living with HIV, Rosemary Namubiru, was convicted under the Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch 120) Section 171. Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease in May 2014 for negligently exposing a child to HIV during a needle stick injury. The case was seen as test for public support of the provisions in the HIV Prevention and Control Act. She was since convicted and then released for term served in November 2014.

Laws

Applicable laws

The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014, Section 41. Attempted transmission of HIV,  and Section 43. Intentional transmission of HIV.

http://www.hivlawandpolicy.org/sites/www.hivlawandpolicy.org/files/Ugandan-HIV%20Law.pdf

Penal Code: Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch 120). Section 171. Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease http://www.icla.up.ac.za/images/un/use-of-force/africa/Uganda/Penal%20Code%20Act%20Uganda%201950.pdf


Bills precedent to  HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014:

HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, 2010, CIII (24) Bill Supplement to the Uganda Gazette (Apr. 30, 2010).) https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/2010_HHR_Uganda_AprilHIVBill.pdf

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Control Bill (2007). http://www.chr.up.ac.za/undp/domestic/docs/legislation_09.pdf

Applicable key wording

The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014. Part VIII- Offences and Penalties

Section 41. Attempted transmission of HIV

A person who attempts to transmit HIV to another person commits a felony and on conviction shall be liable to a fine of not more than twelve currency points or imprisonment of not more than five years or both.

Section 43. Intentional transmission of HIV

(1) A person who wilfully and intentionally transmits HIV to another person commits an offence, and on conviction shall be liable to a fine of not more than one hundred and twenty currency points or to imprisonment for a term of not more than ten years or both.

(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under subsection (1) if-

(a)    the person was aware of the HIV status of the accused and the risk of infection and he or she voluntarily accepted the risk;

(b)   the alleged transmission was through sexual intercourse and protective measures were used during penetration. 


Penal Code: Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch 120).

Section 171. Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease:

Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is and which he or she knows or has reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

Discussion

The history of HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control legislation in Uganda is long. In 2008, the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, 2008, which makes provision for a person to be convicted for transmitting HIV, was tabled in the Parliament. The Bill placed a duty on everyone to protect themselves and others from HIV infection. During a visit in Kampala, the UN envoy on AIDS argued at a press conference against the criminalisation of HIV spread: see Further reading: Uganda: UN (United Nations Special Envoy on Aids in Africa, Ms Elizabeth Mataka) Envoy, Activists Criticise Aids Law. The Monitor, 3 December 2009. This bill was widely criticized by groups representing people living with HIV and others. Despite many years of intensive debate and strong local and international advocacy, including the Ministry of Health, the law was passed in 2014.

The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, 2010, CIII (24) Bill Supplement to the Uganda Gazette (Apr. 30, 2010).) was passed by Parliament on 13 May 2014, and signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni dated 31 July 2014. See Further reading:

·         Ugandan President Signs Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission. J. Lester Feder, BuzzFeed News, 19 August 2014.

·         Uganda: New Law Criminalizes HIV/AIDS Transmission, Requires Pregnant Women to Undergo HIV Testing. Global Legal Monitor, United States Library of Congress, 17 Sept. 2014.

·         Uganda signs law criminalizing HIV transmission, Jay Pulitano, Faith Issues Intern, GLADD, 19 August 2014.

·         Bernard EJ. Uganda: Parliament passes ‘deeply flawed’ HIV law, takes ‘giant leap backwards’: urge President Museveni to veto. HIV Justice Network, 14 May 2014.

 

However, a broad coalition of civil society organisations is now exploring a legal challenge to the law.

·         Personal correspondence with Patrick Eba, Senior Human Rights and Law Adviser, UNAIDS in Edwin J Bernard and Sally Cameron (2016).

Further reading

Edwin J Bernard and Sally Cameron. Advancing HIV Justice 2: Building momentum in global advocacy against HIV criminalisation. HIV Justice Network and GNP+. Brighton/Amsterdam, April 2016. http://www.hivjustice.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/AHJ2.final2_.10May2016.pdf

Latest cases and news can be found at: http://www.hivjustice.net/site/news/?country=230&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014.

http://www.hivlawandpolicy.org/sites/www.hivlawandpolicy.org/files/Ugandan-HIV%20Law.pdf

HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, 2010, CIII (24) Bill Supplement to the Uganda Gazette (Apr. 30, 2010).) https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/2010_HHR_Uganda_AprilHIVBill.pdf

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Control Bill (2007). http://www.chr.up.ac.za/undp/domestic/docs/legislation_09.pdf

Penal Code: Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch 120). http://www.icla.up.ac.za/images/un/use-of-force/africa/Uganda/Penal%20Code%20Act%20Uganda%201950.pdf

Bernard EJ. Uganda: ‘HIV nurse’ Rosemary Namubiru loses conviction appeal, but still released from prison after almost a year. HIV Justice Network, 28 November 2014. http://www.hivjustice.net/news/uganda-hiv-nurse/

Uganda: New Law Criminalizes HIV/AIDS Transmission, Requires Pregnant Women to Undergo HIV Testing. Global Legal Monitor, United States Library of Congress, 17 Sept. 2014. http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/uganda-new-law-criminalizes-hivaids-transmission-requires-pregnant-women-to-undergo-hiv-testing/

Uganda signs law criminalizing HIV transmission, Jay Pulitano, Faith Issues Intern, GLADD, 19 August 2014. http://www.glaad.org/blog/uganda-signs-law-criminalizing-hiv-transmission

·         Ugandan President Signs Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission. J. Lester Feder, BuzzFeed News, 19 August 2014. https://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/ugandan-president-signs-law-criminalizing-hiv-transmission?utm_...

Barton A. Ugandan nurse Rosemary Namubiru faces three years in prison, while charge against her remains misreported, misunderstood. Science Speaks, 19 May 2014.

http://sciencespeaksblog.org/2014/05/19/ugandan-nurse-rosemary-namubiru-faces-three-years-in-prison-while-charge-against-her-remains-misreported-misunderstood/

Uganda HIV nurse Rosemary Namubiru jailed by Kampala court. BBC, 19 May 2014.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27468741

Bernard EJ. Uganda: Parliament passes ‘deeply flawed’ HIV law, takes ‘giant leap backwards’: urge President Museveni to veto. HIV Justice Network, 14 May 2014.

http://www.hivjustice.net/news/uganda-parliament-passes-deeply-flawed-hiv-law-takes-giant-leap-backwards/

Uganda: Woman, 65, Arrested for Allegedly Injecting her HIV-Positive Blood into a Two Year-Old. HIV Justice Network, 13 January 2014. http://www.hivjustice.net/storify/uganda-woman-65-arrested-for-allegedly-injecting-her-hiv-positive-blood-into-a-two-year-old/

Uganda: UN (United Nations Special Envoy on Aids in Africa, Ms Elizabeth Mataka) Envoy, Activists Criticise Aids Law. The Monitor, 3 December 2009. http://allafrica.com/stories/200912030047.html


Cases

Overview

A nurse living with HIV, Rosemary Namubiru, was convicted under the Penal Code Act 1950 (Ch 120) Section 171. Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease, in May 2014 for negligently exposing a child to HIV during a needle stick injury. The case was seen as test for public support of the provisions in the HIV Prevention and Control Act. She was since convicted and then released for term served in November 2014. See Further reading:

·         Bernard EJ. Uganda: ‘HIV nurse’ Rosemary Namubiru loses conviction appeal, but still released from prison after almost a year. HIV Justice Network, 28 November 2014.

·         Barton A. Ugandan nurse Rosemary Namubiru faces three years in prison, while charge against her remains misreported, misunderstood. Science Speaks, 19 May 2014.

·         Uganda HIV nurse Rosemary Namubiru jailed by Kampala court. BBC, 19 May 2014.

·         Uganda: Woman, 65, Arrested for Allegedly Injecting her HIV-Positive Blood into a Two Year-Old. HIV Justice Network, 13 January 2014. 

In Canada, a Ugandan national, Johnson Aziga, 52, is the first person in that country to be prosecuted for murder in an HIV infection case for allegedly having unprotected sex without disclosing his health status to partners.

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017