In 20 November, the Ugandan parliament enacted the Law on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (Control), also known as the Law on Narcotics. Approval of
draconian legislation, which aims to deter drug abuse through the imposition of cruel imprisonment - a conviction for simple possession a person can end up in a cell for 25 years.
The Narcotics Act is the fourth in a worrying series of laws passed in recent months 12, which challenge the principles of public health and show a blatant disregard for the dignity and human rights.
These laws aim to individuals who are already marginalized by society and most in need of health and support services: people prostituting to support their families; the LGBTI group living in fear of suffering violence in the community; people hiding their HIV medications from their own families and people struggling to cope with addiction and other diseases. Perhaps most damaging of all, Ugandan society parties are interpreting these laws to justify violence and exclusion.
Together, these four laws would amount to a full-fledged attack on public health and, if enacted, would result in poor rampant use of prison.
Approved in December 2013, the anti-pornography law prohibits pornography, word that includes any exposure of the sexual parts of a person in order to cause sexual excitement. Soon after it was approved, the law caused a terrifying response in Uganda, with dozens of reports of women being naked in public by angry mobs.
In response to the violence, the cabinet backed "to review" the law in late February, just weeks after presidential approval, but not before he had endangered the lives of many women, particularly sex workers, all in the country. Sources observing the Parliament indicate that this review has not happened yet.
The HIV Prevention and Management Act (HIV Law)
The Uganda Law criminalizing HIV transmission and "attempted transmission" of HIV. From a legal perspective, broad language of the law is particularly dangerous. Just about who is HIV seropositive may be charged with attempted transmitting HIV a charge that could get the firing someone, poured or beaten by a group of vigilantes.
In a public health vision, decades of work with HIV shows that the criminalization prevents people from being tested because they think that they do not know their status and can not be accused of HIV transmission.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act (LAH)
The LAH was approved in December 2013, prompting a flurry of international community, which only seemed to fuel the fervor of conservative leaders of Uganda. In other words, the law proposed perpetual draconian punishment on individuals convicted of an act of homosexuality.
Since then, many acts of violence have been attributed to the law, forcing hundreds of gays, lesbians and transgender people to stay in secret shelters. In a sweeping clause, the law also banned a wide range of activities considered promotion of homosexuality. For example, in April, under the auspices of LAH, a health project that provides HIV services for men who have sex with men was raided by police because it was believed to be "training young people in homosexuality."
Although the Constitutional Court annulled the LAH in August for technical reasons, the question remains heated. Parliamentarians signed in support of a bill reviewed in early December are promising to pass a new anti-homosexuality law before Christmas.
The Narcotics Law
The latest Uganda legislative coup in public health, the law of Narcotics penalizes the possession of illegal drugs from the 10 25 years in prison. Trafficking - encompassing everything from small sales to export internationally will be punished with life imprisonment. Even those who have never encountered illegal substance may find s caught in a trap.
The fact that law charges a sentence of 5 years in prison for non-disclosure of previous prescriptions for narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances (including those for pets and farm animals). Punitive laws like this push people away from social and health programs that are vital for drug addiction management, preventing the transmission of HIV and supporting people to live a full and productive life.
"Drug use in Uganda is on the rise." We need an open environment in which to share information and talk about the addiction, said a representative of the Uganda Harm Reduction Network. "By further criminalizing drug use, this law pushes people into darkness. People are scared to talk and afraid to seek needed medical help because the government currently definitely puts the use of drugs as a matter of justice, not as a health issue. "
Translated by Aline Amorim
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