Kampala – Constitutional Court judge Christopher Izama Madrama has given the Attorney General of the Government of Uganda two days to submit a formal reply to the HIV Constitutional Petition No. 4 of 2016, after it came up for mention in the court on August 12th, 2021.
In 2016, the Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET) with the support of the Civil Society organization (CSO) HIV Law Coalition, filed a petition seeking for the constitutional court’s interpretation of three clauses in the HIV Prevention and Control Act of 2015.
The Act enacted stringent punishments for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission, something UGANET and her partners believe has serious ramifications on how much people live in fear.
The coalition also argues that the Act creates stigma and shame from living with a criminalized health condition and leads to unfair application of the law on enforcement, with the few cases reported thus far showing that women and girls are bearing the brunt of HIV criminalization.
“An enabling HIV legal environment, one which fosters dignity and access to services without stigma and discrimination cannot champion HIV criminalization,” said Dorah K. Musinguzi, the Executive Director at UGANET.
“CSO HIV Law advocates, communities of people living with HIV, and all key populations including women and girls await with anticipation the court’s interpretation of the law to establish whether or not it limits rights,” she added.
The defendant’s lawyers Francis Onyango and Peter Mukiibi were given only two weeks to have made all the necessary replies for the case to be fixed for hearing.
The HIV Prevention and Control Act of 2015 criminalizes the transmission of HIV, sanctions forced disclosure of one’s HIV status and it enforces mandatory testing, which is against the human rights of individuals.