Today, 1st March 2022, Uganda Network of Sex Worker–led Organizations (UNESO) joins the rest of the world to commemorate Zero Discrimination Day under the UNAIDS global theme “Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower.
On this day we celebrate the right of everyone to live a full, productive and dignified life! We also remember all those that died because of the stigma and discrimination fueled by the unfair laws that seek to harm than protect and empower.
In Uganda, the government has put in place laws and policies that are discriminatory and have resulted in sex workers and people living with HIV being treated as outcasts, criminals, victims, and vectors of disease. They are discriminated against when accessing essential health and legal services. Such laws reject a person’s enjoyment of their fundamental human rights and freedoms.
Following the UNAIDS action to create a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination, UNESO commitments to continue to challenge and condemn any acts of Stigma and Discrimination on sex workers, regardless of their nature of work, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and illness. To achieve this, we call on the following actions to be considered;
- That the government of Uganda urgently repeal and amend all discriminatory laws that fuel stigma and all forms of discrimination against sex workers in their diversities.
- That Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders continuously advocate for the removal of discriminatory laws and push for the creation of laws that seek to protect people from all forms of discrimination.
- That health service providers honour their oaths to save the lives of all individuals.
- That law enforcers honour their mandates that seek to promote and protect human rights for everyone.
Everyone has a right to live a full and productive life—and live it with dignity, free from discrimination.