The Bureau for Consular Affairs in the U.S Department of State has released a travel warning advising American Residents to avoid flying to Uganda.
“There remains a threat of terrorist attacks in Uganda and throughout the region.” Reads part of the advisory.
“Terrorist attacks occurred in several villages in western Uganda in December 2022 and there were multiple bombings in and around Kampala in 2021.”
According to the advisory while the terrorists’ attacks did not appear to target foreign nationals, anyone can be a victim. U.S. citizens should remain alert and avoid large public gatherings.
“Violent crime, such as armed robbery, home invasion, and sexual assault, presents a serious threat to those visiting and residing in Uganda and can occur at any time, especially in larger cities, including Kampala and Entebbe, in the Karamoja region, and along Uganda’s western and northern borders. Local police may lack appropriate resources to respond effectively to serious crime in most areas.”
Also, the release points out that the May 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Act raises the risk that LGBTQI+ persons could be prosecuted and subjected to life imprisonment or death based on provisions in the law.
“They may also be subject to mandatory reporting to the police if they are suspected of committing or intending to commit acts in violation of the law and could face harassment or attacks by vigilantes.” It says.
‘Supporters of the dignity and human rights of LGBTQI+ persons (including those of youth under the age of 18) could be prosecuted and imprisoned for multi-year sentences,” adds the advisory and advises travellers to ‘read the country information page for additional information on travel to Uganda!’
The Advisory Directs that ‘If one decides to travel to Uganda…’
- Do not leave food and drinks unattended in public, especially in local clubs.
- Remain with a group of friends in public.
- Use caution when walking or driving at night.
- Keep a low profile.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not display signs of wealth, such as expensive watches or jewellery.
- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
- Do not open your door for people at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.
- Stay alert in locations frequented by foreign tourists.
- Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
- Carry a copy of your passport and visa (if applicable) and secure originals in your hotel safe.
- Provide your itinerary to a family member or friend.
- Enrol in the Smart Traveller Enrolment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Be mindful that any public identification with the LGBTQI+ community, as either a member or supporter, could be grounds for prosecution, and that even private consensual same-sex relations are illegal.
- Review the Country Security Report for Uganda.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveller’s Checklist.
- Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
Additional Country Specific Information:
The May 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) includes penalties up to life imprisonment for consensual same-sex relations and capital punishment for crimes of “aggravated homosexuality” (such as serial offenders).