Uganda passes new law against stealing of human organs

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has approved a law to stop the stealing of human organs and tissues, his health minister said on Tuesday, in a nation where women have been reportedly duped into unnecessary surgeries.

Local media have in recent years reported cases of women recruited for domestic work in the Middle East being conned into medical procedures after which their kidneys are sold in global trafficking rings.

In a tweet, Health Minister Jane Aceng thanked Museveni for signing the Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill 2023 to better regulate the area. “The door is now open for #Uganda to begin a new chapter of Organ Transplant,” she said.

That came a day after Museveni and his government drew widespread international condemnation for enacting one of the world’s harshest anti-LGBTQ laws, which included the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”.

The donation and transplant law, the first of its kind in Uganda, prohibits any commercial dealings in human organs and tissues. Punishments include life imprisonment and stiff fines.

The country’s influential Catholic Church and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have previously spoken about the prevalence of organ trafficking in the country.

In September 2022, Aceng admitted that the demand for organ transplants in the country was high, but there was no law in place.

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