Arrested by the police using Covid laws as excuse, violated on the streets, evicted by landlords, outed by aggressive media. These are examples of what LGBT people are exposed to in Uganda today.
On 31 May, the Uganda police raided a LGBT homeless shelter. 44 individuals were detained at the police stations overnight and charged with disobeying the Covid prevention laws. On 8 June the last 39 of the arrested were granted bail by the Court.
Many of the arrested suffer from serious mental effects of the violence accompanying the arrests. Many are not sure of where to find accomodation because they have been ostracized at home and cannot go back to the shelter, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) writes in their report.
LGBT person targeted
“We are seeing Covid laws being used on the LGBT persons. The persons who were arrested at the shelter were charged under the covid laws, whereas the police during the investigation also carried out anal examinations. These are tests that are done on people to prove that they are actually engaged in same sex relations. This is showing that the crackdown and the witch hunt of LGBT persons is increasing in Uganda.” states Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG in a video recently sent to the Rafto Foundation.
"Don't stop speaking out. Don't stop raising the issue of the human rights of LGBT persons with your own politicians and your own friends"
400 cases in one year
The Ugandan human rights organization, which received the Rafto Prize in 2011, has over a period of one year registered 400 cases. The majority of these cases concern social exclusion, threats and verbal assaults. Transgender persons are violated most severely.
The Ugandan Parliament also recently passed a Sexual Offence Bill - a law that will be used to further harass and arrest LGBT persons. Frank Mugisha has described the bill as a major setback for the safety of members of the LGBT community
Needs our support
PRIDE is celebrated around the world in June, and Rafto Laureate Frank Mugisha encourages us to amplify the voices of the LGBT people in Uganda by raising your voice in your own community:
“Don't stop speaking out. Don't stop raising the issue of the human rights of LGBT persons with your own politicians and your own friends"
Recent events in Uganda:
3 May 2021: The Uganda Parliament passed the Sexual Offences Bill 2019. The initial object of this Bill was to enact specific laws on sexual offences for the effectual prevention of sexual violence.
SMUG is particularly concerned about Clause 11 in the Bill, which further criminalizes same-sex sexual acts even as the Uganda Penal Code Act already does, hence criminalizing the private lives of adult and consenting same-sex loving persons.
31 May 2021: Uganda Police officers raided a shelter located in Nansana and arrested 44 individuals under the allegation that they were celebrating an illegal same sex marriage ceremony. The 44 were detained at the police stations overnigh and charged with disobeying the Covid prevention laws.
On 8 June the last 39 of the arrested were granted bail by the Nansana Court.
Source: Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
Video: SMUG/Edit by Rafto Foundation
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
The 2011 Rafto Prize was awarded to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Frank Mugisha (1979), Executive Director of SMUG, received the award on behalf of the organisation. SMUG received the Rafto Prize for its struggle to make fundamental human rights apply to everyone, and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.