See shocking Video as Gay Activists and foreign visitor allies unlawfully persecuted in Ugandan raid at hotel denotes a great danger for any group holding a peaceful meeting in Uganda
Melanie Nathan, June 18, 2012.
Police have unlawfully raided a gay rights meeting in Kampala Uganda and arrested LGBTI activists. The group of sexual minority activists had gathered at Essela Hotel in Najjeera a Kampala suburb. The police accused the suspects of “propagating gay issues in Uganda.”
At this time there is no law in Uganda to prevent such a meeting and the police action seems to be unlawful.
Currently there is a bill which has languished a few times in the Ugandan parliament, known as The Anti-homosexuality Bill, dubbed as “Kill the Gays Bill,” which if passed would make it unlawful to “promote” homosexuality. But the Bill which was introduced by homophobic anti-gay MP David Bahati is still in committee and has yet to see passage.
This is the second time an LGBT gathering of this nature has been raided in Uganda this year. The first incident occurred in February when the Minister of Ethics, Minister Fr. Simon Lokodo, entered an event and closed it down, reprimanding the private resort hotel ownership and intimidating hotel staff.
It would seem that ministers and police in Uganda hold themselves above the law and in authority to effect the limitation of personal freedoms and the democratic rights of the citizens of Uganda, as such a meeting is absolutely legal. There is no commission of a crime and no reason why the police should have raided.
“EHAHRDP organized the training working on monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations for LGBTI defenders, which opened this morning at Esella Country Hotel, Najjera, Kampala. The workshop organisers, which brought together twenty HRDs from Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, as well as seven EHAHRDP staff members and interns, stopped the meeting when they learned that the media was coming to the hotel. Around ten journalists arrived at approximately 2.30pm, and two or three cameras were used to film the event. EHAHRDP has not been able to establish who informed the media that the training was taking place, although some of the journalists claimed to have received the information via the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Rev. Simon Lokodo.
Soon afterwards, the police arrived and began to question participants. Led by the head of the Kampala Metropolitan Criminal Investigations Department, the police began by questioning Paul Njogore from Freedom House, Jane Wothaya Thirikwa from Gay Kenya Trust, Neil Blazevic (a Canadian citizen) and Tabitha Netuwa from EHAHRDP, who were then held for some time in a police van and were told they would be taken to the Kira Road police station. The police are currently questioning all participants one-by-one, including by forcibly entering their hotel rooms.
EHAHRDP calls on the Ugandan police to immediately release all participants, and condemns this unjustified interruption of our legitimate activities.”
This is an outrageous case of government sponsored persecution. The Ugandan authorities ought to realize that by doing this they are demonstrating that it is unsafe for any group to hold any meeting about anything Uganda.
Based on this happening a second time it is my hope that foreign corporations and NGO’s take heed, noting the great danger in holding conferences of any kind in Uganda. All it takes is for more than one gay person to be present and you have what could be interpreted as the promotion of homosexuality, which it would seem is a crime even before the law has passed.
Currently the law against homosexuality in Uganda emanates from the interpretation of statute that refers to “crimes against the order of nature” which in some interpretations includes homosexual acts. Having a meeting about LGBT rights hardly fits this description.
See Earlier Article on First incident-
“As a Minister of Ethics, I have today decided to close this conference because it’s illegal. Homosexuality is not allowed in Uganda; please pack your bags now and go home,” Lokodo instructed, . http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/02/14/ugandan-minister-illegally-kicks-gays-out-of-luxury-resort-in-entebbe/