Disturbing Hunt for Gays Heats up in Uganda | Update on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Mob Attacks, Police Parades and Violence on the rise as International Day of Protests in planning statges

By Melanie Nathan, January 29, 2014.

uganda image hands flagOne of the worst fears with regard to the Anti Homosexuality bill was the possibility of witch hunts targeting LGBTI people in Uganda if the bill passed. Unfortunately, this fear has started to materialize, in the most disturbing way.  In the last two days alone, Human Rights  groups have noted mob violence against gays and registered about 4 cases of arbitrary arrests of members of the community:

Yesterday we reported  that two suspects, one from Belgium and one from Kenya were picked up by police from their home in the middle of the night and forced to take medical tests to prove that they had engaged in intercourse/gay sex, this was no doubt intended to support the police charges of engaging in Unnatural Acts against the order of nature. The two suspects were paraded before the Media yesterday by Police. Read here: http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/01/28/ugandan-police-persecute-by-public-parading-men-accused-of-being-gay/

The two other cases involved Ugandan Nationals; one transgender woman was picked up at about 5am Monday morning while she was on her way home from a ‘gay friendly’ bar in town.  She was attacked by a mob near the police post and publicly humiliated by the mob who beat her up and undressed her to check whether she was a man or a woman. This was all done in front of the media. After Police ‘saved’ her from the mob, She was charged with being ‘rogue and vagabond, and was detained and will be produced in court today.

The second Uganda National who identifies as a gay man got the shock of his life when he woke up to a mob of angry residents who had been mobilized by the LC1 chairperson to beat him up and throw his belongings out of the house. The Mob that was surrounding his house wanted to kill him for being homosexual. Police  vowed to continue mounting a search for ‘similar individuals’ within the Ugandan community.

All these cases come after a British National at the center of a ‘gay sex case’ was deported  even after all charges against him were dropped: More on the case reported here:
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Court-orders-deportation-of-Briton-in-gay-sex-case/-/688334/2156010/-/1472dw3z/-/index.html

His Ugandan counterpart who was arrested with him continues to face death threats and is still facing ‘sodomy charges’.

There are also reports coming in that certain areas are using the radio broadcast system to call for the “burning” of gays. A complaint has been lodged by organizations with the Broadcasting Council because it is believed  that the broadcasts are using illegal frequencies and the brodcasts may be committing the crime of “inciting death.”

While many LGBT Ugandans are determined to stay in Uganda to fight this Bill, others, who do not have resources to maintain their safety, some of whom cannot work because they have been outed publicly, are contacting us, in fear for their lives and asking for the United States and other Western countries to provide expedited mechanisms for them to resettle abroad.  Some Ugandans have made it over borders in the past week, and are floundering in foreign African countries without resources.  (Donations can be made to a Rescue Fund for LGBT refugees- not tax deductible at this time via Payal at nathan@privatecourts.com)

The Bill an Update:

The Uganda Parliament has failed to provide the public and press with an official copy of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that passed over a month ago, December 20, 2013.  LGBT activists believe that  the final Bill is being withheld from them intentionally, no surprise seeing as the Bill was passed without the usual notification, by placing it on the Parliament’s Agenda, and without the requisite quorum.This failure also makes one wonder if it is true that the death penalty has been excluded and if it is true “turning gays in” clause has been deleted as alleged.  The Bill is currentl;y with the President and he has 25 days left to assent to it, or ignore it, in which event it will be law or to return it to Parliament, where it can still pass on a two third majority vote.

President Museveni has called for a scientific investigation into the Bill, as to the nature of homosexuality. When the NRM Caucas, the President’s party, met on the the 24th of January 2014 to discuss the future of the Bill,  the President met resistance from his party members. They had vowed to defy the president on the bill Anti-gay Bill: NRM MPs vow to disagree with President at Caucus Meet .

According to LGBT human rights defenders in Uganda, “They kept their promise. The president had been hoping to influence a party position on the bill but that was not to be.  The president said that he will only sign the bill if scientists prove that being gay is a ‘choice’.
In other words he will only sign the bill if scientists prove that homosexuals are ‘made not born’.”  More on this story http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/01/24/nrm-uganda-to-hire-doctors-to-decipher-whether-homosexuality-is-abnormal-or-a-choice/ 

An unusually interesting article appeared in the Uganda Press. Usually the Uganda Press articles show an anti-gay slant with very little done to investigate and speak to the triuth about homosexuality. The Monitor article tries to  answers some of Museveni’s questions on the issue. The Opinion piece seeks to make an argument that homosexuality is a genetic condition:
http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Commentary/Homosexuality-is-regarded-as-a-genetical-condition/-/689364/2162786/-/9ww58e/-/index.html

In a recent communication with me, I was informed that a heterosexual journalist in Uganda was fired from the job because of the interest that the journalist was displaying in reporting on the AHB often and in an objective way.  The journalist was forced to make an apology to the Bureau chief.

The Ugandan LGBT human rights community has launched it own report -

Yesterday, 28th January 2014, Sexual Minorities Uganda(SMUG) launched a research report entitled ‘Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative Empirical evidence and strategic alternatives from an African perspective’ (REPORT BELOW)

This report uses scientific, historical, anthropological and comparative social data from other sub-Saharan African states to debunk the theories behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by Parliament as not only factually unfounded but also essentially Un-African.

“We are very concerned yet not surprised with the consequences of the bill and the current trend of attacks towards the LGBTI community.  We continue to urge the community to plan for their personal security and for organisations operating in Uganda to develop and adhere to their security plans. The Coalition secretariat can, on request refer organisations who need assistance with the development of their Security Plans to the right human resources.”

PLEASE STAY TUNED – ACTIVISTS inform that plans are underway to promote an ‘International Day of Action’ to bring together global voices against the Anti Homosexuality bill. A date will be advised in due course.

Is it important to know that today is  Day No. 25 on the countdown of the 30 days within which the President Must assent to the bill/ respond to Parliament with proposed amendments. We therefore cannot afford ‘stop making noise’. As one Ugandan LGBT activist likes to say, ‘We Wont Stop Till They Stop‘.

See Frank Mugisha’s interview here about the escalating violence on a San Francisco TV station with Michelle Meow: http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/01/28/frank-mugisha-speaks-about-increased-violence-in-uganda-due-to-the-anti-gay-bill/

By Melanie Nathan, nathan@privatecourts.com

READ SMUG REPORT HERE:

SMUG Alternative to Criminalisation of Homosexuality FINAL FINAL EDIT 23 January 2014 Copy

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6 Comments on “Disturbing Hunt for Gays Heats up in Uganda | Update on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

  1. jerbearinsantafe January 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM #

    Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    This is truly alarming!

  2. Dr. Rex January 29, 2014 at 3:11 PM #

    Reblog!!!

  3. Dr. Rex January 29, 2014 at 3:14 PM #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Very alarming indeed!! Complete violation of human rights!! How come this is allowed to go on? Persecution, discrimination, humiliation …. what else!!???

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Uganda: The hunt for gays is heating up in the country. Melanie Nathan reports. full story […]

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