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Growing Abuse Of Gays In Uganda Amnesty Says


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Growing Abuse Of Gays In Uganda Amnesty Says

by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief

Posted: August 2, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(London) Amnesty International has voiced concern about what it calls the "on-going intimidation" of lesbian and gay rights activists in Uganda.

It says that attacks on gays have increased since the July vote in Parliament to amend the constitution to provide prison time for same-sex couples who marry. (story)

Amnesty said that Victor Juliet Mukasa, Chair of Sexual Minorities Uganda, fears for her safety after her house was raided on the night of 20 July 2005.

Local government officials in a suburb of the capital city, Kampala, entered her house in her absence and seized documents and other material, apparently looking for "incriminating evidence" relating to the activities of her organization. No search warrant was produced even though Mukasa asked for one to be produced, Amnesty said.

Sexual Minorities Uganda, or SMUG, has a long history of advocating for the rights of the LGBT community in Uganda.

Another lesbian activist, who was in Juliet's house on the night of the raid, was arbitrarily arrested and detained by local government officials and then taken to the police station, according to Amnesty.

The group says that she was subjected "to humiliating and degrading treatment, in breach of her right to liberty, security and inviolability of person and to privacy." No charges were pressed against her and she was later released.

Amnesty said is concerned that the incidents add to a pattern of abuse in Uganda.

In February, the Ugandan Media Council banned the play "The Vagina Monologues" by the American playwright Eve Ensler, which several women's organizations planned to stage to mark V-Day – a day of awareness-raising about violence against women. The council found that the play "prominently promotes and glorifies acts of unnatural sex…or homosexuality."

Last October, a radio station was compelled to pay a fine for hosting a live talk show with sexual rights activists discussing discrimination against members of the LGBT community in Uganda and their need for HIV/AIDS services.

The Broadcasting Council imposed a fine of approximately one thousand US dollars, claiming that the program was "contrary to public morality" and breached existing laws.

In November the government warned the United Nations joint program on HIV/AIDS that it risks being thrown out of the country if it offers AIDS education to gays. (story)

Following these incidents, security officials continued to harass the LGBT community, causing gay rights activists at one of the main universities to fear for their personal safety.

Amnesty on Tuesday called on the government to respect and to ensure the rights of all members of the LGBT community on its territory.

With regards to the SMUG activists, including Victor Juliet Mukasa, Amnesty International called on Ugandan authorities to fully implement the provisions of the 1998 UN Declaration on the Human Rights.

©365Gay.com 2005


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