Sexual Minorities Uganda-SMUG convened the 4th Uganda Key Populations Consortium meeting in Uganda. While speaking at the meeting, SMUG Executive Director Dr Frank Mugisha said, UKPC was an idea we discussed and didn’t expect it to get here. Many times we are faced with challenges and partners receive funding for doing LGBTIQ work but we do not know what the funds are doing and there’s no accountability. The UKPC was initially supposed to be a technical consortium. I hope Richard Lusimbo and team go back to the drawing board and make amendments to improve the objectives of CCM. As the consortium is growing, the biases are beginning to fade. I’m glad that now the community is seeing the importance of UKPC. I call upon the community to support UKPC and continue bringing in information because we need it. Our other asset is the political will, for the first time we got the office of the president to make a statement. As SMUG we will continue pushing the community to make sure there’s flow of information.
Ssanyu Hajara Batte the Executive Director Lady Mermaid’s Bureau also one of the representatives of the key populations on the Country Coordinating Mechanisms-CCM which is the governing body for the use of the Global Fund resources in recipient countries said; “We have seen many organizations that are beneficiaries of the Key Population International Fund-KPIF. Although here in Uganda we have some challenges, I know we can work together to deal with these issues. When UKPC was in the beginning stages I was skeptical to join but after lots of engagement with Richard Lusimbo and other members I was convinced to join the consortium. Together with a colleague at CCM we are sourcing for funds that will help us register UKPC and set structures and systems. We cannot start lobbying for funds until we clear our house.”
While giving his remarks on the security situation and recommendations for LGBTIQ people in Uganda, Pepe Julian Onziema our Programs Director said, “In the past three weeks or so, we have seen a lot of news about a proposed anti LGBT law that will/ might be re tabled. A lot of energy has been put towards re-tabling the Anti Homosexuality Act and although it wasn’t re tabled by 28th October 2019 the conversation invoked many issues of insecurity for LGBTIQ people in Uganda” He added that SMUG has been at the center of damage control though the Rights Evidence Action-REAct project. He spoke about how the Sexual Offences Bill-SOB will also affect us saying the mover of SOB was asked by Government Minister David Bahati to include a section that would be like the annulled Kill the Gays bill.
Brant Luswata the Executive Director Icebreakers Uganda said Rights Evidence Action-REAct is an initiative that records and respond to violations against LGBTI and sex workers in Uganda. “The government of Uganda has been asking us for evidence of incidences where the human rights of LGBTIQ have been abused and through REAct we can show evidence. This is why the government has been able to come out and make a statement urging health workers to provide non-discriminatory services to LGBTIQ people in Uganda after lesbian was assaulted by a doctor.”
Flavia Zalwango the Programs Director Human Rights and Awareness Platform-HRAPF says she tried to negotiate with the SOB committee but they refused to consider her request. About the recent attacks she said there’s need for reporting of the cases. “People need to stop wanting to break news. We need to stop outing people when we are reporting about these cases on social media. A lesbian is now having issues with her parents after she was outed by some members of the LGBTIQ community in Uganda. The world is looking at us, the government of Uganda is looking at us. People will stop listening to our issues when we report without about these attacks before getting all the information. We also need to be vigilant and respond to cases at times we are lax and only react when people have been beaten up. We need to report any incidents including threatening phone calls or messages. There has been a lot of pressure on lawyers, people call and insult/abuse them. This is not good. Let us try and be patient and appreciative of lawyers.
The meeting ended with Our Research and Documentation officer Richard Lusimbo taking participants through a process of voting for the UKPC logo. In 2018, the consortium formed in a bid to support and coordinate advocacy, policy analysis, lobbying, monitoring and accountability efforts regarding the areas of HIV, health policy, and human rights.
We are proud to present to you the Uganda Key Population Consortium logo!