The Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC, Civil Society organizations and Sexual Minorities Uganda- SMUG have highlighted the need for more meetings to discuss the human rights for LGBTI identifying Ugandans.
Speaking while opening a half day event to discuss Human Rights Issues for sexual minorities in Entebbe on 21st March 2016, the UHRC Acting Chairperson Dr Katebalirwe Amooti said attention is critical in the fulfillment of basic human rights programming.
He added that skills and knowledge of advocating for rights of minorities further is to create space where LGBTI persons can enjoy and participate in the society with equal basis.
Ms Ruth Ssekindi Director Complaints Investigations and Legal Services at UHRC said having a frank discussion between CSOs and LGBTI organizations ensures that rights of minorities are respected and observed.
She said persecution of LGBTI persons is the key reason why many have chosen to stay in the closet saying there’s need for dialogue between CSOs and LGBTI groups to create awareness about LGBTI people.
SMUG ED Dr Frank Mugisha echoed the call for more dialogue between the three parties saying this will highlight the issues faced by sexual minorities and also help in forging a way forward for equality for all.
He says “It is good that Civil Society Organizations are working with LGBTI organizations to discuss issues concerning Sexual Minorities in Uganda, we need more engagement with partners if we are to achieve equality for LGBTI identifying Ugandans.”
In his concluding remarks Dr Frank Mugisha made the following recommendations;
- Start the conversation
- Include LGBTI rights in research and reports
- Involve LGBTI groups in broader human rights initiatives
- Work towards laws on sexual offences to be gender neutral
- Work towards a system mandate to report all child exploitation
- Prevent discriminatory access to health services
- Promote resolution 275 passed by the NGO – Forum at African commission
- Hold government accountable on Universal Periodical Review recommendations
The head of the Research and Documentation department at SMUG Mr Richard Lusimbo who also attended the meeting says it is a great opportunity to engage with other CSO’s and the UHRC to have a clear understanding of LGBTI rights.