Statement On Closure Of Event To Mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Kampala – Thursday 17th May 2018

Sexual Minorities Uganda condemns the actions of the Uganda Police and the Minister of Ethics and Integrity in unlawfully interfering with and stopping an event held to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). Today’s events come at a time when we are witnessing continuously narrowing space for civic organizing in Uganda generally, and LGBTI organizing in particular.

Pepe Julian Onziema, the Programmes Director for Sexual Minorities Uganda notes that this is the 8th LGBTI event to be interfered with and/or stopped by the state in less than two years. “We are deeply saddened and concerned with this trend that continues to undermine Uganda’s human rights obligations under its Constitution and International Human Rights law”, he notes.

As has variously been decided by Ugandan courts of law, LGBTI persons are entitled to the rights and freedoms protected in Uganda’s Constitution and international human rights instruments, including the right to non-discrimination and the freedoms of association and assembly. Stopping LGBTI focused events is a blatant violation of these rights and freedoms, and a failure of the State to fulfill its obligations to protect, respect and fulfill the rights of its citizens. We note with concern that these violations are occasioned by the Uganda Police on the instructions of the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, who has publicly declared a war against what is termed as exhibition and promotion of homosexuality in Uganda. These instructions are unlawful and should not be enforced.

Godiva Akullo, a lawyer with Chapter Four Uganda says “the actions of the Minister on this day are abhorrent and should be condemned by any Ugandan who believes in human rights. The Police’s insistence on enforcing unlawful orders issued by the minister for Ethics and Integrity is disappointing and an abuse of their powers and duty to maintain law and order and protect the rights of all Ugandans.”

The Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, Dr. Frank Mugisha says the LGBTI community shall not be intimidated and has called today’s events “a shame and very unfortunate”. He added, “As members of Uganda’s LGBTI community, it is important to remain steadfast and resilient in the demand for the respect of our human rights and dignity, especially in the face of adversity.”

Sexual Minorities Uganda calls upon the Ugandan government and its agencies to respect and protect the rights of its citizens, including LGBTI persons, as required under its Constitution and International Human Rights law.

We also call upon the international community to join us in condemning the actions of the Ugandan government and hold the leaders accountable for the violations suffered by LGBTI persons in Uganda.

We thank members of the LGBTI community for their perseverance, and our partners and allies for the continued support. We call upon all of you to continue working with us to fight for the equality and dignity of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

#AlliancesForSolidarity #IDAHOBIT18

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