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Uganda anti-gay law leads to increase in violence and persecution

Uganda anti-gay law leads to increase in violence and persecution

LAST UPDATED // Monday, 12 May 2014 16:19 Written by // Ron Hughes

Attacks on gays and lesbians have risen ten-fold in Uganda since the government passed anti-homosexuality laws, a Sexual Minorities Uganda report states.

The report has listed assaults, blackmail, homes burned down, lost jobs, evictions, suicides, arrests and an attempted lynching and claims at least 25 people have fled to Kenya and Rwanda to seek asylum.

Uganda's draconian Anti Homosexuality Act (AHA) was signed into force by President Yoweri Museveni earlier this year despite strong international protests and threats of foreign aid being withdrawn.

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Sexual Minorities Uganda recorded 162 incidents since the AHA was passed by parliament in December last year. Only eight incidents were recorded in the rest of 2013 and only 19 in the whole of 2012.

"The passing of AHA has given permission to a culture of extreme and violent homophobia whereby both state and non-state actors are free to persecute Uganda's LGBTI people with impunity," the report stated.

The figures show an increase of between 750 and 1900 per cent on previous years, the repost said, "An increase which can only be explained by the passage of the AHA and the virulently homophobic atmosphere this has engendered."

In several instances tabloid media have identified men or women who were then disowned by their families or assaulted and in four cases men accused of being gay have been kidnapped and tortured.

One Ugandan LGBTI rights activist  has applied for asylum in the United States.

John Abdallah Wambere formerly worked with Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, an organization that advocates for LGBT rights and provides health and education services, but says he was driven to flee because of the current atmosphere of fear, persecution and anti-gay violence in his home country.

VIDEO: John Abdallah Wambere announces his decision to seek asylum at a news conference on May 6 in Boston.


Ron Hughes

Ron Hughes

Ron Hughes is the editor of SA's only LGBTI magazine, blaze.

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