Uganda: Government Fuels Homophobia and Transphobia in Police Crackdown on LGBTI Pride Celebrations

PAIJohannesburg, August 12, 2016 Members of the Uganda LGBTI movement are in hiding following the unlawful raid of a LGBTI pride event in Kampala on the evening of August 4, 2016.

Uganda police raided a private club in Kampala where a pride event to crown Mr/Mrs/Mx was being held. Witnesses report that the police locked all attendants inside the club, then preceded to arrest, beat up, humiliate and sexually assault the participants. Altogether more than 16 members of the LGBTI community were arrested. Police confiscated cameras, took pictures and threatened to publish the pictures causing one of the participants to jump out of a 4 th floor window whereupon he incurred serious injuries and remains in critical condition.

The said pageant is part of pride celebrations which have been held every year in August for the past 4 years. None of the previous events during the week had been raided or interrupted by police or other state agents. The Ugandan police claim that the event was done without police permission, however reports are that police targeted transgender men and women, some of whom were taken away in police cars. Although all 16 previously arrested were released on the same night, they reported police brutality while in police custody. Activists in Uganda believe this to be part of an ongoing government plan to censor and silence civil society especially journalists, media, non-governmental organizations and opposition parties.

‘We are concerned about this acts of impunity against civil society, they are an unlawful abuse of authority and gross violation of human rights. Everyone in Uganda has a right to assemble peacefully without interruption by the national police’, said Richard Lusimbo, Pan Africa ILGA Co-Chair. Pan Africa ILGA (PAI) strongly condemns these violent acts against the LGBTI community by the Uganda police. We particularly encourage the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and other member states to equally condemn these outrageous acts by state agents.

The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights(African Charter) and the Resolution #275 on Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity respectively, call for members states to refrain from subjecting their citizens from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and to ensure timely investigation and prosecution of all perpetrators of violence against person based on the sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

The Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (PAI) is a federation of organizations in Africa working to improve human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity expression (SOGIE).

For further enquiries please contact PAI secretariat in Johannesburg : Monica Tabengwa, Tel:+27 767 958 245 email:, twitter: @panafricailga, @tabengm or PAI board in East Africa: Richard Lusimbo, Tel +256 782 612972 email: , twitter: @richardlusimbo