Rainbow Mirrors, an organization that advocates for the rights and equality of transgender youth through enhancement of skills and talents, has had to temporarily shut down operations after being ordered by their landlord to vacate his premises. The offices that housed the organization were located in Bunamwaya.
GENESIS OF THE EVICTION
According to Rainbow Mirrors Executive Director Abdul Jamal Wasswa commonly referred to as Hajat, trouble started when the neighbors noticed that the premises were frequented by transgender persons. They immediately started surveying the office and on two occasions sent people to find out what business was being transacted within the premises.
They also lodged a complaint to the landlord and claimed that the occupants of his space were disturbing the peace of the neighborhood. It was from this that the landlord barred the staff of Rainbow Mirrors from accessing their offices, even though they had signed a two-year contract and rent was being paid in a timely manner as agreed in the tenancy agreement. To access the office, they had to first seek permission from the caretaker who would in turn decide whether or not they could come in- something that has greatly slowed down the organization’s work.
She also shared that they registered a case that could have ended fatally after one of her staff was attacked by boda boda cyclists as she left the office, an incident that made them realise that their security was greatly threatened. Hajjat explained that her staff has also endured homophobic insults from the neighbours and anonymous phone calls threatening not only their work but also lives.
It is upon this background that a press conference was called today to explain the sudden closure of the Rainbow Mirrors’ office as well as the temporary halting of their operations. “This is to inform you urgently that as of today 24th July 2018, following our last meeting with Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, the Local Council and the Board of Director- Rainbow Mirrors Uganda, due to the recent security challenges, will be temporarily closing offices awaiting re-location to a soon to be identified place,” read part of the press statement.
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) has come to the rescue and offered to temporarily host the organization although Hajat is appealing to the landlord to give the organization at least one month to figure out their next step.