News / Africa

Report: Anti-Gay Abuse Surges in Uganda After Bill Passage

FILE - Prominent gay rights activist and Sexual Minorities Uganda program coordinator Pepe Julian Onziema said that well-known homosexuals face constant discrimination and abuse and recalled being ignored many times by medical workers who served others as they gossiped about his sexual orientation, Kampala, Uganda.
FILE - Prominent gay rights activist and Sexual Minorities Uganda program coordinator Pepe Julian Onziema said that well-known homosexuals face constant discrimination and abuse and recalled being ignored many times by medical workers who served others as they gossiped about his sexual orientation, Kampala, Uganda.
Gabe Joselow
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say homosexuals in Uganda have faced increased discrimination since the passage of an anti-gay bill last December. 

In Uganda, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, known by the acronym LGBT, say life has not been the same since the passage and signing of the Anti-Homosexual Act, which allows life sentences for those convicted of consensual homosexual acts.

“The atmosphere in Uganda has really changed, especially in the LGBT community in Uganda, the situation is really tense, a lot of people are facing a lot of problems like attacks," explained Jay, a transgender man, who asked we only use his first name for his own protection. "Some of the LGBT people are committing suicide.”

Born a woman, Jay lives his life as a man, binding his chest to obscure his breasts.

Shortly after the law was signed, he went to a health clinic outside Kampala to receive treatment for a fever.  But the doctor refused to treat Jay until he revealed whether he was a man or a woman.

“He said, 'Ok, if you don't want to tell me, then I assume you're a gay.  You're the people we're looking for, we'll have to involve the police in this' and so on.  He tried to harass me.  But still, I was very strong.  I told them I haven't done anything, I've just come for treatment,” said Jay.

Eventually, Jay's partner paid the doctor a bribe of 50,000 Ugandan shillings, about $20, and the matter was dropped.

The new report from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reports similar cases of abuse, humiliation and discrimination in Uganda.

The report says since the bill passed, at least 17 people have been arrested for alleged homosexual behavior.

Discrimination

Many more have been evicted from their homes, as landlords fear violating terms in the law that forbid homeowners from tolerating homosexual behavior on the premises.

“One of the problems with the law is all of the terms in the law are so vague that basically anybody within Uganda, any Ugandan citizen, any Ugandan resident, can be arrested for almost anything that they do without knowing that they're violating the law.  So some landlords are deciding to play it safe and saying, 'I'm very sorry, I know it hurts you not to have a place to live, but I need to let you go,'” said Neela Ghoshal, a senior LGBT researcher for Human Rights Watch.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the law in February saying homosexuals should be “punished harshly” in order to defend society from “disorientation.”

But Ghoshal said the interpretation of the laws has only torn the community apart, as people are losing jobs and being disconnected from their families for perceived violations of the law.

“We spoke to a number of people who have been disowned by their families since the law passed, which is a bit ironic because those who support this kind of law say that they're promoting family values, but actually we find that families are being destroyed because parents think that they ought to disown their children,” stated Ghoshal.

The report says at least 100 LGBT people have fled Uganda since the beginning of this year.

Two men are set to face trial in June for “unnatural offenses,” in one of the first official prosecutions since the passage of the bill.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid