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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.