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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid