News / Africa

    Uganda Police Detain US-Funded Project Staffer Over Gay Law

    Anti-gay Pastor Martin Ssempa carries national flag while leading procession for Uganda's anti-gay bill, Kampala, March 31, 2014.
    Anti-gay Pastor Martin Ssempa carries national flag while leading procession for Uganda's anti-gay bill, Kampala, March 31, 2014.
    Reuters
    A U.S.-funded health project in Uganda has suspended operations after police arrested a staff member on suspicion of promoting homosexuality, highlighting the mounting legal risks confronting the gay community in the east African state.

    Uganda enacted legislation in February that strengthened punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for "aggravated homosexuality" — including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive.

    The United States, one of Uganda's major bilateral sources of aid, and other Western donors have halted or re-directed some $118 million in aid since President Yoweri Museveni signed the law, which also criminalized lesbianism for the first time.

    In a notice on its website on Friday, Makerere University's Walter Reed Project, a collaboration between Uganda's biggest public institute of higher learning and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, said it would temporarily halt its work until it established the legal basis for the arrest.

    The project said a Ugandan staff member was taken into custody by police at its offices in Kampala, and released without charge the same day.

    It said that "until we have greater clarity as to the legal basis for the police action, the operations of the program are temporarily suspended" to ensure the safety of staff.

    Police said they had been following an unnamed individual for days after getting reports he was involved in "gay-related activities," spokesman Ibn Ssekumbi said. "For some time we have been following an individual whom we learnt has been conducting promotion and training activities related to homosexuality."

    Ssekumbi said the individual was then arrested, interrogated and released on bond but that an investigation was continuing into the suspect's alleged acts.

    A U.S. State Department official said the health project conducts important research into Ebola, Marburg disease and HIV. One of the project's aims is to develop vaccines for these diseases. It has been in operation since 2002.

    The project is fully funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Department of Defense, and the annual cost is $9.4 million.

    Museveni has accused the West of seeking to impose social imperialism on Africa and told a rally on Monday that Uganda could live without humanitarian aid.

    Critics say Museveni may have in part been prompted to back the legal crackdown on gays to shore up support. He is widely expected to seek another presidential term in 2016. He has ruled Uganda since 1986, a nation that now has some of the toughest anti-gay laws on a continent where 37 states ban homosexuality.

    Rights groups say the new law is causing discrimination.

    "How can Ugandans seek what should be confidential medical services when police appear without a legal basis and question and detain staff?" said Maria Burnett, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch's Africa Division.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tiger Lueth from: SS
    April 05, 2014 11:18 AM
    Some of the United States are against this stupid gay laws,because they believe the marriage should be between man and a woman just like the way God had created human being,Obama was a gay in college that's why he wanted to impose gay ism to those country.

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora