Uganda Hub

Canada Denies Visas for 10 Ugandan Gay Activists Invited to Toronto's World Pride Conference

Concerned that they would seek asylum upon arrival, Canada has denied visas for 10 Ugandan gay activists hoping to attend the World Pride human rights conference in June, the Star reports:

MugishaGay rights advocates say the decisions by the Canadian visa posts in Nairobi and London speak to the hypocrisy of the Stephen Harper government, which, in February, joined other Western nations in condemning Uganda for passing one of the world’s harshest anti-homosexuality laws.

“We are shocked and appalled. These individuals from Uganda are some of the most courageous heroes,” said Andrea Houston of #ENDhatelaws, a coalition founded in response to homophobia/transphobia across the globe, amid the controversy over anti-gay laws passed in Russia prior to the Winter Olympics.

“They are here to share their stories and have every intention to go home after the conference, because they all have work to do in Uganda. The assumption is they are here to claim asylum. The question is: Why can’t they, coming from the most hostile place in the world to LGBTQ people?”

The visa denials began in April.

Well-known Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha is the only one who will come to the conference, and has a multi-entry visa according to the paper.

A review of the visa decisions showed the Ugandan’s applications were rejected for a combination of reasons: lack of travel history, family ties in Canada and in Uganda, and insufficient funds for the trip.

In eight of the applications, officials concluded they did not believe the applicants had a legitimate business purpose in Canada. In six, the officers said the applicants did not have the money to “carry out your stated purpose in going to Canada or to maintain yourself while in Canada and to effect your departure.”

United Kingdom Deporting Lesbian Mom To Face Possible Beatings, Imprisonment, Death In Uganda

Asaba_AidahA young Ugandan woman who fled her home country after being persecuted, beaten and raped because she is a lesbian will be deported from the United Kingdom this Saturday, May 24, according to Gay Star News. Aidah Asaba, 27, came to the UK last October seeking asylum after life in Uganda became untenable. If deported, Aidah fears she will be killed. 

Aidah's hell first began at 22 when her mother caught her with her then girlfriend: 

‘That’s when the problems started. My family rejected me, calling me weak and evil. My father locked me in my room almost 10 hours and beat me with a stick and with his fists. Then he kicked me out of the house.

‘I went back to the university. After some time he called me to come back home and told me he had a man to marry me. He said I didn’t have a choice, if I refused he would disown me or take me to prison.’

Aidah did marry and her husband eventually found out about her sexual identity. He raped and beat her on a repeated basis. She eventually gave birth to a daughter, now four, whom she had to leave in Uganda when she fled for the UK. 

As a demonstration of the anti-gay blood-lust that awaits her should she be forced to return, Aidah recounted a time she received an ominous summons from members of her community:

Community leaders sent me a letter and demanded I come to a meeting to discuss my sexuality. They said I was recruiting young girls to be lesbians.

I have been to meetings like that before. I have attended some meetings where they just started beating people. There is no control.

Earlier this year, Uganda passed a bill that criminalized homosexuality, punishing victims with up to life in prison. A report has since shown that anti-gay violence has been on the rise since the law was passed. Local officials have also wasted no time enforcing the law with many individuals already face charges in court. Ugandan newspapers have even published the names of individuals suspected of being homosexuals, Aidah among them. 

UgandaGiven the state of affairs in Uganda, Aidah has very real concerns for her safety should she be forced to return. And though the UK has a policy of not deporting LGBT asylum seekers who would face certain persecution if sent home, Aidah’s deportation has for some reason been fast-tracked: 

It harmed her case with the UK Home Office that she didn’t go out to gay bars in Britain as they didn’t believe she was lesbian. But she told GSN she was traumatized from what had happened to her and from leaving behind her daughter so stayed in the house rather than partying.

In January she applied for asylum but just six days later she was arrested and put in to an asylum detention center near London's Heathrow Airport. 

You’ll recall we previously reported on accounts that surfaced of other LGBT asylum seekers in the UK facing ‘extraordinary obstacles’ in proving to the UK Home Office that they were in fact gay. Though Keith Vaz, Labour MP and chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, previously remarked that "It is absurd for a judge or a caseworker to have to ask an individual to prove that they are lesbian or gay, to ask them what kind of films they watch, what kind of material they read” and that "People should accept the statement of sexuality by those who seek asylum,” it seems that Aidah’s statement of her sexuality has not been accepted by officials handling her case.

You can sign a petition calling on the Home Office to cancel Aidah’s deportation HERE.

(Photo via Gay Star News)

AllOut and Singer Scarlett Rabe Want You To Hear Their ‘Battle Cry’: VIDEO


Activist group AllOut (you may recall from their Principle 6 campaign in the lead up to the Sochi Olympics) has joined forces with singer and ally Scarlett Rabe to create a new video highlighting the work done by the AllOut community set to Rabe’s first single, “Battle Cry.” The video itself consists of images submitted by AllOut members over the last several years, from campaigns around anti-gay laws in Russia and Uganda to anti-LGBT violence in Brazil. Said Rabe of her involvement in the project, 

“Throughout history, people and governments have used religion, nationality, skin color or other hateful excuses to justify violence and discrimination against human beings. Today, it is still a crime to be gay in 77 countries. I’m honored to be able to add my voice to All Out’s exclamation that everyone deserves the basic human right to live and to love.”

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "AllOut and Singer Scarlett Rabe Want You To Hear Their ‘Battle Cry’: VIDEO" »

Report: Anti-Gay Law Increased Attacks On Gays In Uganda

It's no surprise that the lives of gays and lesbians in Uganda have become dramatically worse since the implementation of it's awful anti-gay law (see here, here, here and here for examples), but now the LGBT organization Sexual Minorities Uganda has published a report about life in that country which includes some hard numbers.

The Guardian reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511b322ec970c-800wiThe survey recorded 162 incidents since the legislation was passed by parliament. By comparison, Sexual Minorities Uganda recorded only eight incidents in the rest of 2013 and 19 in the whole of 2012.

"[This] represents an increase of between 750% and 1,900% on previous years," the report noted, "an increase which can only be explained by the passage of the AHA and the virulently homophobic atmosphere this has engendered."

In four cases, men accused of being gay were reported to have been kidnapped and tortured. There were 29 incidents where the media "outed" individuals who were later subjected to further persecution.

A 17-year-old boy killed himself by swallowing rat poison and pills on 3 April because he felt his life had no further value, according to the survey.

Jonathan Cooper of the London-based Human Dignity Trust, which supports legal action to decriminalise homosexuality around the world, said: "This report shows the human price that is paid when the LGBTI community is targeted in this way.

The first two men charged under the hateful law for engaging in sex acts "against the order of nature," appeared in court just last week. One was granted bail while the other was denied.

Activists Protesting Anti-Gay Law Disrupt Speech by Ugandan President in London


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke at a UK government forum last night at Lancaster House in London designed to promote UK investment in Uganda's economy, Ekklesia reports:

The opening of the forum saw President Museveni speak about trade and investment on the same day as the trial of two men charged with homosexuality starts in Uganda. The trial is the first since the new anti-gay law was passed earlier this year.

3_museveniMuseveni also spoke at the St. James Court Hotel where his speech was accompanied by "a constant background disruption" from a protest organized by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of STOPAIDS, the RMT union and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

"Foreign Office collaboration with the Ugandan government and support for the UK-Uganda Business Forum calls into question David Cameron’s commitment to tackling rising homophobia in Uganda and across Africa," according to the activists.

The demonstrators discussed the protest in a press release:

"It is hypocritical for the UK government to claim to be promoting LGBTI rights internationally and at the same time rolling out the red carpet for regimes like Uganda that persecute gay people," said Edwin Sesange, the Ugandan Director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group.

"The UK government should come clean on its progress with promoting gay rights in countries like Uganda that they host and collaborate with. At this early stage since the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) became law, it is questionable for Ugandan government ministers to claim that the campaign against the homophobic legislation has had no effect on the Ugandan economy and inward investment. President Museveni is more likely to attract foreign investors if he ensures good governance, financial probity and human rights. The AHA is a negative, which is turning off many would-be western investors,” said Mr Sesange.

Peter Tatchell (below, right), Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation, added:

“Gay people are not the cause of Uganda’s problems. The government of Uganda should fight poverty and HIV, not gay people. It is two-faced for the UK government to condemn homophobia while hosting President Museveni, whose government has legislated one of the world’s most draconian anti-gay laws. The Anti-Homosexuality Act punishes any form of same-sex contact - even mere kissing and caressing - with mandatory life imprisonment. Museveni is a tyrant who presides over a corrupt regime that is guilty of widespread human rights violations, including the arrest of opposition leaders, torture and the suppression of free speech. The UK government should not be drumming up business to sustain his autocratic rule."

(images via the peter tatchell foundation)


Ugandan Men Facing Charges Under Anti-Homosexuality Law Appear in Court

Mukasa Jackson and Mukisa Kim, the first two men charged under Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Law , appeared today in court in Kampala, The Guardian reports:

UgandaThe detained Ugandan couple appeared before a magistrate's court in the capital, Kampala, on Wednesday to apply for bail after prosecutors said they had enough evidence to proceed with the case.

Police arrested the couple in January as they fled an angry mob, according to the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, a local watchdog group.

Prosecutors have lined up several witnesses to testify against the two, who have been charged with engaging in sex acts "against the order of nature", said their lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi.

According to activist Pepe Julian Onziema, only one of the two was granted bail:


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