Det var etikk- og integritetsminister Simon Lokodo som avbrøt og stengte en lhbt-rettighetskonferanse. Ministeren forsøkte
å arrestere Nabagesera (bildet), og skal ha sagt at konferansen var uetisk og ulovlig og beordret deltakerne til å forlate
hotellet der den fant sted.
Aktivistene på konferansen skal ha motsatt seg ministerens ordre, og han skal da ha beordret arrestasjonen av Nabagesera. Hun klarte imidlertid å snike seg ut av rommet, og etter hvert ut av hotellet – som ble gjennomsøkt for finne henne.
I følge rapporter skal også Nabageseras hjem i Kampala ha blitt gjennomsøkt. Nabagesera leder den ugandiske organisajonen
Freedom and Roam Uganda (Farug), som jobber for lesbiske, bifile og transkvinners rettigheter. Hun ble i 2011 tildelt menneskerettighetsprisen
’the Martin Ennals Award’ for sitt arbeid med menneskerettigheter i Uganda.
- Angrepet på konferansen og på Kasha er helt uhørt, det strider mot både Ugandas grunnlov og mot grunnleggende menneskerettigheter, sier Marna Eide, internasjonal rådgiver i LLH.
- Ugandiske myndigheter bør snarest ta avstand fra og beklage etikk- og integreringsministerens handling.
Plikt til å beskytte
Angrepet kom en uke etter at anti-homo lovforslaget ble gjenintrodusert i det ugandiske parlamentet av David Bahati, som er lovens private forslagsstiller.
- Myndighetenes motstand mot lovforslaget må følges opp med handling, sier Eide.
- Ugandiske myndigheter har plikt til å beskytte alle sine borgere mot vold, trussler og trakassering, uansett hva slags seksuell
orientering eller kjønnsidentitet de måtte ha. Og de er pliktige å tillate fredlige og lovlige samlinger av mennesker, slik
som denne lhbt-konferansen.
I følge Eide er rettighetsbevegelsen i Uganda relativt sterk og velorganisert.
- Koalisjonen mot loven består av over 40 menneskerettighetsorganisasjoner, og bevegelsen har gode støttespillere både på universitetet, i media, og i rettssystemet. Likevel angrep myndighetene på denne måten. Det er svært bekymringsverdig.
Lar seg ikke skremme
Ugandiske lhbt-aktivister har stått frem i media og forsvart sitt arbeid og sin seksuelle orientering siden anti-homo loven ble aktualisert igjen. Stengingen av konferansen var intet unntak. Med fullt navn og bilde ble Pepe Julian Onziema, fra Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), intervjuet på ugandisk TV, og samtlige aktivister har vært svært aktive i sosiale media.
- Å stenge konferansen var et brudd på våre grunnlovsfestede rettigheter, sier Frank Mugisha, leder for Sexual Minoritites Uganda, i en pressemelding.
- Men vi lar oss ikke skremme. Og vi kommer ikke til å gi oss i kampen for like rettigheter for alle ugandiske borgere.
En pressemelding fra Coalition of African Lesbians ga følgende oppsummering av gårsdagens hendelser:
Activists report that in the morning of February 14, 2012, a government official claiming to belong to the President’s Office walked into the workshop room and sat down. With concern, one of the organizers, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, asked him to move out as he was uninvited to the workshop. The official asked Kasha to follow him to a spot in the hotel. Upon entering that room with him, Kasha met with the Minister and his aides.
The Minister demanded to know the purpose of the workshop and Kasha responded that it was about leadership. He further demanded to know what kind of leadership the workshop
was addressing and again, Kasha responded to his inquiry. The Minister then asked Kasha to come with him to the workshop room where he began to speak to the participants directly.
At that point, the Minister announced that the workshop was illegal and unethical and ordered its closure. There was resistance from the workshop organizers and participants and as a result, the Minister ordered for the arrest of Kasha. Fortunately, Kasha was able to sneak out and run. On reaching her room, the hotel staff called Kasha to inform her that the Minister and police were waiting for her at the hotel lobby. Kasha managed to sneak out of her room and escaped by jumping over the hotel fence.
The hotel manager is reported to have been put under gun point to produce Kasha and the Minister left an order for both Kasha and Vanja to leave the country as they are not needed in Uganda. According to further reports from activists, Kasha was summoned by the office of the Minister yesterday afternoon to explain more about the purpose of the workshop which she declined to do for safety reasons. The rest of the participants checked out of their rooms, amidst officials searching for Kasha on every floor of the hotel, and returned safely to their homes.
Eight days after the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been re-tabled, the general sense among LGBT people is that of fear and hopelessness.
Sexual Minorities Uganda sendte i morges ut følgende pressemelding:
SEXUAL MINORITIES UGANDA [SMUG] OUTRAGED BY THE CLOSURE OF LGBTI CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP BY THE STATE MINISTER OF ETHICS AND INTEGRITY REV. FR. SIMON LOKODO KAMPALA
February 15, 2012
Exactly one week after the re-tabling of the Anti Homosexuality Bill (2009) by MP David Bahati, a workshop organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights defenders was invaded and shut down in Entebbe. The State Minister for Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President, Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, in the company of an aide and the police, announced that the workshop was illegal and ordered the meeting to close immediately or else force would be used to end the meeting.
"I have closed this conference because it is illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda. So go back home," Mr Lokodo told the workshop participants.
SMUG condemns this outright abuse of office by the State Minister of Ethics and Integrity. According to Frank Mugisha one of the Coordinators of the Capacity Development workshop and present at the time; ‘’Closing our workshop today totally violates our constitutional rights and this intimidation will not stop us from fighting, for equal treatment of all Ugandan citizens.’’ Frank Mugisha is the Executive Director of SMUG and 2011 Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureate .
The Minister also ordered the arrest of Kasha Jacqueline Nabagasera, the Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda and 2011 Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders when she dared to challenge him for disrupting the workshop. Kasha with the help of colleagues was whisked out of the hotel to safety.
The State Minister’s actions are illegal and in direct contravention of the Constitution of Uganda, The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among other international human rights covenants to which Uganda is a party. These human rights instruments all robustly promote and protect the rights to Freedom of Speech, Expression, Association, Peaceful Assembly and the Right to Information of all citizens and human beings, without discrimination.
Sexual Minorities Uganda strongly condemns this notorious and continuous attempt to prevent lawful and peaceful activities of human rights defenders in Uganda. Our campaign for equal rights is rooted in the fact that, as Ugandans, we are entitled to the respect and protection of the law just like all other Ugandans.
1. We call on the Government of Uganda to protect the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble and associate as is guaranteed in our Constitution and in international human rights law.
2. We call on the Government of Uganda to protect all peoples within her borders against threats, violence and harassment by state and non-state actors, irrespective of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
3. We call on the Government and people of Uganda to reject the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would only serve to further violate international human rights law and plant seeds of hate, intolerance and violence in Ugandan society.
4. We call on the Ugandan people to reject the government’s move to use homosexuality issues to divert Ugandans’ attention from the most pertinent issues that are affecting the nation.
ISSUED BY Sexual Minorities Uganda - SMUG is a network of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex organizations based in Uganda. SMUG is the 2011 Laureate of The Rafto Prize.