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Security and Help Advisory for LGBTI in Uganda during COVID-19 Pandemic

NOTE: Please make use of the COMMUNIQUE below if you are LGBTQI and/or have any human rights issues in Uganda during COVID-19. Anyone reporting to these entities are welcome to copy and to report your situation and the result of your outreach to African Human Rights Coalition, which is deferring to organizations on the ground in Uganda at this time.

A joint communique shared on behalf of: Defenders Protection Initiative (DPI), Defend Defenders (DD), Gala Initiatives Uganda (GIU), Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), the National LGBTI Security Committee, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), The Taala Foundation and Tranz Network Uganda (TNU). The Communique is meant for donors, partners and all persons interested in LGBT security work in Uganda.

Over the past week, the different entities working on security for LGBT persons in Uganda have had two meetings in order to map out a response plan during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This has been done under the auspices of the Security Working Group which is the loose network that brings together groups working on LGBT security in Uganda.

During these meetings, a number of issues were discussed including security arrangements for the 20 persons in detention at the moment, as well as the other LGBT shelters in the country. For the ongoing case, It is expected that HRAPF will continue with handling the legal aspects of the case and securing and paying for bail, as well as providing the persons released with immediate accommodation and sustenance for the first two days when they are out of prison, DPI will help to assess the security needs of the group, while SMUG under its REACT program will coordinate the long term security concerns working with other partners each as per their mandates. Any other partner can work on the same issues provided there is clear communication and coordination. For the other shelters, a plan exists to have them have less numbers at the moment and DPI will be coordinating that aspect of the work so that it becomes a reality.

Generally, it was noted that this is a risky time for LGBT persons and that security response should be heightened, and each partner should play a role in this as per their different mandates.

The organisations agreed to work together in such a way that they meet every month under the Security Working Group and also instantly share actions taken on each individual case in order to avoid duplication.

Fundraising will be done separately by each organisation within its own mandate and the partners can reach out and contact funders as per their mandates.


The different organisations and entities offering emergency security support and response to members of the LGBTI community in Uganda met on Tuesday the 31st of March 2020 and Wednesday the 1st of April 2020 to discuss the current security crisis, and the best way to respond to the situation both under the current circumstances and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.It was agreed and resolved that:

1. All entities shall henceforth work within their own mandates to handle cases that are reported to them through their own internal systems. The organisations and their mandates in this regard are listed below:

i) Defenders Protection Initiative (DPI): DPI will provide support to HRDs and non-HRD LGBT persons by offering security assessment and advisory services, building capacity of LGBTI persons and HRDs in security management, temporary relocation for non- HRD LGBTI persons and response to security emergencies through the Security Focal Persons. DPI can be reached on phone at 0778645214 and through email at

ii) Defend Defenders (DD): DD will continue to directly support HRDs at risk as a result of their human rights work. This is done by providing emergency support interventions which are broad and tailored to address individual needs and circumstances; supplying tools to lower risk and ensure well-being. Short-term and long-term security, artistic therapy, and preventive strategies. DD can be contacted through email and through phone, WhatsApp or signal on +256 783027611

iii) Gala Initiative Uganda (GIU): GIU works with bisexual persons across the country and will provide support and referrals to bisexual persons who have faced stigma and violence as a result of their sexual orientation. GIU can be contacted through the email and telephone number of the Executive Director, who can be reached at and +256 702 461 471.

iv) Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF): HRAPF shall provide emergency support to cover as necessary: medication, daily subsistence and accommodation in active criminal cases involving arrests or cases involving violence admitted to the HRAPF legal aid clinic or its regional centers. HRAPF shall not provide relocation or long-term support beyond the duration of the court case and shall refer such cases to SMUG and/or other organisations with the mandate to provide long-term support. HRAPF can be contacted through email at and through our phone lines 0800 130 683/ +256 706 536 303.

v) The National LGBTI Security Committee: The Committee is made up of leaders of different LGBTI organisations in Uganda and prominent activists in the movement and works to monitor, assess and document human rights violations based on gender identity and sexual orientation, provide emergency support and give recommendations for the safety of the LGBT community members who are not affiliated to organisations in Uganda. They can be reached through email at

vi) Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG): SMUG shall provide crisis response to individual emergencies through REAct and these shall include; relocation, medical, temporary housing, nutrition, HIV treatment and care support, psychosocial support. Cases received that require legal support, SMUG will work with HRAPF, Chapter Four and any other partner with the mandate to provide such services through the referral system. Tell +256392174432 and email

vii) The Taala Foundation: The Taala Foundation will support LGBT persons at risk through assessing and documenting security threats and making appropriate referrals. They can be reached through

viii) Tranz Network Uganda (TNU): TNU works with transgender people and organisations working with transgender and gender non-conforming persons. They shall work to promote access to security response services through referral, provision of safety and security mitigation and management tips and, wherever possible, provide basic needs for transgender people in crisis. TNU can be contacted through email at and +256 757 734 429.

Each entity shall mobilise its own resources to enable it cover cases that fall within its own mandate as outlined above.

Each entity that receives and admits a case that requires security assistance shall be required to share a summary of the case on the listserv of the Security Working Group (SWG) together with the action intended to be taken within a day of deciding to consider the case for security support.

This is for other entities to be aware so as to avoid duplication. Also when a case is rejected, this should also be communicated on the Security Working Group listserv.

All entities shall at all times strive to maintain coordination and open communication for better service provision to members of the LGBTI community and to avoid duplication.

All entities shall meet together once every month or whenever required in order to discuss the situation and agree on solutions.

NOTE: Please make use of the COMMUNIQUE below if you are LGBTQI and/or have any human rights issues in Uganda during COVID-19. Anyone reporting to these entities are welcome to copy and to report your situation and the result of your outreach to African Human Rights Coalition, which is deferring to organizations on the ground in Uganda at this time.

FROM, Melanie Nathan and Marc Cohen - Please be safe!

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