By Melanie Nathan, Nov 22, 2022,
There seems to be no basis for the current detention of six Ugandan Human Rights Defenders, from the group Queer youth Uganda.
They have been detained under so-called "general inquiry," and under the law must be charged and produced at Court within 48 hours.
The detainees were refused bail to be released.
Ugandan police stated that they were being further detained until searches of the offices and private residences are conducted. The idea to detain and then search denotes that they are fishing for something to lay on the group and that they have no real just cause for the current detention.
The group is fully compliant with all law. Yet the Ugandan Government is typically attempting to invoke criminalization outside of the actual PENAL CODE - based on what they WISH the law would be had the "Kill the Gays Bill", (Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014) survived voiding in 2014. That Bill allowed for prison terms for so called promotion of homosexuality but was voided due to a technicality. Parliament never had the requisite quorum at the time of passage. The Ugandan government and their accomplice American Evangelicals have been trying to bring the Bill back since.
We will update as we receive more information. At the time of writing this - they have been detained for approximately 24 hours. Just this week, another organization, SMUG, embroiled in the issue of the discriminatory denial of legal registration finally received its Appeal hearing in the Ugandan Courts.
It is not unusual for the Ugandan government to conduct retaliatory and Nazi-like gay-hunts in the midst of affirmative or defensive actions for LGBTQI+ rights in the country. This is highly likely as QUEER YOUTH UGANDA has shown support for colleagues at SMUG on its Facebook page.
VIA HRAPF: The case of Frank Mugisha Denis Wamala & Ssenfuka Joanita Warry v Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Civil Appeal No. 338 of 2018 was heard by the Court of Appeal before a panel of three justices. The appeal challenges a decision of High Court judge Patricia Basaza Wasswa made in 2018 justifying the URSB's refusal to register Sexual Minotities Uganda (SMUG) on the basis that the proposed organisation would encourage commission of criminal acts since same-sex relations are criminalised under Ugandan law. This decision was relied on by the NGO Bureau in August 2022 to stop the activities of SMUG since it had remained unregistered. The main grounds of appeal focus on the limitation to the right to freedom of association and the right to equality and freedom from discrimination; inordinate delay as the URSB took more than two years to make the decision not to register SMUG; and awarding costs to URSB, a government institution in a public interest matter. The Justices on the panel were - Justice Richard Butera, the Deputy Chief Justice; Justice Stephen Musota (who has recently been promoted to the Supreme Court - and the judge who in 2012 while at the High Court decided that an LGBT skills training workshop was promotion of homosexuality); and Justice Chatherine Bamugemereire. The Appellants were represented by HRAPF's Dr. Adrian Jjuuko and Francis Tumwesige and URSB was represented by their Legal Department. The justices gave directions on written submissions and judgment is to be delivered on notice.
QUEER YOUTH UGANDA is well funded and very involved in important human rights work, for example to combat gender based violence. Under the extremely dangerous conditions in Uganda for the operation of any human rights organization the work of QYN is much needed and to be applauded.
AHRC STANDS IN SOLIDARITY