The German embassy in Uganda has rejected applications by LGBTI activists for visas to travel to Cologne, Germany, for a seminar about security for activists and continuing medical care for HIV-positive patients despite Uganda’s new anti-gay law.
The denial apparently was similar to the rejection of Canadian visas requested by some Ugandan activists to travel to last week’s WorldPride celebrations in Toronto. After protests, Canadian authorities reversed that decision.
The apparent reason for the rejection of the visas was a fear that the Ugandans would seek asylum during their visit, despite the fact that the activists had round-trip tickets for travel to Germany and back to Uganda.
German officials, however, reportedly say that procedural issues led to the denial and have proposed alternative solutions to the problem. The officials have not yet responded to a request for the embassy’s account of the situation.
The Cologne seminar was planned for at least four Ugandan activists (by another account, 15 activists) by the German human rights group Hamiam, which supports African immigrants living in Germany.
Hamiam’s security seminar has now been rescheduled from June to September to allow time for the activists to appeal to the Germany embassy for reconsideration of its rejection of the visa request.
The activists include members of the LGBT-friendly Youth on Rock Foundation, Born This Way Uganda, Kampus Liberty Uganda and the Come Out Post-Test Club.
The activists’ appeal states that the seminar is important for future LGBTI work in Uganda because it will open up possibilities for coping with the current crisis for patients forced to live in a hostile environment. Teachers, psychologists and doctors taking part in the planned seminar will focus on personal security and self-help measures.