Probe of 5 alleged arrests as Uganda denies anti-gay bias

Map (in German) shows the location of the Pader district in Uganda. (Map courtesy of WIkipedia)
Map (in German) shows the location of the Pader district in Uganda. (Map courtesy of WIkipedia)

A team of human rights lawyers is heading to the Pader district in northern Uganda to investigate a report of five suspected homosexuals arrested there.
The lawyers are from the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum – Uganda (HRAPF), which has arranged for legal representation for several recent LGBTI detainees and defendants in Uganda.
According to what appears to be a deeply flawed article in Uganda’s Daily Monitor, police in the Pader district arrested five people on suspicion of promoting homosexuality in local schools. The arrests reportedly included two businessmen, one teacher, and two students.
That news report came two days after the Ugandan Foreign Ministry released a statement in which it said that its foreign aid donors had “misinterpreted [the new Anti-Homosexuality Act] as a piece of legislation intended to punish and discriminate against people of ‘homosexual orientation.’ ”
Instead, the statement insisted, “The intention of the Act is to stop promotion and exhibition of homosexual practices.”
The statement added, the “Government of Uganda … will continue to guarantee equal treatment of all persons on the territory of Uganda” and “will continue to enable civil society and NGOs to operate freely.”
Few LGBTI activists believe that the new statement is accurate. (See details of the law here.) Instead, the statement is generally regarded as a falsehood-filled attempt to regain foreign aid that Uganda has lost because of  the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Because of the enactment of that law, the World Bank suspended a planned $90 million loan to Uganda, while European donors and the United States have rerouted aid away from the Ugandan government and to non-governmental organizations serving Ugandan people.
Since the enactment of the new anti-gay law in February:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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