Threats, forced evictions, anti-LGBTI protests. The security situation of LGBTI people in the City of Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo leaves much to be desired, according to the advocacy group Action for the Fight Against Social Injustice in Bukavu (ALCIS).
ALCIS works to defend the rights of sex workers, LGBTI people and people living with HIV.
These are the observations of ALCIS about life in the City of Bukavu:
When violations of the human rights of LGBTI people occur, they’re met with total indifference on the part of the authorities — police, politicians and administrators.
During the current quarter (April-June 2017), LGBTI people in Bukavu have repeatedly become victims of hate crimes that demonstrate the crushing homophobia of their fellow citizens.
Intolerance of sexual orientation and gender identity, whether real or perceived, has led many LGBTI people to flee, while those who remain are faced with kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, daily intimidation, and loss of their freedom of movement and association. Many go into hiding, forced into deplorable levels of social isolation. They have to hide all day to avoid witch hunts, police raids and barbarities from other residents. When they go out in the evening or at night, LGBTI people again find themselves victims of men in uniform, including police officers on night patrol, who subject them to inhuman treatment.
Intolerance and anti-LGBTI hate crimes are accepted by local authorities who do not want LGBTI people to be accepted as local residents in their jurisdictions. Those authorities, in complicity with various religious movements and some homophobic local media, incite uprisings of residents to deprive LGBTI people of their rights.
The protection and monitoring work carried out by ALCIS from April to June 2017 allowed them to document the following incidents:
April 14 — 5 LGBTI people evicted by a local official and a crowd
On the morning of Friday, April 14, 2017, a leader of the Nyamugo / Soko district in the Kadutu Commune, accompanied by a group of women and young people, showed up in the house of five gays and transgender people, threatening them if they did not leave the neighborhood. The pressure included intimidating the owner of the house, urging to expel those tenants or face intervention by police.
May 23 — 7 LGBTI youths flee from MPs, jump into ravine
On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, around 3 p.m., three military police officers, accompanied by various youths. descended on an avenue where seven LGBTI youths lived, threatening to arrest them. The order apparently came from the commander of the Kadutu police station. To escape, the LGBTI youths jumped into a 10-meter ravine overlooking the Kawa River, then hid elsewhere. (See photo.)
June 8 — 6 LGBTI people evicted by youths with megaphone
On Thursday, June 8, a group of young people from the Nyamugo district of Kadutu commune used a megaphone across the street from the home of six LGBTI young people, urging them to leave the house without delay. A crowd of people supported the demonstration, which succeeded in disloding the six people from the home.
This is a horrible human tragedy that deserves special attention.
In Bukavu, in the South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, assuming that these homophobic hate crimes are not new, it must be recognized that the lack of protection policies and the lack of solidarity and services for LGBTIs have increased the disturbing propensity of attacks on physical and bodily integrity, undermining personal safety and general welfare among LGBTI people. …
This situation requires emergency assistance for LGBTI victims of homophobic hate crimes. These people have suffered and continue to experience extreme gender-based violence. … Threatened, facing imminent danger, these young LGBTI have no other possibilities of assistance. They endure atrocious physical and psychological suffering. Even worse, these young LGBTIs cannot access any health care and HIV / AIDS care.
- Uganda: Congolese refugee becomes LGBTI activist (October 2016, 76crimes.com)