The ground-breaking report: And That’s How I Survived Being Killed, reveals the violence, humiliation and wide range of human rights abuses LGBT Ugandan’s have to endure.
Sexual Minorities Uganda have released a shocking report detailing beatings, forced anal examination and persecution experienced by the LGBT community in the country.
In addition to 264 verified cases of human rights abuses against sexual and gender minorities in Uganda, the report also features testimony from LGBT citizens who have experienced first hand the violence and persecution behind the statistics.
Asiimwe, 26, who lives in the central Ugandan town of Bukomansimbi, told researchers that he made a date with another man after meeting online.
“It all started by someone sending me a friend request on Facebook who later called me out for a date and to sleep over,” Asiimwe explained.
“On my arrival at the guy’s place I found a bottle of wine on the table. But when I was drinking other two guys entered the house and sat down and then my date called me in the bedroom and started asking me where I learnt to become gay. And then I just kept quiet.”
What happened next put Asiimwe’s life in serious danger: “The guy changed attitude and started shouting calling his friends in the bedroom to see how a gay man looks like,” he reccalled.
“They came and started beating me up telling me to give them money so that they let me free but I didn’t have money on me, they continued to beat me up seriously and then threatened to burn me. I shouted for help but no one was coming and it was 1:00 am.
“Fortunately the last in the neighborhood heard and she came into the house and asked them why are they were beating me up. They responded that I am a homosexual. Then she told them to let me go then she held my hand and took me out gave me first aid and called a boda guy to take me home and that’s how I survived being killed.”
Asiimwe isn’t the only one who has had to endure extreme violence because of his sexuality, In January, 2015 Daniel [not his real name], was arrested for “engaging in crimes against the order of nature.” He was tied up with rope, beaten, and forced to walk through town along with his friends Ssali and Emmanuel.
He told researchers: “While in prison we were denied visitors because we are a “sodomy case.” I was beaten by fellow citizens. Ssali and myself suffered a lot. When they were beating us they said, “a sensible man how can you sleep with a fellow man?” And when in hospital we were forced to take HIV tests and anal tests.”
As well as detailing arrests, expulsions and beatings, the report also catalogues and highlights four main areas of human rights violations. These include 132 reported cases of physical threats and violence between May 2014 and December 2015, 103 evictions, exclusions and loss of property and 24 cases of termination of employment in the same time period. When the healthcare human rights violations are included, this produces a total of 264 reported cases against the LGBT community in 18 months. That’s an average of 14 violations a day.
Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda [SMUG] said: “This report demonstrates the vast array of human rights abuses which stem from Uganda’s state-sanctioned homophobia and transphobia.
“The Ugandan state deems LGBT people as less than human, and as a result that is how we are treated; by the landlords, by employers, by healthcare professionals, even by our families. These testimonies make it abundantly clear that the situation for LGBT people in Uganda has not improved, despite the Anti-Homosexuality Act being struck down.
“As long as Uganda continues to have laws that make LGBT Ugandans criminals, we will continue to be victims of these abuses.”
As well as calling on the Ugandan government to do more to protect its LGBT citizens the organisation also calls on the UK’s Forign and Commonwealth office to review the report and act on it.
Jonathan Cooper, Chief Executive of Human Dignity Trust, also commented on the report, saying: “Criminalisation means the full force of the state is levied against LGBT people. The law sets norms, it determines attitudes.
“These laws are therefore principally to blame for the myriad of atrocious human rights abuses SMUG evidence in this important document. This multi-faceted persecution arises from homophobic and transphobic attitudes, which are permitted, and often encouraged, by politicians, state officials, and, of course, the law.”
You can read the full report, And That’s How I Survived Being Killed, at sexualminoritiesuganda.com