On the 4th of August the Ugandan police force stormed and raided a private party at Club Venom hosting the Mr/Ms/Mx Pride Uganda pageant during Uganda Pride week in the capital Kampala. Accounts from the scene reported excessive and brutal acts of violence from police. Eyewitnesses also reported sexual assaults by police officers, especially targeting trans persons, during the raid. Videos from the scene reveals chaos as the police storms in and panic erupts. The organisers had, in compliance with Ugandan law, reported that the event was going to take place well in advance to the authorities. However, authorities have in a press release stated that this was not the case and argues that the assembly was unlawful and promoted illegal acts as same-sex sexual acts are illegal in Uganda.
At least 16 people were arrested and then released without charges and hundreds were held for over three hours at the venue. “The police actions were uncalled for and the police use of excessive force was very disturbing, the police holding jail was very bad experience for me” said Frank Mugisha Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
Police have been said to have confiscated cameras and taken pictures of the participants and of all car number plates that were parked at the venue, threatening to publish them. This is further worrying as increasing incidents of mob-violence and human rights violations against LGBTQI persons in Uganda have been reported over the past years.
The Uganda Pride was canceled after the attack until further notice as the minister of ethics and integrity, Simon Lokodo, during a meeting with organisers had threatened to urge the public to use violence to prevent the celebrations to continue, according to Svenska Dagbladet.
Clare Byarugaba representing the organization Chapter Four stated after the events “Our pride and resilience remains steadfast despite these horrible and shameful actions by Ugandan police”.
Last week’s events showed a blatant disrespect for the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association as well as freedom from discrimination and freedom from subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention. IGLYO stands in solidarity with the organisers and participants and calling the Ugandan government to assure all persons’ human rights are respected and upheld, as outlined in international human rights law.
Read the local organisations’ statement here:
Read the TGEU statement here:
Read the Human Rights Watch statement here: