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On Monday, February 24th, 2014, Uganda’s Parliament signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law.
The Act gives life sentences to individuals accused of homosexuality, and severe sentences of up to 14 years for those who aid or fail to report information on suspected LGBT individuals or organizations.
On February 25th 2014, a national newspaper published the names of the nation’s “Top 200 Homosexuals.” These recent events follow and deepen an earlier wave of homophobia in which a newspaper ran the names and addresses of LGBT individuals under the heading “HANG THEM.” Shortly after, David Kato, a prominent LGBT activist, was brutally bludgeoned to death by so-called ‘vigilantes’.
In a climate of hatred in which intolerance and violence is encouraged, the URGENT CONCERN is the safety of Ugandan LGBT activists and individuals, whose lives are in immediate and very real danger.
Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent Ugandan gay activist, says that “ many on the list are scared and they need help.” Already, just days after the release of the 'Top 200' list, there have been reports of violent attacks against individuals named.
My Right Association (MRA), a Rwandan LGBT organization and a member of the Rwandan Civil Society Coalition on Sexual Minorities as well as the East African network of LGBT organizations, is working with LGBT activists in Uganda to facilitate urgent refuge for LGBT Ugandans.
MRA is mobilizing to support an estimated 40-50 LGBT Ugandans who are fleeing certain violence and unjust persecution, or worse, murder at the hands of vigilantes emboldened by the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Funds raised will go toward providing emergency transportation from Kampala, Uganda to Rwanda's capital of Kigali, as well as housing, food, and related provisions for the month while the individuals re-group and search for long-term solutions.
Please consider donating what you can - $5, $10, $20 - and sharing with your networks.
For questions and assistance in donating through traditional avenues (e-transfers or cash donations), please contact mra4UgandanLGBTs@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Anti-Homosexuality Act, Government of Uganda, 24 February, 2014.
Ugandan newspaper publishes list of the country's '200 top' gays; activists fear violence, Ottawa Citizen, 25 February, 2014.
Uganda politicians celebrate passing of anti-gay laws, The Guardian, 24 February, 2014.
Image via flickr.cc.sanchom
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Gather a few friends and support an activist. The ongoing work of Ugandan LGBT activists is critical in the fight for peace, justice, and equality in their country. Your money will ensure transportation, food, housing, and provisions for the activist to safely flee Kampala, and will enable the activist to continue advocacy work in Kigali over the coming month.
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