Uganda: Press Release from SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda)

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is forwarding this press release on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

IGLHRC will continue to monitor the situation closely. For further information, please contact Cary Alan Johnson, Senior Program Specialist for Africa at

Uganda Human Rights Activists Violated By Police and LC1

On July 20th, an LC1 Chairman (local government official) and another man forcibly entered the home of J.M. at Kireka, who is a human rights activist and chairperson of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda). They proceeded to search her home without a warrant and to mishandle her friend, a visiting Kenyan activist who they found at the home.

The two men confiscated items from her house and detained the Kenyan activist, treating her in a degrading and humiliating way. She was taken to the police where she was even made to undress.

The action of these officials violated Articles 24 and 27 of the Constitution which prohibit inhuman and degrading treatment, guarantee the right to privacy, and prohibit unlawful searches, respectively. Most importantly, the police action violated J.M.’s basic civil right under Article 29 to freedom of thought, conscience and association and the right to advocate for what she believes in.

Uganda is bound to respect the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights which protects against all forms of discrimination.

SMUG condemns this state-sanctioned police harassment and calls upon all organizations invested in the well-being of all Ugandans to put pressure on the government to respect its own laws respecting human dignity. A strong alliance of Ugandan and international health and human rights organizations have been voicing their commitment to ensure the rights of individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

Credit for this article should be attributed to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). The above words should be presented in a manner that is respectful and true to their original intent.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)

Additional Quotes for Release to the Press

27 July 2005

To Be Used With Accompanying Press Release Titled: Uganda Human Rights Activists Violated By Police and LC1

V.M. explains, “The police knew this gentleman did not have a police warrant. But they did not respect us and that is why they went ahead. Yet they knew she was unlawfully arrested. Whatever they had they knew was unlawfully obtained. The Ugandan police broke its own laws, the laws that it was supposed to keep.”

Most importantly, “They did not see us as human beings so they did not see the need to go through the normal procedures for searching houses and dealing with people. Because of what they suspected to be our sexual orientation they treated us very badly. That is not the normal procedure.”

How come Ugandan activists who are, for example, challenging the death sentence are not harassed in this manner?

V.M. continues, “Even at the police station we were treated very badly. For them it was like a comedy and we felt humiliated because we are not kids. This is not how a human should be treated.”