Ugandan gay rights activist forced into hiding

A prominent Ugandan gay and lesbian rights activist with a history of being harassed by the authorities has been forced into hiding after police raided the hotel where she was participating in a workshop on the rights of sexual minorities.
Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo personally attended the raid in Entebbe with the police on Tuesday and ordered the arrest of Kasha Jacqueline, who was profiled in The Vancouver Sun in 2010, but she was able to escape and is now in hiding, according to her Facebook page. The raid comes the week after Uganda's parliament reintroduced its  controversial anti-homosexuality bill, which would impose the death penalty on those who participate in "serial" homosexual acts, and up the penalty for homosexual acts to life imprisonment from the current 14 years. Jacqueline is the founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, the country's only exclusively lesbian organization. It's a dangerous job in a country where there are strong taboos against same-sex relationships and some citizens are not 
afraid to take the law into their own hands. Just over a year ago, gay Ugandan activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death with a hammer after a tabloid printed his name and picture in a front-page story that purported to expose "Uganda's top homos" and called for them to be hanged. Jacqueline's name and photo appeared in the same article, along with allegations that she hosts gay orgies at her mansion. In fact, Jacqueline and her colleagues live and work in nondescript, discreet locations behind high walls so that neighbours will not see them and report them to the police. If passed, the anti-homosexuality bill will make anyone who fails to report homosexuals to the authorities subject to fines and jail terms. Jacqueline was the recipient of the 2011 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for her work in Uganda, where she created a safe space for lesbians to meet, and her efforts to raise international awareness of the plight of homosexuals in that country.

The anti-homosexuality bill was reintroduced in the Ugandan parliament last week after being withdrawn in the face of significant diplomatic pressure from aid donor countries including the 
U.S., Canada and Sweden.

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Pubblicato da Lorenzo Bernini