Targeting Private Groups, Uganda Continues Its LGBT Terrorism Campaign
Uganda officials said that 38 non-governmental organizations would be eliminated because they claim the groups were promoting homosexuality and recruiting children, Reuters reported.
Ugandan Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo told the news service that the groups that are being banned were receiving support from other countries for Uganda's LGBT community and claimed that gay men and women were "recruiting" Uganda's children into homosexuality.
"The NGOs are channels through which monies are channeled to (homosexuals) to recruit," Lokodo told Reuters.
Uganda is one of several nations in Africa that have outlawed homosexuality. Gay Ugandans have little rights as they cannot get married or openly serve in the military.
In January, the Uganda Parliament reintroduced a bill that would sentence anyone who was caught engaging in consensual homosexual acts to death. The country's government said it does not support the proposed law, however.
"As a parliamentary democracy the process of debate will continue," a government statement said. "Whilst the government of Uganda does not support this bill, it is required under our constitution to facilitate this debate. The facilitation of this debate should not be confused for the government's support for this bill."
Reuters notes that a new version of the bill is expected to eliminate the clause that calls for gays to be punished by the death penalty or life in prison because the law has been criticized around the world and threats were made that international aid would be cut off.
Lokodo said that the non-governmental programs, which are based in Uganda, would no longer be registered because they promoted homosexuality. "I have got a record of meetings that they have held to empower, enhance and recruit (homosexuals)," Lokodo said.
Earlier this week, the minister had a gay rights conference cancelled. Lokodo ordered authorities seal off the meeting, which was being held in a hotel near Kampala, Uganda's capital city.
"They claimed they (were) investigating a security threat," said Pepe Julian Onziema, an activist who attended the conference. "(The minister) is just trying to intimidate us."
About 15 activists from Uganda and other African nations, such as Rwanda and Kenya, were questioned by police but later released without charge, the article points out.
"They were questioned on what exactly they were up to and the assembly they were involved in," Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman Idi Senkumbi said.
The director of Human Rights Network Uganda, one of the groups that will be banned, said that Lokodo is attacking civil society in Uganda. "We know that they have been all kinds of threats coming towards the (NGO) sector for different reasons," said Ndifuna.
In March, the Associated Press reported that gay Ugandans saw some progress in regards to LGBT rights. Gay rights activist held a march against gender-based violence and more than 30 people walked through the streets of Kampala and held pro-gay signs.
"For us, this is a sign of progress," Frank Mugisha, a Ugandan gay activist, said.