FARUG director Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera

LGBTI rights groups in Uganda have started a campaign calling for an end to hate towards the LGBTI community.

The “Hate No More” campaign was launched on Tuesday at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, led by Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL).

The four-month-long national campaign will see LGBTI groups engaging civil society, political leaders, religious leaders, and the general public on the issue of “psychological and physical hate” against those perceived to be different.

“For a long time, gays in Uganda have been harassed, cajoled, insulted, discriminated against and referred to as beasts,” said Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, Director of FARUG.

“The homophobia is given a voice by the press, institutionalised by the Penal Code and given strength by the politicians and religious leaders,” she said.

Male and female homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, with penalties including life imprisonment. MPs from the ruling party have backed a bill which aims to further strengthen anti-gay laws and impose the death penalty for repeat offenders.

Activists, including Nabagesera, believe, however, that current and proposed anti-gay laws are unconstitutional as “our rights are inherent and are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.” This view has been backed by Busingye Kabumba, a lecturer of law.

FARUG’s office was recently burgled and vandalised, with burglars stealing the names of members.

In January, David Kato, a Ugandan LGBTI activist, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his home. Last month, Najib Kabuye, another Ugandan LGBTI activist, narrowly escaped death when his house was set alight.

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