The Ugandan government appears to be targeting organisations that are part of a coalition seeking to overturn the reviled Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Well-known LGBTI activist Dr. Frank Mugisha tweeted on Tuesday that NTV News had reported that the activities of the Refugee Law Project (RLP) have been “halted due their pro gay support.”
RLP hosts the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law, a group of 50 organisations that in March filed a petition with the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
On Wednesday, RLP confirmed that it had received letters from the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees and other government officials ordering it to suspend some of its activities with refugees “pending investigations on allegations that RLP was promoting homosexuality.”
It said that the “suspensions follow the passing into law of the Anti-Homosexuality Act on 24 February 2014.”
RLP noted, however, that contrary to media reports it had not shut down entirely, but had only suspended “work involving direct interface with refugees.”
It said that all other activities, “such as research, capacity building for key stakeholders, community outreaches, legal advocacy as well as actual court representation for our clients,” are continuing
The latest development could be a precursor to a crackdown on LGBTI supportive NGOs in Uganda based on the new anti-gay law, which bars the “promotion” of homosexuality.
In 2012, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, promised to ban NGOs that campaign for the human rights of gays and lesbians. There has also been talk of a new law being drafted to specifically target these organisations.
In April, Ugandan police raided an American-funded HIV clinic in Kampala on the basis that it was “recruiting” gay people.