Prominent LGBT Rights Activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagasera Forced to Flee After Government Minister Orders Activists to Leave Workshop
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(New York) — Following a raid by a Ugandan cabinet minister on a workshop being run by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists in Entebbe, Amnesty International called on the government today to end its "outrageous" harassment of the community.
The Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, accompanied by police, announced that the workshop was illegal and ordered rights activists out of the hotel where it was being held. Lokodo told activists that if they did not leave immediately, he would use force against them.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General, said in response: "This is an outrageous attempt to prevent lawful and peaceful activities of human rights defenders in Uganda."
Lokodo also attempted to order the arrest of Kasha Jacqueline Nabagasera, a prominent LGBT rights activist, who won the 2011 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. Nabagasera was forced to flee from the hotel.
The reasons for the attempted arrest were not immediately clear, but were reported to be linked to Nabagasera's attempt to challenge the minister's actions.
"The government of Uganda must protect all people against threats, violence and harassment," said Shetty. "The Ugandan government must allow legitimate, peaceful gatherings of human rights defenders, including those working on LGBT rights."
The move comes days after legislation known as the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" was re-tabled in the Ugandan Parliament. The government of Uganda has sought to distance itself from the bill, stating that it did not enjoy government support.
If the Anti-Homosexuality Bill becomes law, it would violate international human rights law and lead to further human rights violations.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
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