Activists warn about ‘alarming’ spate of trans bashings in Uganda

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There has been an alarming spate of attacks on trans people in Uganda, activists have warned.

LGBT rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda issued a stark warning today, after eight reported transphobic attacks in less than a week.

SMUG, one of the few LGBT rights groups in a country where homosexuality is illegal and trans people are persecuted, called for the community to remain vigilant.

According to the group, the spate of attacks have included mob beatings, home invasions and death threats – and that in least one instance, the victim ended up in the back of a police van while the attackers were allowed to go free.

It notes that “reports from victims include being punched in the face outside their homes, having bottles thrown at them, and being threatened with the removal of teeth and testicles, as well as death threats”.

Dr Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG, said: “It seems like the violence towards LGBT Ugandans is on the increase or it never stopped.

“I strongly condemn the increasing violence and attacks on LGBT persons ask the Uganda authorities to investigate and hold accountable the perpetrators.”

Pepe Julian Onziema, Programme Director at SMUG, said: “More than ever LGBT people should be on alert 24/7. Avoid walking alone especially in the night and going to LGBT unfriendly places for their own safety.

“LGBT persons have the right to dignity and to be protected against violence like any other Ugandan citizen.”

Jonathan Cooper, Chief Executive of Human Dignity Trust, said: “Ugandan authorities continue to ignore or even incite incidents like these because the laws that criminalise LGBT people make them seen as not deserving of basic protection.

“If you are essentially an unapprehended felon because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you are denied your basic rights to protection from harm and harassment, and as a result the rule of law is undermined in countries like Uganda.

“Criminalisation makes the perpetrators of these horrific violent attacks see themselves as vigilantes, upholding the laws which persecute LGBT people.”