NAIROBI: Last Saturday, Ugandan police raided and closed the Kampala International Queer Film Festival to screen films on LGBT themes, Human Rights Watch denounced today.
“The raid on the festival is the latest in a series of attacks on the freedom of expression, association and assembly of all Ugandans, including sexual and gender minorities,” Human Rights Watch researcher Neila Ghoshal said in a statement.
Police told organizers that they stormed the festival because the performances were “pornographic”.
“I was surprised that they said we show pornographic films, they are documentaries about the reality people live in. Our constitution is clear. We do not break the laws,” festival organizer Kamuja Hassan said.
Ugandan penal code includes a colonial-era law banning “physical acquaintance against the order of nature” with the possibility of life imprisonment sentences, although the law rarely brought cases to justice.
This is not the first time authorities have cracked down on actions targeting the LGBT community, but it has not occurred at events such as this year’s Pride Week and at a human rights education workshop in 2012.
In January 2014, President Yoweri Museveni enacted the Anti-Homosexuality Law, which criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality and has led to arrests, evictions, layoffs and hate crimes against LGBT people, until August of that year the Constitutional Court declared the law invalid. and void.
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