On Monday May 31, Rainbow Railroad started getting wind of a new crackdown in Uganda against the LGBTQI+ community. Soon, it became clear through confidential sources and contacts of Rainbow Railroad that 44 LGBTQI+ people had been arrested under false pretences. Media in Uganda are now wrongly claiming that the arrest took place at a ‘gay wedding’ even though there is no marriage equality in Uganda.
Today Uganda Police conducted a raid on an LGBTQ Shelter, and arrested 44 members who are now detained at a local police station.
— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) May 31, 2021
Crackdowns on LGBTQI+ people like this happen in many countries around the world. But, they’re particularly common in Uganda. Just last year, there was a similar incident, in which over 19 people were arrested in a raid on a shelter in Kampala. This raid was conducted under the guise of breaking COVID-19 restrictions. The arrestees were outed in the press, putting their lives in danger.
Rainbow Railroad is sounding the alarm internationally and supporting human rights defenders in Uganda who are working to secure the release of those caught up in the raid. The most recent information we have is that many of the people are being held in a maximum security prison – which is a very dangerous situation for them.
Our contacts also shared with Rainbow Railroad this video footage, some of which was shared on social media in Uganda. They have asked Rainbow Railroad to share it widely to raise awareness about this human rights abuse. A warning – these images are disturbing.