Human rights defender

Samuel

Shelter CityUtrechtThemeLGBTICountryUganda

Samuel is the director of local, non-profit organisation that aims to promote and protect LGBT+ rights in Uganda. The organisation has a country-wide network of affiliated groups spread over all major urban centres.  Samuel works to deepen human rights awareness among the LGBT+ community in Uganda  so as to better prepare them in the event of their arrest or harassment. He  focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness among LGBT+ youth providing  health services such as STI tests and distribution of contraceptives.  Homosexuality is illegal under Ugandan law  to the extent that Samuel faces many threats because of his work, his role as director of an LGBT+ organisation and his status as  transgender. Over the course of 2014 he was attacked, beaten and nearly killed. Because of these threats Samuel has been forced to move to protect

About Samuel

Uganda is one of the most dangerous places to be gay: those in the LGBT+ community are fired because of their sexual orientation, refused treatment in hospitals and are victims of abuse. The perpetrators of such human rights violations, some of which are state actors such as the police, benefit most of the time from impunity.[1] Worldwide, the discrimination against LGBT+ people in Uganda attracted attention when, in 2013, a bill was tabled  advocating life sentences for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. Offenses of “attempted homosexuality” as well as “promotion of homosexuality” were also to be punished with lengthy jail terms. In August 2014, the bill was declared invalid by court ruling for technical reasons. Nevertheless, the situation of sexual minorities in Uganda remains extremely difficult as Uganda’s Penal Code still criminalises same-sex  conduct. Attempts to introduce anti-gay law continue to pose a  threat to the  LGBT+ community, as a new (and further reaching) draft law focusing on banning the “promotion” of homosexuality has been leaked.

After a long fight against hatred, aggression, exclusion and threats, Samuel needs to regain his strength in a safe environment. His time in The Netherlands was used to rest after an intense period pressure over the past few years. During his stay he aimed to share his story to inform government officials, NGO’s and the public about the challenges he, his colleagues and other members of the LGBT+ community are facing.

[1] The Consortium on Monitoring Violations Based on Sex Determination, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation: “Uganda Report of Violations based on Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation”. July 2015.

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