June 20, 2012, New York – Today, in response to a raid this week by Ugandan police of a workshop on the rights of sexual minorities, and yesterday’s threats by Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity to arrest the attendees, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
Both the illegal raid and the threats of arrest violate fundamental rights to speech, assembly and association, as well as the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention. As part of a pattern of harassment and rights violations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, these actions also constitute persecution, which is a crime against humanity in international law.
Monday’s raid follows a similar raid in February of an LGBTI conference. That raid was personally led by Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo, who was also behind this week’s raid. On Tuesday, Lokodo told a Ugandan news station that the authorities were still following the activists and were doing all they could do to arrest them so that “everybody else will know that at least in Uganda we have no room here for homosexuals and lesbians.”
CCR represents Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of Ugandan LGBTI organizations, in their case against U.S.-based anti-gay extremist Scott Lively for his role in the persecution of the LGBTI community in Uganda. As part of his broad-based anti-gay agenda, Lively has worked extensively in Uganda and elsewhere to criminalize advocacy on LGBTI issues. Lokodo’s actions are right in line with Lively’s goal and his advice to silence the LGBTI community in Uganda by criminalizing their exercise of fundamental rights
CCR also looks forward to the outcome of a case brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda against Lokodo in Uganda for the February raid. That case is set for a hearing in the High Court on Monday, June 25, 2012.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.