For the second consecutive year,
organizers in Uganda have been forced to cancel Pride celebrations in
Kampala, the nation's capital.
“It is with very heavy hearts and
deep-felt sadness that we announce the cancellation of Pride Uganda
said in a statement posted on the LGBT site Kuchu Times.
“The community realized the need for
us to stand together, hold one another’s hands, celebrate our
diversity but most importantly acknowledge and pat our selves on the
back for the hard work we put into creating visibility and
influencing policy change, all year round.”
“Sadly, even all the courage and
determination that we carry in our hearts is not enough to put the
lives of so many innocent people at risk.”
Organizers said that they decided to
cancel the event after police this week “surrounded” the venues
where events were scheduled to take place.
“[Minister of Ethics] Hon Simon
Lokodo, has over the last couple of weeks threatened us with arrest,
and even went as far as revealing his intentions to physically harm
one of the leaders within the movement if he came in contact with
her. He has categorically stated, time and again that gender and
sexual minorities have no rights in Uganda and today had all the
venues of the planned Pride events surrounded by state militia. He
has abused our very existence by stripping us of even the very basic
of our rights, he refuses to acknowledge our humanity or right of
association, speech, movement as well as freedom from degrading
treatment,” they wrote.
Lokodo used similar tactics to shut
down last year's Pride.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
U.S.'s largest LGBT rights advocate, called the cancellation a
violation of human rights.
“This action by the Ugandan
government to shut down Pride is a clear violation of LGBTQ Ugandans'
human rights,” said HRC Global Director Ty Cobb in a statement.
“Ugandan citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and
celebrate. The Ugandan government must reverse course and permit
this gathering to proceed. Anything less is an assault on
fundamental human rights.”