Update to UGA34633.E of 28 June 2000 regarding the treatment of homosexuals by the government and society in general [UGA39848.E]

According to Behind the Mask (BTM), a Website on gay and lesbian affairs in southern Africa, police in Kampala arrested a member of a gay, lesbian and bisexual organization called Lesgabix on 18 April 2001 when the member was discovered carrying a copy of a Lesgabix newsletter (15 May 2001). Once arrested, the police, reportedly forced the Lesgabix member to lead them to the location of the person responsible for printing the newsletter and arrested the printer as well (BTM 15 May 2001). The report claims that police "have developed a tendency of harassing LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual] people in Kampala apparent[ly]for no reason" (ibid.).

Additional reports regarding the treatment of homosexuals by government authorities since 28 June 2000 could not be found among the sources consulted. However, according to reports consulted, on 3 March 2002, following the acceptance of a "Commonwealth award for his government's campaign against HIV/Aids, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni declared ... that his country has no homosexuals" (Birmingham Post 4 Mar. 2002; The Monitor 6 Mar. 2002). President Museveni reportedly "led an aggressive AIDS prevention campaign since 1986 that has been credited with slashing the infection rate among adults in the African nation from 28 percent to less than 10 percent" and blamed the transmission of the virus on unprotected heterosexual sex (ibid.). However, Museveni's claim that Uganda has no homosexuals follows a "recent report by a human rights group [that] put Uganda on a list of nations accused of torturing and mistreating their homosexual populations" (Birmingham Post 4 Mar. 2002). For additional information on the ill-treatment and torture of homosexuals worldwide, including documented cases of homosexuals being tortured in Uganda, please consult Amnesty International's report entitled Crimes of Hate, Conspiracy of Silence: Torture and Ill-treatment Based on Sexual Identity.

With regard to society's view of homosexuality, an article published in The Monitor reported that the "General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) in Uganda, Rev. Simon Peter Emiau, has alleged that homosexuals have invaded Mbale district" and that "the Church is not safe" (30 July 2001). It further reported that he later retracted his remarks following criticism from the international LGBT community and stated instead that "homosexuals should carry out their business in private" (The Monitor 30 July 2001).

In reference to the Ugandan LGBT community, an article on the BTM Website provides the following information:

The first chapter of Integrity, the organization of gay and lesbian Episcopalians and Anglicans, on the African continent has been launched in Kampala, Uganda. Much to the distress of the founders, the current political situation in Uganda does not allow to release names or contact information. Integrity Kampala calls on member churches of the Anglican Communion to join in the call for the government of Uganda to radically change the hostile climate, particularly the threat of arrest to lesbian and gay persons.
A goal of Integrity Kampala is to sponsor a pan-African conference of lesbian and gay Anglicans prior to the next scheduled Lambeth Conference in 2008. Integrity USA will provide assistance to this indigenous effort (2001).

Worldwide Faith News (WFN) reported that Bishop Disani Christopher Senyonjo accepted the founding chairmanship of Integrity-Uganda, and released a statement "in which he apologized for thinking that homosexuality in Africa is a foreign import" and "called a recent statement by the Ugandan House of Bishops condemning Integrity-Uganda 'rude'" (27 Feb. 2001). He also reportedly stated the following:

Never has the Church admitted that there is a plurality of thought, sexuality and life in Africa as is in the rest of the world. I was also sorry to think that homosexuality was a sexual deviation from western countries which should be denied a resting place in Africa...
Both from my experience as a counselor and from available scientific evidence, I have come to a humble conclusion that heterosexual adjustment is a practical and successful aim of counseling only in a minority of cases in Uganda. ...
[A]s the Bishops of Uganda try to adopt an alarmist approach to Integrity-Uganda and many of them continue to share secret meals with homosexuals, one wonders whether they have not put their integrity to further scrutiny (WFN 27 Feb. 2001).

Additional information on the treatment of homosexuals by society since 28 June 2000 could not be found among the sources consulted.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Behind the Mask (BTM). 15 May 2001. "Uganda: Lesgabix Printer Arrested." http://www.mask.org.za/Archive%20Web%20Files/Updated%20060601/sections/Archive/Headlines.htm [Accessed 21 Nov. 2002]

_____. 2001. "LGBT Chapter Integrity Formed in Uganda." http://www.mask.org.za/SECTIONS/AfricaPerCountry/ABC/uganda/uganda_20.htm [Accessed 18 Nov. 2002]

The Birmingham Post. 4 March 2002. "President of Uganda Says 'No Gays in My Country.'" (Global News Wire 5 Mar. 2002/NEXIS)

The Monitor. 6 March 2002. "Uganda; Uganda Has No Homosexuals, Says Museveni." (Africa News/NEXIS)

_____. 30 July 2001. "Uganda; Homosexuals Have 'Invaded' Mbale - Pastor." (Africa News/NEXIS)

Worldwide Faith News (WFN). 27 February 2001. Jan Nunley. "Ugandan Bishop Who Chairs Local Integrity Chapter Responds to Criticism." http://www.wfn.org/2001/02/msg00274.html [Accessed 21 Nov. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Internet sites, including:

Africa Online



Amnesty International (AI): Crimes of Hate, Conspiracy of Silence: Torture and Ill-treatment Based on Sexual Identity http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/ACT400162001?OpenDocument&of=THEMES\SEXUAL+ORIENTATION

BBC Africa

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

World News Connection (WNC)

Search engine: