(August 4, 2016 | Washington, DC) Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights strongly condemns the Uganda police's raid of tonight's event in Kampala celebrating LGBT Pride, as well as the unlawful detention of 2011 RFK Human Rights Award Laureate Frank Mugisha, Pepe Onziema, and other leading Ugandan LGBT human rights defenders.
"These despicable actions by the Ugandan police are yet another stain on the reputation of security forces in a country that seem bent on cracking down on all forms of free expression," said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. "Fortunately, the Ugandan LGBT community is one of the most resilient group of individuals I've ever met. They will not be so easily deterred."
Just after 11:00 PM local time, Ugandan police raided the Pride event attended by hundreds of people at a nightclub in Kampala. Police blocked entry and exit from the facility and then detained Frank Mugisha and Pepe Onziema, both of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), along with over a dozen others, taking them to Kabalagala Police Station.
Several people reported being beaten by police at the event and also at the police station. All were eventually released without charge.
“This is a police force that is notorious for its brutal crackdowns on peaceful assemblies,” said Wade McMullen, Managing Attorney at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “One has to wonder if tonight’s raid of Uganda Pride was an attempt to pander to homophobic sentiment in Ugandan society in order to distract public attention away from a spate of high profile scandals that have plagued security forces of late.”
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights calls for the immediate investigation into the incident in order to fully hold accountable those who are responsible for tonight's raid, unlawful detentions, and any physical abuse, as well as immediate action to curtail escalating police violence targeting media, civil society, and political opposition.