Queer activist Brian Wasswa was killed in his home in Jinja, a city in Eastern Uganda. He had been working with the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), a legal aid organization that does outreach work for the LGBTQ+ community.

His murder was followed by the Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity announcing that the government plans to introduce a bill criminalizing homosexual acts. This proposed bill is similar to a 2014 Anti-Homosexuality act which was annulled by the constitutional court. Anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment is widely prevalent in Uganda and the government constantly capitalizes on it.

Africa researcher at the Human Rights Watch, Orem Nyeko said, “In the wake of the horrific murder of Brian Wasswa, the Ugandan government should be making it crystal clear that violence is never acceptable, regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead, a government minister charged with ethics and integrity is threatening to have gay people killed at the hands of the state.”

HRAPF reported that the police have opened investigation into the killing and interviewed one witness who saw another man in Wasswa’s house several hours before he was murdered. The killer has not been identified yet and no further progress has been made on the case.

Edward Mwebaza, executive director of HRAPF said three other gay and transgender people have also been found dead in recent months. Given the climate of widespread homophobia, Nyeko added that the “police should conduct thorough investigations and political leaders should refrain from any rhetoric that might encourage violence.”

Source:  HRW 10/15/19, CTV news 10/15/19

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