06 April 2014

Uganda Police Raid HIV/AIDS Clinic Accused Of “Training Youths In Gay Sex”

Kampala, AIDS Watch Indonesia (4/4/2014) - Armed with machine guns, batons and pepper spray, police in Uganda stormed the offices of an HIV/AIDS charity they claim “trains youths in gay sex.”

The Makerere University Walter Reed Project in Kampala was ransacked during a police ambush yesterday. At least one person was arrested and interrogated.

Authorities are denying the raid. Patrick Onyango, spokesperson for the Ugandan police, told the Associated Press that the project was voluntarily closed by administrators after a man pretending to be a police officer threatened workers there.

“Yesterday somebody claiming to be a police officer went and arrested one of the workers there,” Onyango said. ”Today the management of [the project] has decided to close the place. We are not investigating that place at all.”

But a tweet from Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo tells a different story:

The Makerere University Walter Reed Project first opened its doors in 1998 and is a non-profit partnership between the Uganda university and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program that offers health and education services to LGBT people living with HIV/AIDS.

The United Nations program on HIV and AIDS reports that 1.5 million Ugandans — around 7 percent of the country’s total population – are infected with HIV.

“A lot of LGBTI people found it comfortable to go [to the project] for anti-retroviral treatment,” Frank Mugisha, a gay leader in Uganda, said.

It looks as though those people may have to find a new clinic to get their much-needed medication.

“The Ministry of Health keeps reassuring everyone that the (new antigay) law will not result in discrimination and stigma in access to health care services and research,” Maria Burnett, a Uganda researcher with Human Rights Watch, said, ”but yesterday’s events clearly contradict that. How can Ugandans seek what should be confidential medical services when police appear without a legal basis and question and detain staff?’”  (http://www.queerty.com/)

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