U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Condemns Police Raid of Uganda Pride

Jim Burroway

August 5th, 2016

The U.S. Ambassador to Uganda has released its statement on last night’s police raid on a LGBT pride celebration in Kampala:

Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah R. Malac.

I was dismayed to hear the accounts of a police raid last night on a peaceful event in Kampala to celebrate Uganda Pride Week and recognize the talents and contributions of the country’s LGBTI community. The fact that police reportedly beat and assaulted Ugandan citizens engaged in peaceful activities is unacceptable and deeply troubling.

This incident adds to a growing list of reports concerning police brutality in Uganda. While the United States has faced its own recent allegations of improper use of force by law enforcement officials, the fact remains that abuses committed by those sworn to uphold the law are unacceptable in any country. As our own experience shows, issues of police brutality and impunity can only be resolved by holding officials accountable, and by encouraging open and frank dialogue between citizens and government. I hope Ugandan authorities will investigate this and other incidents, and treat them with the seriousness they deserve.

No person should face abuse or discrimination because of who they are. The U.S. Embassy stands with Uganda’s LGBTI community and Ugandans of all backgrounds and beliefs to defend the dignity of all citizens. We call on the Ugandan authorities to safeguard the freedoms of all Ugandans under the law.

The increasingly dictatorial president Yoweri Museveni continues to hold power after thirty years in office by grabbing ever greater police powers to harass and jail dissidents and political opponents. Last night’s raid is just part of a much larger pattern of police crackdowns on all peaceful gathering and meetings, including those taking place in private venues.

Meanwhile, Ugandan media have been following very closely the examples of police shootings in the U.S., and East Africans know the names of Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile about as well as do most Americans. Museveni has been pointing to those events to discredit American criticisms of Ugandan police actions against his political opponents.

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