Wednesday, 19 February 2014

STOP DEPORTATION OF UGANDAN DOCTOR



19 February 2014:
URGENT PRESS STATEMENT TO STOP DEPORTATION OF UGANDAN DOCTOR

Dr Paul Nsubuga Semugoma, a Ugandan medical doctor and human rights activist, has been under arrest for the past 48 hours and is facing the threat of deportation to his country of birth.

A group of South African human rights organisations are urgently attempting to halt his deportation as Paul is “wanted” in Uganda for his activism around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in his country.

Paul has been in the forefront with the Ugandan Parliament in fighting the Anti-homosexuality Bill, were he presented how the bill not only is a human rights infringement but also a health access dilemma to the Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) community. The human rights situation in Uganda has deteriorated, and the LGBT community is particularly vulnerable at this time. 

Paul is at risk should he be deported to Uganda. One of his close friends David Kato was murdered in 2011 and he felt he was not so safe anymore and decided to move to South Africa with his partner where he has been a volunteer at the Anova Health Institute for the past three years, working specifically with MSM.

Paul's special skills application has been pending since March 2012. His application was lost twice by the Department of Home Affairs, a case was lodged and he was requested to re-apply in which he did in April 2013 and again in August 2013. Paul was allowed to travel using his official passport and a receipt from the department.

After several trips in and out of South Africa, Paul returned from a meeting in Zimbabwe earlier this week and was arrested.

Lawyers yesterday managed to get a court order to halt the threatened deportation and to order his release. However last night  immigration officials unlawfully refused to release him. As a result his lawyers are returning to the South Gauteng High Court today to secure another order for his release.

Activists will gather at the court today in support of Paul’s release.

The Anova Health Institute will continue to offer support for Paul’s release from detention, and a fair assessment of his application for South African residency that includes taking Uganda’s stance on homosexuality into account.

THIS STATEMENT IS RELEASED UNDER THE BANNER OF THE SA NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL CIVIL SOCIETY SECTOR, TREATMENT ACTION CAMPAIGN, SONKE GENDER JUSTICE, ANOVA HEALTH INSTITUTE, COALITION OF AFRICAN LESBIANS and SECTION27

Further enquiries:
Glenn de Swardt 0716715875
Marcus Low 0829628309


Jim Pickett
Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health – AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Chair – International Rectal Microbicide Advocates
200 West Jackson, Suite 2200
Chicago, IL 60606
[s] jimpickett66

http://citizen.co.za/wp-content/uploads/sites/18/2013/09/sa-flag.jpg

Dr. Paul Ssemugooma the perennial yet humble activist

19.2.2014 02.15 pm
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Image courtesy stock.xchnge
Rights groups urged South Africa’s government Wednesday to halt the deportation of a Ugandan doctor and gay rights activist over fears that he will be at risk if sent home.

Paul Nsubuga Semugoma, a medical doctor who has lobbied against Kampala’s tough pending anti-homosexuality legislation, was detained in South Africa on Monday by immigration officials.
Six rights groups issued a statement calling on South Africa’s government not to expel Semugoma, saying he was “wanted” in Uganda for his activism” around gay issues.
“The human rights situation in Uganda has deteriorated, and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community is particularly vulnerable at this time,” the groups said.
“Paul is at risk should he be deported to Uganda.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced he will sign into law a controversial anti-gay bill, passed by parliament in December, that will see homosexuals jailed for life.
Marcus Low of the AIDS activist Treatment Action Campaign said Semugoma had “been a very active opponent of the homophobic law”.
“He would definitely be in danger if he returned to Uganda now because of the current climate and because he is openly gay and he’s openly critical of the homophobic law,” he said.
The rights groups planned to go to court on Wednesday to seek Semugoma’s release after immigration officials refused to let him goon Tuesday, despite a court order to do so.
Semugoma was detained at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport when returning from neighbouring Zimbabwe.
He applied for a South African work permit in 2012. After the application was lost twice, he was given a receipt for travel by the Department of Home Affairs.
“Paul was allowed to travel using his official passport and a receipt from the department,” said the rights groups.
“After several trips in and out of South Africa, Paul returned from a meeting in Zimbabwe earlier this week and was arrested.”
Semugoma has volunteered at the Johannesburg-based Anova Health Institute, which focuses on HIV, for three years.
AFP



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Kay Marshall

+1 347 249 6375
kaymarshall@mac.com
skype: ninakaymarshall