Peeling the mask on the entity in eye of LGBT storm

What you need to know:

  • HRAPF operates the only specialised legal aid clinic for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Uganda.

The Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), as per its website, is a non-governmental human rights advocacy and legal aid service provider organisation. It concedes to having a soft spot for fighting for the rights of marginalised groups.

HRAPF operates the only specialised legal aid clinic for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Uganda.

It also engages in strategic litigation for LGBTI rights and was instrumental in the case that saw the nullification of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014.

The organisation claims to engage the police, the Judiciary, the Uganda Human Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission on protection of the rights of LGBTI persons, as well as engaging in research and publications on LGBTI rights.

Its 2021 report on violations of LGBTI persons tallied 1,826 cases that calendar year—an increase of 254 from the 2020 tally of 1,572 cases.

Of its 2021 tally, 709 cases were attributed to sex workers and 486 concerned Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and others or LGBTIQ+ persons. The others were people who use and inject drugs or PWUIDs (272), Persons Living with HIV/Aids or PLWHIV (132), Sexual and Gender Based Violence or SGBV (70), elderly persons with land justice challenges (13) and women, girls and health workers facing abortion-related charges (11).

Its dataset revealed that 645 cases were handled at the legal aid clinic, 230 cases were handled at the regional legal aid centres, 99 cases were overseen by the specialised legal aid desks for Lesbian Bisexual and Queer women hosted by partners Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) and the one for transgender and gender non-conforming persons hosted by our partners Tranz Network Uganda (TNU).

In addition, 70 cases were handled at its Yumbe field office. The cases handled by the community paralegals totalled 649 while those tended to through the toll free line were 133.

Started in 2008, the organisation has had Mr Edward Ssemambo serve on its board as chairperson for the past three years. He is currently a Managing Partner at KITS Advocates. Ms Tabitha Netuwa, who is described on the organisation’s website as “an eminent human rights defender” is the board’s vice chairperson.

Other officials that constitute HRAPF’s top brass are Mr Alex Ssekatwa (general secretary), Ms Rose Kamuli (treasurer), Ms Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera (member) and Ms Christine Nakamatte (member).

Govt reacts

Mr Simon Peter Mundeyi- Spokesperson of the Internal Affairs ministry, said: “Yes, I know the Human Right Awareness Promotion Forum- Uganda (HRAPF).

 They registered on August 14, 2008 with the objective to carry on business as an independent, non-governmental, non-stock and non-profit making organisation. They are legally operating with a valid permit until January 6, 2024.

The organisation’s specific objectives include to: promote through education; research the universal respect for human rights; promote awareness on basic rights of the person; and sensitise the general public on human rights

Others include generate data information and knowledge on human rights; monitor and analyse legislative and administrative developments to make human rights part of the country’s system; and to provide legal aid services to any person/persons who due to financial constraints may be deprived of their civil, political, economic and cultural rights and freedom among others.

"I am not aware of this (promoting homosexuality), but I promise to dig deeper into the inner operations of the NGO.”