FEB 19: URGENT PRESS STATEMENT TO STOP DEPORTATION OF UGANDAN DOCTOR
19 February 2014:
URGENT PRESS STATEMENT TO STOP DEPORTATION OF UGANDAN
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
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
Glenn de Swardt 0716715875
Marcus Low 0829628309