UGANDA - Uganda is known as one of the world's worst countries to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). LGBT people risk cell for fourteen years and are victims of violence and discrimination. Ugandan church leaders call to lynch them, political leaders use them as lightning rods for the real problems.

Jan De Deken and Arne Gillis travel to Uganda and speak with disowned homosexuals, with LGBT rights activists and with Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo, who calls homosexuality a plague that must be eradicated.

De Deken and Gillis are also investigating the role of the Belgian government and NGOs in this area. Publicly, the Belgian government says it is taking the lead against LGBT discrimination in Uganda. In practice that does not seem to be right. Uganda is an important partner country for Belgian development cooperation and in the federal policy memorandum, human rights is named one of the two central axes of the development policy, but where other Western countries actively support homosexual groups, Belgium doesn't seem to be engaged.

This is evident from discussions with Uganda's prominent LGBT movements, Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo, the Belgian ambassador in Uganda and other Western European diplomats and development workers in the country. Activists call the gap between discourse and practice a dangerous game that Ugandan LGBT people are the first victims of. They blame politicians for opportunism and lip service.

The research shows that Belgian NGOs that receive government support for projects in Uganda aren't occupied with gay rights. They indicate that the theme is not part of their mission or acknowledge that they don't want to touch this sensitive issue. 

Team members

Jan De Deken

Jan De Deken (° 1985) is a Belgian freelance journalist and photographer. Since 2010 he has written reports in more than thirty countries.

Arne Gillis

Arne Gillis is a Belgian journalist and photographer and covers Africa for the Belgian magazine MO*.

Arne Gillis
A working grant of € 3.346 allocated on 14/11/2016.

"Homo's zijn bliksemafleiders voor de echte problemen", Knack, 30/08/2017. p. 79-83

"Heksenjacht op holebi's in Oeganda: 'Homo's zijn bliksemafleiders voor de echte problemen'", Knack.be, 29/08/2017


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