Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Press > Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Three LGBT Ugandan Activists Arrested at PEPFAR Meeting in Kampala

Cambridge, Mass - 06/08/2008

"The correct understanding of fundamental human rights principles, as well as existing human rights norms, leads ineluctably to the recognition of sexual rights as human rights." --Paul Hunt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health

Physicians for Human Rights is gravely concerned about the arrest on Wednesday, June 4 of 3 LGBT Ugandan activists at a PEPFAR (President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief) meeting in Kampala, Uganda.

The activists were peacefully protesting a statement by the Director General of the Uganda AIDS Commission that no government funds would be directed at halting the spread of AIDS in the community of men who have sex with men. The activists were officially cited for "trespassing," though other activists lacking credentials entered the meeting without incident.

The activists also distributed copies of a document outlining programs that could serve this key population and the estimated cost of these programs. "Everyone deserves the right to health, including marginalized groups subject to discrimination," said Frank Donaghue, director of Physicians for Human Rights."Advocates need to be encouraged and supported, not arrested. They are HIV experts in their own communities and they are trying to save lives."

The Ugandan population of men who have sex with men, a highly stigmatized and socially excluded group, is at particular risk of contracting HIV. This group deserves the highest attainable standard of health and the same protections and programs afforded other Ugandans. The activists, as part of Uganda's civil society, play a key role in advocating for life-saving prevention and treatment programs for this population. Physicians for Human Rights advocates for science-based HIV prevention, treatment and care for everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, national background, or sexual preference.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

PHR News