LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexuals and Transgenders) citizens of Uganda who are being dehumanised and stigmatised through forced anal examinations to "prove" homosexuality are seeking the help of activists who are fighting increased harassment after the failed passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Citizens of Uganda, being persecuted due to their oppressive anti-gay laws is a well-established truth after presenter John Oliver featured a viral video 'eat da poo poo' on his show Last Week along with an interview with LGBT advocate Pepe Julian Onziema. Oliver's show has so far clocked more than 5,538,131 views on Youtube.
It helped raise awareness and overturn a law in a constitutional court on a technicality in August 2014. Formerly known as the "Kill the Gays", it was called so because a first draft included death penalty for gay sex, but was later changed to a life sentence. Another law that punishes gay sex with long prison terms, that was passed more than two years ago, also invited international outrage and even led some donor-countries to withhold aid.
However, right activists, part of organizations such as Human rights watch are troubled with the police forcing anal examinations to "prove" homosexuality. This sort of assault, they say has been encouraged through the anti-gay policies of President Yoweri Museveni's government. Activists also add that, though proponents of the practice say the law is used to prevent transmission of HIV, it is infact used as a form of discrimination and abuse
"They are using the law as an excuse to carry out the examinations. We want them banned…In all the cases we have dealt with, people are arrested and taken to certain clinics…The examinations aren't used as evidence, they are used as a tool to dehumanize and stigmatize…Anal examinations are a form of torture, a violation of the Ugandan Constitution, the African Charter, and international human rights. We want them banned… If the court declares the practice unconstitutional, the examinations will be unlawful, meaning anyone engaged in performing the examinations could be sued," Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer, who is preparing a constitutional case to ban forced anal examinations, says that HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act is being used illegally.
Mukasa, a 21-year-old gay man working as a cook in the Ugandan capital recounts his ordeal that took place in 2014.
"We opened the door, and there were police and people everywhere. The local councilman was there, yelling 'Out with the homos! You are scaring people in the area.' I still have scars from the beatings that followed…We were questioned, beaten again, forced to admit to homosexuality. They took us to…(a) clinic in Kampala where we were examined…It is so painful. The doctor puts a machine up your rectum. It hurts so much, and there is blood."
Though Mukasa's case was eventually dismissed due to lack of evidence, he says that he feels, and is still serving a sentence – outside of jail. Isolated from his friends and family, and changing his identity, he is now living in a shelter.
"I cannot walk the street, I cannot get medicine, I do not have any money and cannot claim benefits because I am a homosexual. I have lost my job because of the case. People know who I am, I can't leave my house. I cannot get a taxi, I cannot get a job, all because of the case," said Mukasa.