Also, the group had to walk through the streets after their arrest whilst tied together. The video (at the bottom of the article) shows how a large group of bystanders is following the group of LGBT+ people.
"It is not a crime to be homeless and live in a shelter," Mausi Segun, Executive Director at the African division of Human Rights Watch, said in a letter to the Ugandan authorities. In the letter, she emphasizes that the arrest of the group of homeless LGBT + people is unlawful. ‘’As you are aware, many vulnerable populations live in shelters and group homes in Uganda, including women who are survivors of domestic violence, orphans, and refugees. Imprisoning shelter residents on Covid-19 related charges simply for residing in a group home is not only arbitrary and abusive, it is contrary to public health by needlessly congesting prisons.’’
The United Nations previously expressed its concern about the situation of the group of arrested LGBT+ people. The UN feared that during the coronacrisis, the authorities would abuse their power to hit the LGBT + community in the country extra hard.
This became evident in the video by SkyNews, in which the mayor of the municipality hits the young people with a stick while they sit on the ground in front of the shelter. In the video you can hear him asking where their parents are.
"Who have you had sex with?" one of the young people is also asked on camera. The person on camera says that he has not had sex with anyone, after which the question is repeated.
Human Rights Watch says it is concerned about the group, who is currently in prison. For example, three of them are said to be living with HIV, but it is unknown whether they are being given the correct medication.
Uganda is known for its hostile attitude towards LGBT+ people. For example, a minister suggested to punish homosexuality with the death penalty. The organization behind the homeless shelter, the Children of the Sun Foundation, has also been the target of homo- and transphobic violence on numerous occasions. For example, an activist from the organization was murdered with a machete last year.