Monday, June 18, 2012

Alert: Police Interrupt EHAHRDP Workshop; Question Workshop Participants and Organisers in Kampala

A training workshop for human rights defenders organized by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project has been interrupted by uninvited media representatives and the police. Participants are currently being questioned by the police.

EHAHRDP organized the training working on monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations for LGBTI defenders, which opened this morning at Esella Country Hotel, Najjera, Kampala. The workshop organisers, which brought together twenty HRDs from Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, as well as seven EHAHRDP staff members and interns, stopped the meeting when they learned that the media was coming to the hotel. Around ten journalists arrived at approximately 2.30pm, and two or three cameras were used to film the event. EHAHRDP has not been able to establish who informed the media that the training was taking place, although some of the journalists claimed to have received the information via the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Rev. Simon Lokodo.

Soon afterwards, the police arrived and began to question participants. Led by the head of the Kampala Metropolitan Criminal Investigations Department, the police began by questioning Paul Njogore from Freedom House, Jane Wothaya Thirikwa from Gay Kenya Trust, Neil Blazevic (a Canadian citizen) and Tabitha Netuwa from EHAHRDP, who were then held for some time in a police van and were told they would be taken to the Kira Road police station. The police are currently questioning all participants one-by-one, including by forcibly entering their hotel rooms.

EHAHRDP calls on the Ugandan police to immediately release all participants, and condemns this unjustified interruption of our legitimate activities.

For more information, please contact:
Hassan Shire, Executive Director on or +41 793 375 875
Rachel Nicholson, Advocacy Officer on or +41 762 556 769

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