Every day the world over; persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity leads to numerous human rights violations inform of discrimination and violence: women human rights defenders are no exception.
The International Women Human Rights Defenders day is meant to celebrate, raise awareness, and acknowledge the work of women human rights defenders and the situation in which they organize and operate in their daily struggle for fundamental human rights.
Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) stands in solidarity with the international community to recognize role of women human rights defenders who fight diligently, courageously and persistently for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LBTI) persons in Uganda.
It is time for women human rights defenders to claim space and assert themselves in this shrinking or nonexistent space. Women especially in Africa are routinely completely excluded or underrepresented in political public, social and economic decision making as well as service provision.
Women human rights defenders in Uganda face many challenges in their line of duty including; arbitrarily arrests, evictions, blackmail, harassment, physical assault and corrective rape. Rape is used as a weapon of power to subdue and demoralize them while murder; to mute, suppress, intimidate and derail other activists from their mission. Many of these cases are never reported to the authorities for fear of stigmatization and also the fact that the perpetrators are never reprimanded.
The state employs restrictive legislations limiting the space further. This hostile environment created by the state albeit the standing human rights instruments adopted and ratified by Uganda makes it hard to conduct human rights work. It is no news that the Media is used selectively to stifle freedom of expression for LBTI and women human rights defenders in Uganda.
Mid this year after ten years in existence, FARUG got a new Executive Director: Junic Wambya who has been an ardent human rights defender at the fore front of the battle to avail informational and access to health for Lesbians Bisexuals, Transgender, Intersex and women who have sex with women (WSW) in Uganda. From the recommendations of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights research, FARUG has since managed to create partnerships with organizations and brought on board individuals, institutions and policy makers that have provided; and pledged to provide specific health care to members of FARUG and LBTI WSW persons in Uganda.
We appreciate and commend in a special way, our allies who have risked all: careers, relationships and their personal security; to partner with us in the fight. They have provided legal, psychosocial health and mentorship to see FARUG become the professional organization it is ten years later.
The struggle continues!!!