Dr Paul Nsubuga Semugoma,a Ugandan medical doctor and human rights activist, has been under arrest for the past 48 hours and is facing the threat of deportation to his country of birth.
A group of South African human rights organisations are urgently attempting to halt his deportation as Paul is “wanted” in Uganda for his activism around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in his country.
Paul has been in the forefront with the Ugandan Parliament in fighting the Anti-homosexuality Bill, were he presented how the bill not only is a human rights infringement but also a health access dilemma to the Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) community. The human rights situation in Uganda has deteriorated, and the LGBT community is particularly vulnerable at this time.
Paul is at risk should he be deported to Uganda. One of his close friends David Kato was murdered in 2011 and he felt he was not so safe anymore and decided to move to South Africa with his partner where he has been a volunteer at the Anova Health Institute for the past three years, working specifically with MSM.
Paul's special skills application has been pending since March 2012. His application was lost twice by the Department of Home Affairs, a case was lodged and he was requested to re-apply in which he did in April 2013 and again in August 2013. Paul was allowed to travel using his official passport and a receipt from the department.
After several trips in and out of South Africa, Paul returned from a meeting in Zimbabwe earlier this week and was arrested.
Lawyers yesterday managed to get a court order to halt the threatened deportation and to order his release. However last night immigration officials unlawfully refused to release him. As a result his lawyers are returning to the South Gauteng High Court today to secure another order for his release.
The Anova Health Institute will continue to offer support for Paul’s release from detention, and a fair assessment of his application for South African residency that includes taking Uganda’s stance on homosexuality into account.
THIS STATEMENT IS RELEASED UNDER THE BANNER OF THE SA NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL CIVIL SOCIETY SECTOR, TREATMENT ACTION CAMPAIGN, SONKE GENDER JUSTICE, ANOVA HEALTH INSTITUTE, COALITION OF AFRICAN LESBIANS and SECTION27
Glenn de Swardt 0716715875
Marcus Low 0829628309