April 9, 2014
U.S.-Funded HIV Clinic Raided by Police in Uganda
Ugandan police have raided the Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP), a research project of the U.S. Military HIV Program, Buzzfeed reports. The raid was allegedly prompted by the enforcement of the recent Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law in February by President Yoweri Museveni.
Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer and an LGBT advocate, told Buzzfeed that the two officers involved in the raid were acting on a report that the clinic was “promoting homosexuality.” Opiyo claims two Ugandan employees of the clinic were arrested, although an MUWRP statement claims only one arrest.
Police allegedly seized materials, including condoms, lube and medical manuals on HIV and men who have sex with men. A statement from the U.S. Department of State also claims only one arrest. Despite that person having been released, the state department said the incident “significantly heightens our concerns” for LGBTs.
The Associated Press reports that a police spokesperson later denied that the raid took place, instead alleging that someone who only claimed to be a police officer made the arrest. However, Opiyo claims the police officers he spoke with already knew the home address of one of those arrested before the raid. Buzzfeed reports a police statement released April 8 confirms the clinic was under investigation for almost a month.
The state department has temporarily suspended MUWRP operations. The timing of the raid has come under scrutiny by advocates. A U.S. delegation recently paid a visit to Uganda as part of a review to adjust aid in response to the anti-LGBT law. The World Bank also is reviewing whether a health care loan suspended after the law can proceed.
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