SA urged to halt Ugandan gay activist deportation

2014-02-19 14:46

Johannesburg - Rights groups urged South Africa's government on Wednesday to halt the deportation of a Ugandan doctor and gay rights activist over fears that he will be at risk if sent home.

Paul Nsubuga Semugoma, a medical doctor who has lobbied against Kampala's tough pending anti-homosexuality legislation, was detained in South Africa on Monday by immigration officials.

Six rights groups issued a statement calling on South Africa's government not to expel Semugoma, saying he was "wanted" in Uganda for his activism" around gay issues.

"The human rights situation in Uganda has deteriorated, and the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community is particularly vulnerable at this time," the groups said.

"Paul is at risk should he be deported to Uganda."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced he will sign into law a controversial anti-gay bill, passed by parliament in December, that will see homosexuals jailed for life.

Marcus Low of the AIDS activist Treatment Action Campaign said Semugoma had "been a very active opponent of the homophobic law".

"He would definitely be in danger if he returned to Uganda now because of the current climate and because he is openly gay and he's openly critical of the homophobic law," he said.


The rights groups planned to go to court on Wednesday to seek Semugoma's release after immigration officials refused to let him go on Tuesday, despite a court order to do so.

Semugoma was detained at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International airport when returning from neighbouring Zimbabwe.

He applied for a South African work permit in 2012. After the application was lost twice, he was given a receipt for travel by the Department of Home Affairs.

"Paul was allowed to travel using his official passport and a receipt from the department," said the rights groups.

"After several trips in and out of South Africa, Paul returned from a meeting in Zimbabwe earlier this week and was arrested."

Semugoma has volunteered at the Johannesburg-based Anova Health Institute, which focuses on HIV, for three years.

  • Mark Richardson - 2014-02-19 15:07

    unbelievable how narrow minded in politcs and behind in life the indigenous majority of africa is . I suppose that is apartheids fault as well.

      Greg Gail Garnie - 2014-02-19 15:27

      Is it possible that straight people can articulate their core values in a non-homophobic way? The answer is: YES. Can gay people articulate their core values in a non-heterophobic way? YES. Can the majority of people in a given country enshrine their core values in their laws? YES. The person who points out the narrow mindedness of others, solely on the basis of race, is the most narrow minded of the human gene pool.

      Linds Ron-House - 2014-02-19 20:41

      @Leonard, I like your thinking. Polygamy is also a personal prerogative. Let's protect all human rights equally. If a man can choose to marry another man, why can't he choose to have two or more spouses? Let's also decriminalize prostitution. Why can't a man pay for a pit of fun if we feels like it (so long it's not with a minor). NB: "man" is used to refer to all genders.

  • Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat - 2014-02-19 15:23

    Interesting how people delete their comments when what they said is unpopular...

      Brandon_Wilson - 2014-02-19 15:27

      So true - because the trueth is what the majority says it is. Only pro gay views will be posted here.

      Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat - 2014-02-19 15:35

      See, I get thumbs down and don't delete my comment...

      Tarquin Biscuitbarrel - 2014-02-19 15:35

      Maybe because it's hateful vitriolic garbage?

      Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat - 2014-02-19 15:43

      Yes, but sometimes some stupid comment can spark quite a debate. Deleting the main comment removes all the replies.

      dieter.moller - 2014-02-19 16:06

      Brandon...... Now go back to your rock.

  • Surendra Jugdav - 2014-02-19 16:04

    Its a shame that this should happen...shame on all of us...

      Linda Vongeivengals Ngwenya - 2014-02-19 16:13

      Shame on all of us for what?

      Feneth Mnisi - 2014-02-19 16:23

      Shame on you Surendra, and only you not all of us.

      Francois Marx - 2014-02-19 17:53

      Shame on those who promote sin.

      Emile van Rensburg - 2014-02-19 18:21

      Lol, what sin? The bible and other "religious texts" say homosexuality is a sin ja, but who cares, the bible was only made up 2000 years ago. The bible was written by man and I don't follow what man says. Everything is a sin in the bible. No one can live according to those silly rules

      Francois Marx - 2014-02-19 18:39

      Nee nie 'alles' is sonde nie. En jy weet dit.

      Atholl Hay - 2014-02-19 21:59

      Francois you really missed the marx, badly!

  • dieter.moller - 2014-02-19 16:05

    This is a test for our Government to see how much they value our Constitution. Somehow I am not holding my breath! It seems like we have forgotten where we come from already. Apartheid was an evil..... So is what Uganda is doing ....... Discrimination of any sort based on color, religion and sexual orientation should be condemned. We are awaiting our Governments decision......

  • Feneth Mnisi - 2014-02-19 16:32

    Just deport this guy back to Unganda please, thank you.

      Atholl Hay - 2014-02-19 22:03

      Unganda? Just send this guy back to school please, thank you.

  • Antoine van Wetten - 2014-02-19 16:39

    You'd think the majority of South Africans would know about being oppressed for being "different" and fight for basic human rights of others.

      Emile van Rensburg - 2014-02-19 18:18

      Ag who cares about morality? Morality are things dat come from old made-up books like da bible. The fact of the matter is that the order for him to stay was already granted. Thank god for the constitution and not the bible.

      Grant Henry - 2014-02-19 18:39

      @Emile u must be a butt plug.

  • Searcher SA - 2014-02-19 16:53

    Send him back !! We have had enough gay "rights" and "demands" shoved in our faces thanks. I have also come across enough gay wedding articles and TV shows to last me a life time.

      Emile van Rensburg - 2014-02-19 18:16

      Its not called "gay" rights. Its called human rights. Chapter 2 of the Constitution. Section 9. Check it out sum time. I don't think gays demand anymore than what heterosexuals do. Life, dignity and equality. That's about it. Don't read the articles if u don't want to and change the channel if u don't want to watch the show. Your arguments for sending a human being to a country where he might get killed seems...silly and lame. Articles and tv shows lol. Get dstv

  • Paljas Paljassie - 2014-02-19 17:33

    I just hope that all you people condemming this man for his sexual orientation, don't have children because it will backfire dearly on you when they are gay. Easy to grab the Bible, whilst your comments are already a sin in the eyes of God. Please read the 10 Commandments pharisee!

      Francois Marx - 2014-02-19 17:54

      No we wont

      Emile van Rensburg - 2014-02-19 18:10

      Be gay in your own space? What does that mean? That gay people must only "be gay" in their houses? Gay people don't fight for having gay sex, that's sumtin for the bedroom. They fight for equal rights. I mean they were only allowed to get married in 2006 (12 years after apartheid ended) so its clear they have to fight for what the straight citizens get for mahala. I believe the parades are a sort of celebration for being different. For years they had to hide their sexuality for fear of bein arrested, now they celebrate their freedom. It happens once a year so it doesn't bother me...why does it bother you?

      Grant Montgomery - 2014-02-19 18:46

      I agree it's irritating being bombarded with all the publicity about gays/lesbians. I just ignore it.

  • Neal McKenna - 2014-02-19 18:38

    Let's not debate the obvious. Let's take some action. What can we, as a group, do to prevent Home Affairs from deporting this man? I put the question out there. Any ideas?

      Francois Marx - 2014-02-19 18:41

      Um, deport him, asap?

  • Charles Komane - 2014-02-19 18:38

    I agree with Museveni, maan to maan is so unjust.

  • Tarquin Biscuitbarrel - 2014-02-19 18:56

    I like gay people. Jesus on the other hand loves them.

  • Grant Montgomery - 2014-02-19 19:04

    According to the report Dr Semugoma is being detained by immigration in defiance of a court order. This alone should sound alarm bells. I wonder how many court orders the government has defied. Add to this the fact that his two applications for residence went missing and the whole episode stinks. Why is the man being detained, he entered SA on a legal document? Furthermore, surely sending him back to Uganda goes against international human rights conventions.

  • Maluxion Nketle - 2014-02-19 19:12

    Let's the law take uits coarse,if this man deserves to be deported let it be.We are battling with the number of gays already who are all over here

      Tarquin Biscuitbarrel - 2014-02-19 19:13

      Yes I bet they're a real problem for you. Being nice and loving and everything. How do you deal with it Maluxion? How? It must be really, really hard.

  • Gareth Coats - 2014-02-20 11:02

    Gee, for so many Anti-Gays, you all spend a lot of time reading and commenting on 'gay' articles. Closeted much? Chops.

  • Absalom Mazibuko - 2014-02-20 15:27

    The Ugandan gay rights activist must go home. If he believes in his gay activism let him practice it at home and take whatever eventuality. We can's house all gays that have problems in their countries,I can hardly be proud of my country glorifying homosexualism by putting it on a pedestal of vitue, when it is an obnoxious aberration.

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