Police reportedly surrounded the offices of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project in Kampala, the country’s capital. Onziema, a transgender Ugandan LGBT rights advocate, noted on Twitter that authorities raided the group’s research site for conducting “illegal homosexual research.”
The Makerere University Walter Reed Project did not immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment.
The organization notes on its website that it has conducted HIV research in the East African country since 1998. The group said it “expanded its portfolio to include prevention, care and treatment activities” in 2005 under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in February signed the so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law that imposes a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex acts.
The White House announced after Museveni signed the controversial measure that it had begun a review of its relationship with the Ugandan government.
The U.S. has suspended a study to identify groups at risk for HIV/AIDS the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had planned to conduct with a Ugandan university. A CDC agreement that fully or partially funded the salaries of 87 employees of the Ugandan Ministry of Health who support the country’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic expired on Feb. 28.
Uganda receives nearly $300 million each year through PEPFAR to fight the epidemic in the East African country. The Ugandan government in 2013 received more than $485 million in aid from the U.S.
Dickson Mujuni of the RPL AIDS Foundation told the Blade last month from Kampala the anti-gay law has forced his organization to “close shop.”
“The community is very scared, very worried,” he said. “They’re underground.”
Ofwono Opondo, a spokesperson for the Ugandan government, did not immediately return the Blade’s request for comment.
Museveni on Monday defended the anti-gay law during a “thanksgiving service” in Kampala.
“We have fundamental disagreements with the west on homosexuality,” said the Ugandan president. “Homosexuality is no sex.”
The Blade will provide more information on this story as it becomes available.