On 22nd of November 2018, the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rev.Fr.Simon Lokodo, clamped down on the National HIV Prevention Symposium, and ordered the removal of key population rights leaders and activists from the programme, lest it is shut down. This is despite the fact that it was organised by the Uganda AIDS Commission, which is a government body with the mandate to implement the Presidential Fast Track Initiative (PFTI). The PFTI's action plan includes fast tracking attainment of the 90-90-90 target on HIV testing and treatment among men and young people; a demographic that includes a high number of most at risk populations.
This clamp down is a gross violation of the right to freedom of association, expression and speech, and the right to equality. It follows the halting of the Most at Risk Populations Conference that occurred in May.
The continued suppression of discourse on issues pertaining to key populations has a huge social and health cost implication for Uganda, and Min. Lokodo, the president and all key government stakeholders owe it to all Ugandans to minimise that cost.
Taking Human Rights to All