Two directors of Resilience of Youth Echo a Wakiso-based pro-LGBQI+ organization still in hiding following a gruesome May 26 attack, when an angry mob accompanied with men dressed in security clothing raided their shelter.
The two directors identified as Musa and Evelyn are on the run after what they called a tragedy that befell them.
The raid took place on 26 May 2023 at night when the victims were having a party at the shelter.
This is the same date when the president assented to the draconian Anti-homosexuality Act, 2023, which criminalizes same-sex with 20 years imprisonment punishment for those convicted of engaging in homosexuality and the death penalty for those with aggravated homosexuality.
Situated in Busukuuma, Wakiso, Uganda, Youth Echo, according to the statement was reportedly been among the few safe havens for those seeking shelter, understanding, and acceptance.
The mob also destroyed a banana plantation of the organization which was the source of food leaving all plantations down.
The building of the house of the organization’s shelter was also set ablaze, according to photos seen by this website.
“The incident not only disrupted the lives of the LGBTQI+ individuals who sought refuge there but also forced the organization’s directors, Musa and Evelyn, to go into hiding,” the organization said in a statement.
This development come at a time when Uganda’s biggest funding partner World Bank halted its funding, citing the negative implication of the draconian law.
“Despite this turmoil, the resilience of Youth Echo shines through, as rumors suggest that the directors are already considering rebuilding their vital haven, even in the face of potential legal repercussions,” they added.
“However, recent events have shed light on the challenges this organization faces, as it strives to protect its clients and its mission,” it added.
Musa and Evelyn’s commitment to supporting the LGBTQI+ community, even at great personal risk, underscores the importance of organizations like Youth Echo.
“The defiance of the directors sends a powerful message: the fight for equality and justice is far from over. It also emphasizes the need for international attention and support to ensure that the voices of those who cannot freely express their identity are heard,” the statement adds
“By providing a safe space, resources, and a sense of belonging, such organizations empower individuals who have long been marginalized due to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” it further explains.
The raid, they said not only highlights the obstacles that LGBTQI+ communities face in some parts of the world but also the courage of those who are determined to create positive change.
“In the midst of uncertainty, the persistence of Youth Echo serves as a reminder that progress is not linear. Even as Musa and Evelyn remain at large, their determination to continue their work signifies the unyielding spirit of advocacy,”
The incident has illuminated the challenges faced by LGBTQI+ individuals in Uganda and around the world, underscoring the vital role of organizations like Youth Echo in fostering a more inclusive society.
“Their perseverance serves as an inspiration to stand up against adversity and to champion a world where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live without fear or discrimination,”