On 2nd June, International Sex Workers Day, AGAP (LGBT Rwanda) was forcibly removed from its office which it has shared with a church in Gisenyi, Rwanda, since 2013. AGAP reports that on Sunday afternoon, a group of around 20 people attacked the group in their office, throwing stones and shouting that LGBT sex workers must leave the neighbourhood ‘in the name of the gospel’. The group destroyed equipment and other belongings in the office, including equipment for HIV testing. AGAP is now without premises in Gisenyi, and is concerned as LGBT people and sex workers no longer have access to local services, including HIV services and a sex worker clinic, following the destruction of their equipment.
AGAP has also reported that the pastor of the church was instructed to evict the group by members of the congregation of the Adventist Church, who mocked the Church for sharing a space with AGAP, and that he supported the group’s decision to forcibly remove them from the space. AGAP has called on the local legal authorities to take action as the eviction breaks the law.
Members of AGAP (LGBT Rwanda) held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday, where they discussed an urgent plan of action for their services. The group discussed how they may be able to relocate to a secure local space where they can resume their services, and are seeking assistance from local, national and international partners for the relocation of their office and services, and the sustainable restoration of their activities. For more information or to provide support please contact Ombeni Murururkumwa, the Executive Director of AGAP.
Read more in the full press release from AGAP (in French).