Ugandan LGBT rights group caught between a rock and a hard place

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03/28/2024

Last week, in another blow to freedoms of association and expression in Uganda, a Ugandan court rejected a petition brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a leading group advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, to compel the government to register the group’s name. The petition was rejected on the grounds that the organization’s name is against “public interest.” Without registration, SMUG, which was shut down in August 2022 for failing to register with the NGO Bureau, cannot operate legally. Today marks the first anniversary of the adoption of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), one of the harshest anti-LGBT laws in the world, signed by President Yoweri Museveni on March 21, 2023. The Supreme Court is currently examining petitions by human rights activists, journalists, academics, and religious leaders, who are challenging the repressive and controversial law. The attacks on LGBT rights have been part of a broader crackdown on civil society, including with respect to environmental rights activists.

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