Canada has refused to grant entry to ten Ugandan LGBT activists invited to speak at WorldPride Human Rights Conference in Toronto next month.

The activists, who work to help the Ugandan gay community, were invited to the June conference, but all have been denied entry by the Canadian government, over fears they would claim asylum.

As the activists were denied visas, the only representative allowed to attend from Uganda – which in December introduced a harsh anti-gay law – will be keynote speaker Frank Mugisha.

Andrea Houston of ENDhatelaws told the Toronto Star: “We are shocked and appalled. These individuals from Uganda are some of the most courageous heroes.

“They are here to share their stories and have every intention to go home after the conference, because they all have work to do in Uganda. The assumption is they are here to claim asylum.”

Brenda Cossmam the co-chair of the Conference, said: “The conference is a global conversation of LGBTQ human rights.

“It is really important for the Ugandans to be here, so we can hear from them of what’s happening on the ground in Uganda. We are at risk of losing their voices.”

Toronto MP Craig Scott told the newspaper he was working with the Immigration Minister to try and re-start the application process for the group.