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LGBT group sues Ugandan government after being blocked from official registration

Joseph McCormick May 18, 2017
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A Ugandan LGBT+ rights group has filed a lawsuit against the country’s government after it was blocked from registering its name.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has been blocked by the Ugandan Registration Service from registering its own name as an organisation.

A statement from SMUG said it expects a decision from the Ugandan High Court by the end of the month.Uganda Pride

The group has struggled since 2012 to register itself with the official body.

Being able to register would mean the organisation could carry on its work due to various benefits.

A rejection letter was received by SMUG from the service explaining that its name was “undesirable and because homosexuals and same-sex relations are illegal in Uganda, the bureau cannot legitimise an illegality.”

“We decided to file a case in court purposely to advocate for the rights of association and assembly because an organisation in law is incapable of committing a criminal act,” Patricia Kimera, one of the lawyers on the activists’ side, told DW.com.

SMUG’s legal coordinator Daglous Mawadri told DW: “There are so many challenges of running an organisation that is not registered,” he told DW.

“One is the fact that you have to operate underground. For example, you cannot apply outright to donors, you cannot have funds, you cannot have spaces to operate. That means most of the things that you do have to be underground.”

Earlier this month, a staunch Ugandan LGBT rights activist was arrested in Kigali, Rwanda.

Under Uganda’s archaic penal code, “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment.

A harsher anti-gay law was signed into law in 2013, but it was later thrown out by the country’s Supreme Court on technical grounds.

Earlier this year, Pride events in Kampala were raided by police.

The country’s so-called Minister of State for Ethics & Integrity Simon Lokodo recently threatened to arrest anyone who celebrates LGBT rights in public.

In a shameless attempt to link the gay rights activists to paedophilia and prostitution, he claimed: “We are aware that there are inducements, including money, being offered to young people to promote the practice. “

The Embassy of The Netherlands in Uganda protested the “deplorable” censorship of a film over gay references.

Schools in Uganda have also been recently urged to offer students so-called ‘gay cure’ counselling.

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