BBC News Africa
Uganda LGBT rights: Government shuts down key advocacy group
3 days ago
Official police data shows that 194 people were charged under the offence between 2017 and 2020, including 25 who went on to be convicted.

On Friday Ugandan officials announced they were halting Smug's operations because the campaign group, founded in 2004, had failed to register its name with the National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) properly.

In a statement the NGO Bureau acknowledged that Smug had attempted to register with authorities in 2012, but that the application had been rejected because Smug's full name was considered "undesirable."

Although there are no laws specifically criminalising being transgender in Uganda, trans people are regularly prosecuted for other offences including "personation" (false representation), according to reports compiled by rights organisations.

Since its establishment almost two decades ago, Smug has campaigned for the rights of LGBT people in Uganda by promoting access to health services and supporting members of the LGBT community to live openly.

It has also taken legal action to protect gay people from hostility, including in 2010 when it successfully petitioned a Ugandan judge to order a newspaper to stop publishing the names and photographs of gay Ugandan men under the headline "hang them".

The group said several of its members had been attacked or harassed as a result of the article - including one woman who was almost killed when her neighbours began throwing stones at her house.

At the time, Ugandan politicians were preparing to debate whether or not to introduce the death penalty for same-sex relationships - a legislative amendment that attracted widespread international condemnation before eventually being dropped.