Ugandan authorities have suspended the operations of SMUG - Sexual Minorities Uganda - the country's leading LGBTQ support organisation.
SMUG has been operating in Uganda since 2004. The reason given by the authorities for the suspension of SMUG's operations is that it has been deemed an illegal entity.
Head of SMUG, Frank Mugisha, has confirmed that authorities who oversee non-governmental organisations advised him to suspend activities, saying his group lacked needed documentation.
This latest move against SMUG reflects an increasing hostility towards LGBTQ people within Uganda.
Why is it illegal to be gay in Uganda?
The criminalisation of same-sex sexual activity is a hang-over from British colonial rule, however – following independence – that criminalisation was enshrined in Uganda’s penal code in 1950.
The maximum penalty for same-sex sexual activity is life imprisonment.
There are no protections against discrimination based on sexuality, and there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.
A 2005 amendment to the constitution strengthened the position against recognition of same-sex couples by explicitly prohibiting same-sex marriage.
What’s the history of homosexuality in Uganda?
Prior to colonial-era invasion and control, same-sex relationships were reported amongst the Bahima people, the Banyoro people, and the Baganda people.
King Mwanga II, the Baganda monarch, was widely reported to have engaged in sexual relations with his male subjects.x