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Uganda government banning organizations for 'promoting' gay rights

The government of Uganda [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] announced on Wednesday that it will ban at least 38 non-governmental organizations that are accused of promoting gay rights and recruiting children to homosexuality. Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo alleged that those organizations are receiving international support in their conversion of children into homosexuality, which is criminalized in the country. He ordered the police [EHAHRDP report] on Monday to break up a meeting organized by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) [advocacy website] in Kampala that was specifically for the gay community in the region. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy website] has condemned [press release] the Ugandan government for violating "fundamental rights to speech, assembly and association, as well as to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention." Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] echoed [AI report] the CCR by calling Monday's police raids illegal.

Uganda and many other African countries have legislation in place that criminalizes homosexuality. International human rights groups have constantly called on the Ugandan government to this practice. In March the CCR filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; case website] on behalf of the Ugandan rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) [advocacy website] against Scott Lively, a US pastor with Abiding Truth Ministries [advocacy website], for enabling the anti-gay movement in Uganda in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website]. A month earlier, AI condemned [JURIST report] the shut down of an LGBT workshop by advocacy group Freedom and Roam, declaring it illegal and trying to arrest the leader. During the same month, Uganda had reintroduced [JURIST report] legislation that would make certain homosexual activities punishable by death.

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