Canada bans Ugandan activists from attending Pride event over asylum fears

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

Canada has refused to give 10 Ugandan activists visas for the Toronto World Pride human rights conference.

The activists were invited to attend the event but were denied visas due to concerns that they would seek asylum.

Canadian LGBT rights campaigners are furious at the decision.

Andrea Houston from #ENDhatelaws, said: “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.”

Only one Ugandan LGBT activist, Frank Mugisha has been granted a valid visa for the conference and is a keynote speaker.

Co-chair of the conference Brenda Cossman said: “The conference is a global conversation of LGBTQ human rights. It is really important for the Ugandans to be here.

“They are here not just to share their stories. We want to build a global movement as to how to be their effective allies.”

In October 2013, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird criticised the human rights record of Uganda and mentioned the 2011 murder of Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato.

In response, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, described Mr Baird as ignorant and arrogant.