The White House announced new steps against Uganda today in reaction to its ant-igay law, including blocking entry into the U.S. for certain officials and suspending joint military exercises.
The law signed in February by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni hands down a sentence of life in prison for many same-sex acts. Also receiving prison time under the bill are those who don’t report gays to the government or any organizations or individuals that support gay rights. Ugandans can also be sentenced for attempted homosexual acts or same-sex activity committed outside the country.
President Obama warned Museveni that signing the bill “will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.”
The State Department announced at the beginning of April that the U.S. suspended a healthcare clinic in Uganda after a government raid and arrest of one staffer under new anti-gay laws.
“As President Obama has stated, the Government of Uganda’s enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship. We announced in April a series of initial responses, and we have since considered how further to reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement today.
“Today, we are announcing several additional steps. Specifically, the Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals. In addition, the United States will take steps, consistent with current authorities, to prevent entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption,” Hayden continued. “We are also discontinuing or redirecting funds for certain additional programs involving the Ugandan Police Force, Ministry of Health, and National Public Health Institute, and cancelling plans to hold a U.S. military-sponsored aviation exercise in Uganda.”
She added that “none of these steps diminishes our commitment to providing development and humanitarian support for the Ugandan people, or our partnership with the Ugandan government to counter the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army and improve security in Africa.”
“We will seek to advance these interests even as we continue—in Uganda and around the world—to oppose discriminatory practices and champion human rights for all.”