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June 17, 2024

Ugandan Activists Call for International Sanctions in Response to Anti-LGBTQ Law – GOSSIP A

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Ugandan Activists Call for International Sanctions in Response to Anti-LGBTQ Law

President Yoweri Museveni signed one of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws, prompting Ugandan activists to call on international donors to impose sanctions on human rights violators.

The veteran leader disregarded warnings that approving the widely criticized anti-homosexuality bill would strain relations between Kampala and key foreign partners and aid donors, including the United States.

The new law prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” in certain circumstances, even though Uganda has not carried out the death penalty for several years.

The action has prompted diplomatic and financial backers of Uganda to call for a robust response.

Monday night, a coalition of Ugandan activist groups issued a statement urging the United States and the European Union to move forward with sanctions against Ugandans responsible for human rights violations.

They warned that the “dangerous and discriminatory” law would further restrict civil society’s freedoms under Museveni, whose rule has become more autocratic since he assumed power in 1986.

Clare Byarugaba from Chapter Four Uganda, one of the groups calling for sanctions, stated, “Creating new crimes like these is a well-known way to engineer a legal basis for incarcerating those with divergent views.”

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She stated that the law would discourage members of the LQBTQ community from seeking HIV treatment and would “devastate the fight” against the disease in Uganda.

Antonio Guterres, the head of the United Nations, stated on Tuesday that he was “very concerned” about the new law, stating that “no one should be punished, jailed, or criminalized for who they love.”

“The secretary-general has been very clear and continues to call on all member states to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Stephane Dujarric, Guterres’s spokesman, told reporters, implying that some UN work in Uganda could be suspended due to the law.

Undermine relationships

Since the bill’s introduction in March, Ugandan lawmakers have stood firm against Western criticism, even if it meant a reduction in foreign aid or other repercussions.

Monday, US President Joe Biden called the bill “a tragic violation of universal human rights” and threatened to cut aid and investment if it was not repealed.

Biden stated that he had requested that the National Security Council evaluate the law’s impact on “all aspects of US engagement with Uganda,” including AIDS relief services and other assistance and investments.

ALSO READ: Biden Announces US Contemplating Sanctions Against Uganda Following Enactment of Anti-Gay Legislation

He stated that the administration would also consider imposing sanctions against Uganda and restricting the entry of Ugandans involved in human rights violations or corruption into the United States.

Josep Borrell, the head of EU foreign policy, stated that the Ugandan government was obligated to uphold the rights of all its citizens and that failure to do so “will damage relationships with international partners.”

Donors reduced aid to Uganda in 2014 as a result of Museveni’s approval of a bill seeking to impose life imprisonment for homosexual relations, which was later repealed.

The Netherlands froze a seven-million-euro subsidy to Uganda’s legal system, while Denmark and Norway redirected approximately six million euros to private-sector initiatives, aid agencies, and rights organizations, respectively.

In response to this bill, the United States suspended aid and trading privileges.

Though criticized abroad, the most recent anti-gay legislation received widespread support in the conservative nation, where legislators defended the measures as a necessary barrier against Western immorality.

Colonial laws criminalized homosexuality in Uganda, but there has never been a conviction for consensual same-sex activity since 1962 when Uganda gained independence from Britain.

Ugandan Activists Call for International Sanctions in Response to Anti-LGBTQ Law


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