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Home / Press Release / United States Sanctions Uganda in Response to Anti-Homosexuality Act
March 24, 2014

United States Sanctions Uganda in Response to Anti-Homosexuality Act

Washington DC – Human Rights First today applauded the Obama Administration’s concrete steps to respond to Uganda’s discriminatory Anti-Homosexuality Act that was recently signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. In response to the law, which violates the human rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Ugandans, the administration announced that the United States will redirect U.S. funded programs in Uganda and will review all U.S. funding in the region to determine additional steps to protect LGBT Ugandans from violence and discrimination.

The administration’s immediate actions will include shifting more than six million dollars of funding away from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, an organization that has publicly supported Uganda’s anti-gay law. Additionally, the United States will redirect funding intended for tourism programs, move Department of Defense events scheduled to take place in Uganda to other locations, and suspend a U.S. funded study on HIV/AIDS that would put staff and survey respondents at risk for violence and prosecution.

“This announcement demonstrates the Obama Administration’s serious concern for Uganda’s LGBT community, as well as the administration’s commitment to standing with those who are fighting against discrimination and working to create a safer environment for all people,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We encourage the administration to take similar steps to review U.S. funded programs and initiatives in other nations where discriminatory laws are in place or under consideration, including Nigeria, where President Goodluck Jonathan recently enacted an Anti-Homosexuality law that threatens the human rights of all Nigerians.”

Uganda remains a key U.S. ally and partner in the ongoing military operation to find warlord Joseph Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army is responsible for the murder, rape and kidnapping of thousands of Africans. The administration’s response to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act coincides with news of increased U.S. support for the effort to apprehend Kony. Human Rights First applauds the Obama Administration’s efforts to continue to take the protection of Uganda’s LGBT community seriously during this time.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act was enacted in February 2014. It calls for life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality,” and includes a provision which makes conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony punishable by seven years in prison. Human Rights First urges the United States to continue to demonstrate leadership on global LGBT rights by working to stop passage of further discriminatory laws and promote the protection of LGBT rights as human rights worldwide.

For more information or to speak with Gaylord, contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at 212-845-5269 or margolisme@humanrightsfirst.org.