Scottish Government: Scotland stands ready to accept Ugandans persecuted by anti-gay law

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Scotland’s Minister for External Affairs and International Development has told UK Foreign Secretary William Hague that Scotland will welcome Ugandans facing homophobic persecution.

Humza Yousaf was asked by fellow Scottish National Party MSP James Dornan to ensure that the UK Home Office offers asylum to Ugandans outed on Tuesday by the Ugandan Red Pepper newspaper.

Mr Dornan condemned President Yoweri Musevni the day before for signing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.

He said: “I believe that people in Scotland will be outraged at this legislation, and at the horrific reaction of a tabloid newspaper which seeks to promote lynch mob tactics against gay and lesbian people. I’m confident that Scotland will make it clear to the UK Home Office that we are ready and willing to welcome anyone who requires refuge from this nightmare.”

The Herald reports on Friday in his letter to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Mr Yousaf called on the UK “to offer asylum to any Ugandans who feels threatened or persecuted by the legislation”, adding that “Scotland will play her part in providing asylum for those seeking refuge from this draconian legislation”.

Mentioning how Scotland will be hosting this summer’s Commonwealth Games, Mr Yousaf said during the event “no one from any part of the Commonwealth who visits Scotland will be under any doubt about our values as a welcoming, open and tolerant society”.

Mr Yousaf continued: “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda is a huge step back for equality and I have written to the UK Government asking it to make the strongest possible representations to the Government of Uganda.

“I have also urged the UK Foreign Secretary to offer asylum to any Ugandans who suffer threat or persecution as a result of the legislation.

“Ugandan legislation flies in the face of Scotland’s values as a welcoming, open and tolerant society and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

In response to the letter, MSP James Dornan told “I welcome this move from the Scottish Government. It is now vital that Mr Hague acts fast to make sure that Ugandans who are living in fear know that we will provide protection and asylum, as I believe that people in Scotland would expect us to.”

The Foreign Office said it had not yet received Mr Yousaf’s correspondence. On Monday William Hague said he was “deeply saddened and disappointed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill” had been signed into law.

The World Bank on Friday postponed a £54m loan to Uganda in protest at the law.