US imposes sanctions against Uganda for anti-gay law

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The US has announced sanctions against Uganda, following the implementation of a law which further criminalises homosexuality.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill in February.The law calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and makes it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

US Secretary of State John Kerry in February announced that the country was reviewing its relations with Uganda, following President Yoweri Museveni’s decision to sign anti-gay legislation.

The US will now prevent Uganda officials who are involved with serious human rights abuses against LGBT individuals, from entering America, and will either stop or redirect money for initiatives involving the Uganda Police Force, Ministry of Health and National Public Health Institute, and has cancelled plans to hold a US Military sponsored aviation exercise in the country.

“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,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

“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.”

Politicians and campaigners around the world have strongly criticised President Museveni.

EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton described the move as “draconian”.

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was “an abhorrent backwards step for human rights”.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “deeply saddened and disappointed”. 

The Chair of the Kaleidoscope Trust, Dr Purna Sen, said it was a “terrible blow to the struggle for human rights in Uganda”.