News / Africa

HRW: US Should Cut Security Aid to Uganda Over Anti-Gay Law

HRW: US Should Cut Security Aid to Uganda Over Anti-Gay Lawi
X
Scott Stearns
March 19, 2014 9:44 PM
Supporters of Uganda's new anti-gay law - which can lead to life in prison for homosexual activity - say Washington should stay out of the country's affairs
Human Rights Watch says the United States should cut back security assistance to Uganda in response to the country's new anti-gay laws. Several European countries have already suspended aid over tougher criminal penalties for homosexuality, but the Obama administration says it is still considering how best to respond.
 
Supporters of Uganda's new anti-gay law - which can lead to life in prison for homosexual activity - say Washington should stay out of the country's affairs.

"Somebody go tell Barack Obama: 'Africa says no.  Africa says no to sodomy," said Pastor Martin Ssempa. "We only know one way to love - a man marrying a woman.'"
 
Some in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community are leaving Uganda in fear.

The new law has far broader consequences for the country, says Human Rights Watch's Sarah Margon.
 
"We see the space for independent actors, activists, and civil society closing very quickly," she said.
 
The World Bank moved quickly to postpone a $90 million loan to Uganda.  But the Obama administration says it is still considering how it might respond so as not to hurt the Uganadan people.

"A lot of the aid that we provide goes to ensure services for things like lifesaving health and medication for HIV/AIDS, to bring justice to those responsible for atrocities, like the [rebel] LRA [Lord's Resistance Army]," said State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "So we want to make sure that actions we take don’t have a detrimental impact on the Ugandan people who need those health services."
 
Margon says it is time the U.S. linked human rights with Ugandan security assistance.

"There's been a lot of condemnatory statements.  The time has kind of passed for that," she said. "The U.S. needs to actually take some concrete actions.  One of the things we've been talking about is looking at U.S. assistance to the police and security forces, given that they are going to be the ones tasked with implementing the law."
 
Uganda remains defiant in the face of Western pressure over the anti-gay law.

"It is an attempted blackmail which the Western world has employed on the Africans for the last two centuries, and I think Uganda is leading the way to stand up to this blackmail," said government spokesman Ofwono Opondo.
 
President Yoweri Museveni says he will not be lectured on an issue that he says was "provoked by Western groups who come to [Ugandan] schools and try to recruit children into homosexuality."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Museveni has agreed to meet with U.S. officials on the issue.
 
"He committed to meet with some of our experts so that we could engage him in a dialogue, as to why what he did could not be based on any kind of science or fact, which was what he was alleging," he said. "And he welcomed that."
 
Kerry says Washington is taking an individual approach to the more than 80 countries that discriminate against the LGBT community, instructing U.S. diplomats to become "an advocate of facts" on gay rights.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid