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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs