News / Africa

Obama Condemns Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda

Anti-gay demonstration in Uganda
Anti-gay demonstration in Uganda

U.S. President Barack Obama has sharply criticized an anti-gay bill in Uganda that would impose the death penalty in some cases. Other western governments and gay rights activists also have criticized the legislation. Supporters accuse the U.S. and other western nations of interfering in Uganda's internal affairs.  VOA's Robert Raffaele has more.  

The Ugandan measure calls for the death penalty or life imprisonment for HIV-positive homosexuals who have sex with minors.

Earlier this  week, at the U.S. Congress, some 200 lawmakers introduced a resolution condemning the bill.

U.S. President Barack Obama criticized the Ugandan measure while speaking at a prayer breakfast Thursday in Washington.  "We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed, most recently in Uganda," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she recently called Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, expressing the "strongest concerns" about the proposal.

Mr.  Museveni is now calling the bill a 'foreign policy' issue.  He's urged lawmakers to craft a measure that, in his words, 'does not compromise our principles' and takes into account Uganda's foreign policy interests.  "The Prime Minister of Canada came to see me and what was he talking about?  Gays.  Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to see me and what was he talking about? Gays," he said.

The bill's author, Ugandan politician David Bahati, has this response to nations threatening to withhold aid if his measure passes.  "We would rather stay with our values and you stay with your money," he said.  

Gay rights activists in Uganda say the measure has intensified anti-gay prejudice. Pepe Julia Onzeima says she has been harassed frequently. "I have been picked up off the street, detained for sometime, ridiculed, intimidated, some money taken away from my wallet, and then I am.. .you know, they release me, they tell me 'go,' " she said.

Anti-gay measures have emerged in some east African countries in recent months. Kenya and Tanzania already have anti-gay laws that gay rights activists fear could be expanded.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid