News / Africa

Rights Group: US Should Pull Ambassador Over Uganda Anti-Gay Bill

Kenyan gays, lesbians and others supporting their cause, wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a protest against Uganda's increasingly tough stance against homosexuality, outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, Feb. 10, 2014.
Kenyan gays, lesbians and others supporting their cause, wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a protest against Uganda's increasingly tough stance against homosexuality, outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, Feb. 10, 2014.
— Human Rights Watch has called on the United States to recall its ambassador to Uganda if an anti-homosexuality bill is signed into law. The group says the U.S. should send a strong signal to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who vowed last week to sign the bill.  

“I don’t think the U.S. statement so far has been strong enough," said Leslie Lefkow, deputy director for Human Rights Watch's Africa Division. "While donors have voiced concerns, I’m not sure that that has actually translated into a really serious understanding in Uganda of the impact of the bill and what that will mean for relationships. We think that it’s very important that the U.S. and others send a very strong message that there will be consequences for signing this law.”

The bill, passed by the Ugandan parliament in December, could result in homosexuals being jailed for life. It also would outlaw “promotion” of homosexuality, as well as failure to report a gay person to the police.

There was no immediate response from the Obama administration to the HRW statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama said this week, however, that he was "deeply disappointed" in the Ugandan leader's plans to move forward with the anti-gay bill, adding it would complicate relations between Washington and Kampala.

"We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love," Obama said in a statement.

The Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity has described donor criticism of the bill as “blackmail”, saying aid should not be linked to the behavior of another country.

Lefkow argues that the law could directly impact donor-funded activities, though, making it harder for civil society and health care programs to operate. She said major donors like the United States have the responsibility to review these programs, clearly state what effect the new law would have, and assure that their money is not used to persecute people.

“We’re not calling for development aid to be cut, but we are calling for a review of the different ways that this law, if it’s signed, could impact on assistance in Uganda," she said. "For example, the U.S. provides a lot of assistance for health programing in Uganda, for HIV/AIDS programing, and the law could have very detrimental impacts on groups who are trying to work to improve health in Uganda.”

Ugandan human rights groups are preparing to challenge the bill in court if it is signed, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid