News / Africa

Uganda Anti-Gays Bill Stirs Calls for Sanctions

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to sign a bill punishing homosexuals with 14 years to life in prison. He is shown at the 2012 summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Nairobi.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to sign a bill punishing homosexuals with 14 years to life in prison. He is shown at the 2012 summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Nairobi.
James Butty
The leader of Uganda’s newly formed political organization -- the Freedom and Unity Front  – said it is time for the United States to impose sanctions on the government of President Yoweri Museveni.  

Professor Amii Omara-Otunu said President Obama should also remove Uganda from the list of countries invited to an August White House summit with African leaders. Omara-Otunu is a Uganda scholar and associate professor of human rights at the University of Connecticut.

President Obama's remarks come after President Museveni said he is ready to sign into law an anti-homosexuality bill passed by parliament last December because there is “no scientific proof yet that people are homosexuals by genetics.” 

President Museveni said he was ready for “battle” with “outside groups” sympathetic to homosexuals.  

Obama Sunday said he was "deeply disappointed" Uganda is about to enact the legislation. In a statement, Obama said Uganda's anti-homosexuality law would be a "step backward” and reflects poorly on the country’s "commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.

Amara-Otunu said President Museveni should focus on meeting the basic needs of Ugandans and not exclude others because of their sexuality.

“I think President Obama should be more than disappointed. This is the time when the United States should really apply sanctions against Uganda, particularly because, in Uganda at the moment, there are lots of people dying without medication, lots of people going without proper schooling. And, we should be focusing our attention on the most vital issues that affect the welfare of the Ugandan people,” he said.

Uganda is one of 47 countries invited by Obama to a US-Africa summit in August in a bid to strengthen trade and investment ties with the continent.  

Gambian-born Sulayman Nyang, senior professor and former chair of the African Studies Department at Howard University in Washington, said Obama must insist that those African leaders being invited demonstrate accountability to their citizens in terms of protecting human rights and fighting corruption.

Omara-Otunu said President Museveni should be removed from the list of invited African leaders because of his human rights record.

“I think this will betray the fundamental values of the United States to invite someone who has, throughout his presidency, exported conflict all over the Great Lakes Region of Africa and now has actually enacted this bill, which actually persecutes a particular group of people who may be engaged in an act not of their choice.  

"By inviting him here it only sends a signal that whatever we say we don’t mean to say,” Omara-Otunu said.

President Museveni, who last month said he was against the anti-gay bill, said last week he would sign it because there is “no scientific proof yet that people are homosexuals by genetics.”

The Ugandan leader also said he was ready for “battle” with “outside groups” sympathetic to homosexuals.

Omara-Otunu said Museveni and parliament should not be denying other Ugandans their rights to do what they want to do, especially when they do not harm other people.

It’s estimated that 39 out of 54 African countries have passed, or are in the process enacting anti-gay laws and, in most countries, the popular sentiment is also not favorable.

Omara-Otunu said African leaders must take the lead in educating their citizens that people should not be penalized or made into criminals because of their sexual orientation.

“Most Africans do not like homosexual behavior in Africa.  But, our leaders should lead by example, should tell people that in fact people should not be penalized merely because they happen to belong to a particular category of people,” he said.

He said, years ago people in Africa used to be against people with polio and leprosy. "But African leaders should have taken the lead in educating their citizens that prejudice of any kind is unacceptable,” Omara-Otunu said.
Butty interview with Otunu
Butty interview with Otunui
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: le véritablecongolais from: UK
February 19, 2014 10:34 PM
US shouldn't use its power to force Africans to change theirs cultures, not by any means .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More