News / Africa

    Uganda Says US Gay Penalties are 'Blackmail'

    FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni
    FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni
    VOA News
    A Ugandan government spokesman has accused the United States of "blackmail" after President Barack Obama's administration cut funding to Uganda and canceled a regional military exercise in response to a new law criminalizing homosexuality.
     
    Ofwono Opondo told VOA that as a sovereign country, Uganda would continue to make decisions in its best interest.
     
    Opondo said his government rejects the U.S. decision as blackmail.
     
    "We think it is simply a blackmail. We have said it before, homosexuality is not a fundamental human right. In our own constitution, it is not guaranteed as a fundamental right," said Opondo.
     
    On Thursday, the U.S. announced it had canceled plans for a U.S.-sponsored military exercise that was going to be held in Uganda. The Obama administration also cut funding to the country and barred Ugandans believed to be involved in human rights abuses from entering the United States.
     
    U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Uganda's legislation ran "counter to universal human rights."
     
    In February, President Yoweri Museveni signed the measure that criminalizes homosexuality with punishments of up to life in prison. The legislation drew widespread international condemnation.
     
    Opondo was asked if he believed U.S. opposition would jeopardize President Museveni's chances of being invited to a White House summit with African leaders in August.
     
    "The United States government should use that summit to engage with the president of Uganda through diplomatic channels rather than blackmail. Preventing him from attending the summit, that would not in any way cancel the validity of the law passed by Uganda. So, we think that continuous engagement is much better than blackmail,” said Opondo.
     
    Opondo also said the U.S. did not formally notify Uganda when it announced the new penalties on Thursday. He said the Ugandan government found out about the U.S. decision through media reports.
     
    Homosexuality is a crime in 38 African countries.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tony from: USA
    June 20, 2014 11:15 PM
    It is unfair and hypocritical to cut aid and assistance to Uganda when nothing is done to Saudi Arabia which has even tougher law against gays than it is in Uganda. Gays are killed in Saudi Arabia but the United States continues to send billions in assistance each year. Why pick on Africans when nothing is done to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia?

    by: Helen G Thomas
    June 20, 2014 9:05 PM
    Continue to stand, Uganda. America is no longer the standard of power it used to be.

    by: Curtboogie from: Ny
    June 20, 2014 3:46 PM
    Its funny to see Obama huff and puff and try to blow Uganda down, but apparently, Uganda built their house with bricks, and Obama will soon get dizzy from all his blowing. Better to keep blowing on those straw huts in the U.S.

    by: Odongo Moses from: Kampala
    June 20, 2014 3:17 PM
    We are keeping M23 Rebels in Uganda, We are corrupmen, We are opposing UNICC against Kenya, We Opposed NATO operations in Lybia.

    by: Robert Jackson
    June 20, 2014 9:12 AM
    The Ugandan government, they're a bunch of special people, weak minded and ignorant.

    by: socal1200r from: usa
    June 20, 2014 8:22 AM
    Just another example of the U.S. trying to impose it's twisted set of values on other countries. Good to see these other countries standing up to the LGBT mafia, keep it up!

    by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
    June 20, 2014 8:10 AM
    Homofascism: A way of organizing a society in which homosexualists impose their agenda with which no one is allowed to disagree or have any appeal to the contrary without being subjected to severe consequences of ridicule, slander, libel, fines, public demonstrations, distortions, denial of free speech rights, loss of employment and having the word “hate” attached to you in some form.

    by: Henry Mkalira from: Lilongwe, Malawi
    June 20, 2014 6:53 AM
    If US and other superpowers are fighting for Gay's right why are they not fighting for the poor people from Uganda and some African countries by allowing them to enter their countries. Abandon immigration laws and stop issuing VISAs.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora