World News

Ugandan Newspaper Lists 'Top Homosexuals'

An Ugandan newspaper has published a list of what it calls the country's top homosexuals, a day after the president signed a new anti-gay bill into law.

The Red Pepper tabloid published the list of 200 names and several photos under a large headline that read: "Exposed!"

Ugandan gays have expressed worry about being arrested under the new law, which strengthened existing penalties for gay sex and bans the so-called "promotion" of homosexuality.

The United States on Monday urged Uganda to repeal the law, which the White House called an affront and danger to Ugandan gays that will also hamper the fight against AIDS.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. is reviewing its relationship with Uganda as a consequence of the new law.



"Now that the law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values."



President Museveni defended the bill at Monday's signing ceremony, saying groups are trying to recruit young Ugandans into a gay lifestyle.



"No study has shown that you can be homosexual purely by nature. Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends. That is why I have agreed to sign the bill."





United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "seriously concerned" about the negative impacts of the law.



"He shares the view of the high commissioner for human rights that this new law violates human rights. It will institutionalize discrimination, restrict the vital work of human rights activists, and could trigger violence. It will also hamper potentially life-saving efforts to stop the spread of HIV."



Mr. Museveni has the backing of conservative Ugandan groups. Last week, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council praised the president as "courageous" for defying Western pressure over the bill and, in the council's words, putting morality first.

The country's parliament passed the measure in December, with a 14-year sentence for first-time offenders, and life in prison for those convicted of what the law terms "aggravated homosexuality."

The original bill called for the death penalty in some cases, but that was dropped as Western nations and rights groups denounced the bill.

Amnesty International denounced the new law as "deeply offensive," and said it makes a mockery of rights enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.

Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African nations and a taboo subject across many parts of the continent. Activists say few Africans are able to be openly gay.

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