News

    US Says Anti-Gay Law Would Harm Uganda's Global Image

    State Department official talks with US gay and lesbian groups concerned with the legislation in Kampala

    US Says Anti-Gay Law Would Harm Uganda's Global Image
    US Says Anti-Gay Law Would Harm Uganda's Global Image

    The U.S. State Department's top Africa diplomat says approval by Uganda's parliament of a bill criminalizing homosexual activity would harm that country's world image and undercut the fight against HIV/AIDS. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson discussed the issue Friday with leaders of U.S. gay and lesbian groups concerned about the legislation pending in Kampala. 

    The Obama administration is stepping up its public efforts against what it describes as draconian legislation pending in the Ugandan parliament that would criminalize homosexual acts and make them, in some instances, punishable by death.

    Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson spoke to reporters after a meeting with about 25 leaders of U.S. gay and lesbian groups concerned about the legislation being considered by Ugandan legislators since October, and which has heavy support from conservative Muslim and Christian lawmakers there.

    Carson said he has spoken directly with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni twice about the pending bill, most recently early this month when the Ugandan leader transited the United States after attending the Commonwealth Summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

    The Assistant Secretary said he told Mr. Museveni, who has been prominent among African leaders in the battle against HIV/AIDS, that such legislation would undercut progress against that epidemic and undermine Uganda's global image. "We believe that this legislation is a violation of human rights, that it will undermine the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda, that it will stigmatize a community, and that ultimately it will harm and damage Uganda's human rights image and record. We believe this legislation is inappropriate, should be withdrawn and is not the kind of legislation that we wish to see in Uganda and for that matter any other place," he said.

    Carson said President Museveni, in contacts with U.S. officials, has distanced himself and his party from the legislation, and said he is concerned about its contents and implications.

    He noted that Mr. Museveni is empowered to veto legislation from parliament and said the United States is urging him to let his principles guide him and do everything he can to see it that it does not become law.

    Carson also said the United States has not threatened Uganda with aid cuts or other punitive steps despite its concern about the issue. "We're not making any threats at this point. We think that it is in Uganda's interest to do the right thing on this legislation. President Museveni and his foreign minister know our concerns about it. We hope that they will exercise leadership in insuring that this legislation is not passed," he said.

    The pending legislation in Uganda would toughen an existing and largely un-enforced law barring sex between people of the same gender. Homosexual sex with minors, or while infected with HIV, would draw the death penalty.

    Supporters of the measure in Uganda have dismissed outside criticism as a new form of colonialism.

    Raising its profile on the issue, the White House issued a statement opposing the draft law last week and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized it in a Washington speech on administration human rights policy on Monday.
     

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.