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 We believe this legislation is inappropriate, should be withdrawn and is not the kind of legislation that we wish to see in Uganda and for that matter any other place," he said.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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs