The Council for Global Equality welcomes today’s White House announcement of new, concrete steps in our country’s bilateral relationship with Uganda in response to President Museveni’s decision to sign into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act earlier this year. These steps reaffirm the importance the U.S. attaches to a foreign policy that prioritizes respect for the human rights of all people, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – an important legacy of this Administration.
We take note in particular the announcement of new visa restrictions aimed at restricting entry to those deemed responsible for human rights abuses, including those enabled by this heinous law, and other corrupt practices. In taking this action, the Administration has placed responsibility where it should lie – with those individuals who have enacted the new law, not the broader Ugandan people. We urge that a speedy review of visa eligibility be the template for prospective U.S. responses whenever human rights are abridged, or corrupt practices undertaken, in any country.
The Administration’s new steps place appropriate emphasis on anti-LGBT police actions, our bilateral security relationship, and the broad areas in which the U.S. engages with Uganda on sound health policy. We urge a continued dialogue in each of these areas aimed at ensuring the effective use of U.S. taxpayer funding in each of these areas, and particularly to ensuring that the health needs of men who have sex with men continue to be met. We further urge that the Administration ensure that no organization charged with providing PEPFAR-funded services is allowed to take steps that deliberately undercut the effectiveness of those services, as was the case with actions taken by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda in supporting enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Finally, we note that Uganda is not the only government that has taken, in recent months, steps to further criminalize homosexual relations and relationships. We have been proud to applaud the Administration’s policy of standing for LGBT human and civil rights abroad. However, a global policy requires a globally consistent response, which to date has not been the case. We ask that the Administration review, in equal measure, how to respond to similar anti-democratic actions in Nigeria, Russia, and other countries where government officials have put LGBT people at increased risk of abuse.
For more information on the steps the White House is taking click here.
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Response to Uganda’s Enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act