“This announcement sends a clear message that the United States will not tolerate foreign governments engaging in state-sponsored acts of homophobia and transphobia against their own people,” said Ty Cobb, HRC’s Director of Global Engagement. “We must put all world leaders on notice that such efforts have no place in the 21st century, and there will be severe consequences for engaging in them. This creates an important precedent for leaders and governments considering implementing similar laws. It is important that the Administration continues to review our diplomatic relationship with Uganda, as well as with other nations such as Nigeria and Brunei, which have also taken disturbing steps backwards.”
Following Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signing into law the “Anti-Homosexuality Act” in February, the Obama administration initiated an interagency review of the United States’ relationship and engagement with Uganda. Earlier this month, HRC President Chad Griffin sent a letter to President Obama urging him to take action.
“The world is waiting for action, and on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign’s 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide, I ask that you direct your Administration to begin taking immediate steps to hold the Ugandan government accountable,” said Griffin in the letter. The full text of the letter is available here.
Recent reports from advocates in the country have outlined deeply disturbing increases in harassment, property loss, arrests, and violence against LGBT Ugandans since the nation’s parliament passed the legislation and sent it to Museveni’s desk for his approval.
In December 2011, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum in which he directed “all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.” In addition, the memorandum outlines that our nation’s “deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”