President Museveni tells CNN that gay people “are disgusting”. Watch below.
A wave of international condemnation has followed the enactment of Uganda’s new anti-homosexuality law, with at least two nations suspending financial aid to the country in protest.
On Monday, President Museveni defiantly signed the legislation into law. He later told CNN that gay people “are disgusting.”
“I never knew what they were doing I was told recently. It’s terrible. Disgusting,” he said before commenting on a dubious “scientific” report he commissioned on homosexuality. “But I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that (gay people have) been born abnormal but now the proof is not there.”
According to Reuters, Norway and Denmark have announced that they are withholding or diverting financial aid to Uganda over the oppressive law. Sweden has threatened to do the same, while Austria is also reviewing its support.
US Secretary of State John Kerry described the enactment of the law as “a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights.”
He went to say: “Now that this 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.”
William Hague, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, commented that he was “deeply saddened and disappointed” about the law and warned that it “will increase persecution and discrimination of Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda’s reputation internationally.”
While not addressing the issue of financial aid to the country, he said that “we will continue to press the Government of Uganda to defend human rights for all, without discrimination on any grounds.”
In South Africa, the government has remained disturbingly silent in the face of a growing wave of anti-gay sentiment on the continent.
Paul Semugoma, the Ugandan activist living in South Africa who recently narrowly avoided being deported back to Uganda, noted on Facebook that the new law allows for Uganda to request the extradition of gay Ugandans from other countries. “Just to be clear, Uganda can demand extradition of me to be prosecuted. Will South Africa, or the countries that I travel to implement this?” he asked.
The Anova Health Institute, which is behind the Health4Men project in South Africa, added its voice to the international condemnation, warning that the Ugandan law was “legitimising genocide” and represents “a dark and tragic event in Africa’s history.”
“We note that consensual human sexual behaviour cannot be controlled through legislation. Male to male sexual expression will continue in Uganda but it will simply become even more clandestine,” said the organisation. “Men who have sex with men (MSM) will be more afraid to seek appropriate sexual health care, and health workers will be justified in denying essential health services to MSM.”
Acclaimed Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, who recently came out as gay, told the Associated Press that the law would be used for political purposes: “By the time the next election happens, mysterious opposition figures are going to be arrested for being homosexual, can we bet? Cause all you need is a suspicion, isn’t it? They are never going to police it in an accurate way.”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, agreed, commenting that “the law is is formulated so broadly that it may lead to abuse of power and accusations against anyone, not just LGBT people.”
She added that the “disapproval of homosexuality by some can never justify violating the fundamental human rights of others” and noted that the “law violates a host of fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom from discrimination, to privacy, freedom of association, peaceful assembly, opinion and expression and equality before the law – all of which are enshrined in Uganda’s own constitution and in the international treaties it has ratified.”
Michelle Kagari, Africa deputy director at Amnesty International, said in a statement: “This deeply offensive piece of legislation is an affront to the human rights of all Ugandans and should never have got this far. This legislation will institutionalise hatred and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Its passage into law signals a very grave episode in the nation’s history.”