President Barack Obama
The US has announced a number of measures against Uganda over its oppressive anti-gay law, which was signed by President Museveni earlier this year.
On Thursday, the Obama administration said that it would restrict entry to the US to Ugandans involved in human rights abuses, would cut or redirect aid and would cancel a military aviation exercise.
The administration did not disclose which individuals or government officials would be including in the visa restrictions, and it’s unclear if President Museveni will be among those affected.
The White House cited the April 3 police raid on a US-funded public health program at Makerere University, as well as reports of individuals detained and abused while in police custody as reasons for discontinuing $2.4 million in financial support for the Uganda Police Force community-policing program.
A portion of funding intended for Uganda’s Ministry of Health head office will now instead be given to health-related NGOs, and $3 million that was set for a planned public health institute will be redirected to another African country.
The cancelled aviation exercise with other East African partners, sponsored by the US, was set to take place in Uganda. It is unclear if this will be rescheduled elsewhere.
“Our hopes for a more peaceful and just world depend on respect for the rights and dignity of all people. It is for this reason that our foreign policy champions human rights and opposes violence and discrimination that targets people because of who they are and whom they love,” said the White House in a statement.
“As President Obama made clear in February, the enactment of the AHA (Anti-Homosexuality Act) is more than an affront to the LGBT community in Uganda — it calls into question the Government of Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all its people, and complicates our bilateral relationship,” it added.
The Ugandan government responded defiantly to the news, insisting that the US moves will not affect its support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
“Uganda is a sovereign country and can never bow to anybody or be blackmailed by anybody on a decision it took in its interests, even if it involves threats to cut off all financial assistance,” government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Reuters.