In a strong response to Uganda’s recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Bill, US President Joe Biden has issued a stern warning, threatening to slash aid amounting to nearly $1 billion per year. The controversial law, signed by President Yoweri Museveni, imposes severe penalties for promoting and engaging in same-sex relationships, including imprisonment and, in some cases, the death penalty.
The newly enacted law not only imposes up to 20 years in prison for promoting homosexuality but also introduces life imprisonment for individuals found guilty of engaging in same-sex relationships.
Shockingly, the law includes provisions for the death penalty for what it terms “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes sexual relations with vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children.
Furthermore, the law holds Ugandans accountable for not reporting cases of homosexuality, making them liable to spend five years in prison or pay a substantial fine. Journalists and media personnel also face severe consequences, including five years in prison, for disclosing the identity of victims of homosexual acts without proper court authorization.
President Biden strongly condemns Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, stating that it is a violation of universal human rights and does not reflect the values of the Ugandan people.
He joins voices from around the world, including those within Uganda, in calling for the immediate repeal of the law.
President Biden emphasizes that no individual should live in constant fear for their life or face violence and discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
Since the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, reports of violence and discrimination against LGBTQI+ Ugandans have surged. Many individuals now fear seeking medical care or face eviction from their homes and termination from their jobs.
The law presents a significant threat to the safety and freedom of countless Ugandans, subjecting them to lengthy prison sentences, violence, and abuse.
The enactment of this shameful law exacerbates an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda, posing a danger to all residents, including US government personnel, implementing partners, tourists, the business community, and others.
As a result, President Biden has directed his National Security Council to assess the implications of the law on all aspects of US engagement with Uganda, including the delivery of services under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other forms of assistance and investments.
Additionally, the Biden administration plans to consider the impacts of the law when reviewing Uganda’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The US is also contemplating further measures, such as the application of sanctions and restrictions on entry into the United States for individuals involved in severe human rights abuses or corruption.
The United States has long maintained a committed partnership with the people of Uganda, collaborating for over six decades to improve the lives of millions of Ugandans.
Their joint efforts have spurred economic growth, enhanced agricultural productivity, promoted investment in Ugandan businesses, and strengthened trade cooperation.
Annually, the US government invests close to $1 billion in various sectors in Uganda, underscoring the importance placed on this partnership and the faith in the Ugandan people to forge a better future.
President Biden expresses his sincere hope that progress can be continued and built upon together, emphasizing the need to bolster protections for human rights globally.