Tuesday, February 25, 2014

International condemnation of Ugandan anti-gay law grows

By Brody Levesque | WASHINGTON -- Uganda's law imposing life sentences for homosexuality and same-sex marriage is attracting mounting international criticism as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded Tuesday that the  Ugandan government either revise or repeal the law. A U.N. spokesman, Martin Nesirky said that Ban cautioned that the law could fuel prejudice and encourage harassment against LGBT people, but he offered U.N. support "for constructive dialogue." 
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights warned the law was "formulated so broadly that it may lead to abuse of power and accusations against anyone."
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the law Monday warning, "Outsiders cannot dictate to us,” he continued. “This is our country. I advise friends from the West not to make this an issue, because if they make it an issue the more they will lose. If the West does not want to work with us because of homosexuals, then we have enough space to ourselves here."
Several Western governments have weighed in as they have evaluated their policies towards Uganda and its law which has been termed by LGBTQ activists as a "draconian measure." White House press secretary Jay Carney called the law “abhorrent.” Carney said the country “took a step backward” with the law and urged its repeal. Carney added that the White House is undergoing the review of its relationship. He declined to say what that could mean in terms of aid or other impacts while the review is underway.
A spokesperson for the government of The Netherlands confirmed that an ongoing aid subsidy to Uganda's legal system had been frozen Tuesday, telling LGBTQ Nation that the earmarked $9.6 million Euros subsidy should not be used to "enforce such an anti-human law and that we [the government of the Netherlands] would not be a party to assisting such laws." 
The governments of Denmark and Norway have also said they would redirect around $8.5m each in government aid towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations as a result of the Ugandan law reported Al Jazeera.
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality law increases sentences for attempted same-sex acts, also specifies life in prison sentences for crimes of “aggravated homosexuality” – sex acts with those that have HIV, with “repeat offenders” and with minors.
The bill also criminalizes “promoting” homosexuality, recommending seven years in prison to any individuals offering counseling or other services, (ie: any person who “keeps a house, room, set of rooms, or place of any kind for purposes of homosexuality”) to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Ugandans.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.