Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Law prompts new U.S. responses, including entry restrictions and police program aid suspension

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*** Breaking News ***

A White House blog post and National Security Council  statement  today announced additional responses from the White House to Uganda’s enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, legislation that led to police action and suspension of work at a U.S.-funded HIV program there. The response comes on the heels of a report from the Uganda New Vision that President Obama had invited Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who signed the bill into law, to the White House for an American-African Summit set for this August.

Pointing to the Obama administration’s stated commitments to promoting human rights abroad and citing concern with human rights abuses stemming from the law and police misconduct in the wake of the law, steps announced by the White House include:

  • The State Department will restrict entry into the United States of “specific Ugandan individuals involved in serious violations or abuses of human rights, including those determined to have committed such violations against LGBT individuals.” Citing confidentiality requirements, the announcement did not identify who would be “watchlisted,” but added that Ugandans “found responsible for significant public corruption” also will be restricted from entry.
  • Discontinuing a $2.4 million program  supporting Uganda Police Force community policing;
  • Moving a planned public health institute, that had been slated for $3 million in U.S. funding, as well as a planned National Institutes of Health meeting from Uganda;
  • Cancelling a planned military aviation exercise.

Today’s announcement adds to steps announced in March in response to the law, which included redirecting U.S. funding away from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, shifting some military and intelligence engagements from Uganda to other locations in Africa; and suspending visas for some Ugandan military and police officials. – and follows a thorough review by the Administration of U.S. assistance to Uganda.

At the same time it comes with repeated assurances that PEPFAR’s support for lifesaving HIV/AIDS services in Uganda will continue uninterrupted.

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