20 June 2014

Uganda: U.S. Impose Visa Restrictions,Cut Military Aid to Uganda Over Tough Anti-Gay Law

The United States of America has imposed a visa restrictions on Uganda and cancelled a regional military exercise as one of the first official sanctions against the country's Anti-Gay Bill signed into law in February this year.

The White House in a statement said that the sanctions are measures intended to reinforce their support for the human rights of all Ugandans regardless of their sexual orientation.

The Anti-gay law previously dubbed the "Kill the Gays Bill" owing to the proposed death sentence for those found to be in contravention, set a 14-year jail term for first time offenders while those guilty of "aggravated homosexuality" will serve a life sentence.

The signing of the bill into law came against the backdrop of an appeal by US President Barack Obama urging Museveni not to sign the bill into law, saying that it will "complicate the East African country's relations with Washington."

After Museveni assented the bill into law western donors halted or redirected about Sh10.2 billion in aid to Uganda before the announcement from White House. A Ugandan government official said the measures would not alter its decision to toughen laws against homosexuals.

"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 said.

In signing the bill into law, Museveni said the legislation was meant to send a message to the Western nations of the independence of Uganda.

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