Uganda: US Sanctions Over Anti-Gay Law Will Hurt ’Most Vulnerable’
Uganda officials said Monday that the U.S. sanctions placed on the African country over strict anti-gay laws would hurt the "most vulnerable" the AFP reports.
The U.S. last week placed bans on Uganda officials who are involved in corruption and are violating LGBT rights, the Associated Press reports. The AFP notes aid programs, and military air exercises were canceled.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law in February that calls for "repeat homosexuals" to be sentenced to prison for life. The measure also bans the promotion of homosexuality and orders Ugandans to report LGBT people to the police.
"Uganda considers this announcement by the US regrettable as some of the halted funding and programs in Uganda are those that will affect the most vulnerable people that the US government purports to support and aims to protect," the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.
Secretary of State John Kerry has even compared the anti-gay law to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany and the White House said the measure "runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship".
Uganda’s foreign ministry said relations would not be damaged, however.
"There are more areas of cooperation between the Uganda and the US, as the two countries continue to share a lot in common on both regional and international issues," the statement read.
According to LGBT rights groups, the law has increased arrests and violence among the country’s LGBT community. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a joint statement last month that the LGBT community faced a "surge in human rights violations" with people being arrested and discriminated against.