The State Department announced that Secretary John Kerry spoke by phone yesterday to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and expressed “the United States’ deep disappointment in the Ugandan Government’s decision to enact the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.” As HRC and other international partners have warned, Secretary Kerry told President Museveni that this law would complicate the United States’s relationship with Uganda, the safety and health of LGBT Ugandans, and have a negative impact on tourism and foreign investment in Uganda. The law punishes first time “offenders” with 10 a year prison sentence, and 14 years for “aggravated homosexuality.”
These concerns were powerfully expressed today by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, whose organization confirmed that they have delayed a $90 million loan to Uganda while they evaluate whether the law will adversely affect the Bank’s development efforts. He said: “At the World Bank Group, we will have a full internal discussion over the coming months about discrimination more broadly and how it would affect our projects and our gay and lesbian staff members. My view is that the fight to eliminate all institutionalized discrimination is an urgent task.”
HRC’s Workplace Equality and Global Engagement programs are at the forefront of educating businesses and government leaders around the world that you will pay a high price for discriminatory practices. Whether viewed through a moral or economic lense, discrimination does not pay.
HRC applauds Secretary Kerry and World Bank President Kim for taking a stand on LGBT equality. But the work is far from done. HRC will continue to press business leaders, government officials, civil society partners, and the public to work together to ensure that equality for all becomes a reality.