June 12, 2014
HRC to Secretary Kerry: In Meeting Today, Hold Uganda Accountable
Renews calls for Obama Administration to announce new steps following months-long interagency review of U.S. relationship with Uganda
Washington –– The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today urged Secretary of State John Kerry to directly raise the United States’ vehement opposition to Uganda’s recent enactment of state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia in his meeting this afternoon with Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa.
In addition, following recent news that an Administration-ordered interagency review of the U.S. relationship with Uganda has produced recommendations for actions, HRC renewed its call to President Obama to begin taking immediate new steps to hold the Ugandan government accountable for the law.
“Today’s meeting is a unique opportunity for Secretary Kerry to demonstrate to Uganda and the world that when a government chooses to trample on the rights of its LGBT citizens, there will be consequences,” said Ty Cobb, HRC’s Director of Global Engagement. “How the United States responds to Uganda will set an important precedent for how other nations considering similar measures should expect to be treated. The United States should send a clear message that it does not tolerate such human rights abuses, and enacting such laws will considerably harm a country’s relationship with the U.S.”
Following Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law in February, the Administration initiated an interagency review of the United States’ relationship and engagement with Uganda. Last week, HRC President Chad Griffin sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to begin issuing immediate, concrete results that will demonstrate the United States’ commitment to protecting human rights in Uganda.
“The world is waiting for action, and on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign’s 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide, I ask that you direct your Administration to begin taking immediate steps to hold the Ugandan government accountable,” said Griffin in the letter, the full text of which is available here.
Recent reports from Ugandan advocates have outlined deeply disturbing increases in harassment, property loss, arrests, and violence against LGBT Ugandans since the nation’s parliament passed the legislation and sent it to Museveni’s desk for his approval.
In December 2011, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum in which he directed “all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.” In addition, the memorandum outlines that our nation’s “deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.” The Administration’s response to the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda will set an important precedent for how the U.S. plans to implement the policy outlined in the President’s memorandum.