Follows disturbing new reports of harassment, arrests and violence in recent months
Washington–– The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging his administration to take immediate steps to hold the Ugandan government accountable for the enactment of state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia earlier this year.
Following Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signing into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February, the administration initiated an interagency review of the United States’ relationship and engagement with Uganda. Recent reports from advocates in the country 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.
“I respectfully ask that you direct the Administration’s interagency review to begin issuing immediate, concrete results that will illustrate the United States’ commitment to protecting human rights in Uganda,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in the letter. “An immediate demonstration of significant consequences, moreover, will put other leaders who are considering similar bills on notice that enacting anti-LGBT laws will affect their country’s relationship with the United States.”
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 the precedent for how the U.S. plans to implement the policy outline in the President’s memorandum.
“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 the letter is available here.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.