The United States has imposed travel visa restrictions on Ugandans who are involved in “undermining the democratic process in Uganda,” a move the U.S. Department of State says is a response to human rights abuses and corruption.
The new measures directed by President Joe Biden follow the implementation of Uganda’s strict Anti-Homosexuality Act, which President Yoweri Museveni signed into law at the end of May. The law “imposes a punishment of life imprisonment for same-sex sexual acts, and up to 10 years behind bars for attempted same-sex sexual acts,” says Amnesty International.
It also allows the death penalty in cases of “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalizes acts deemed to be promoting LGBTQI+ rights, with up to 20-year prison terms, the international human rights NGO said. Amnesty has joined others around the world who have condemned the law and called on the international community to place pressure on the Ugandan government.
“The U.S. government will continue to evaluate additional actions under this policy, as well as the use of other tools at our disposal, to promote accountability for Ugandan officials and other individuals,” the U.S. statement said.
“As previewed when the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 was enacted in Uganda at the end of May, the Department has also updated its travel guidance to U.S. citizens to highlight the risk that LGBTQI+ persons, or those perceived to be LGBTQI+, could be prosecuted and subjected to life imprisonment or the death penalty based on provisions in the law.”
Image: Yoweri Museveni file