Uganda: Updated travel advice in the US due to anti-LGBT laws

The United States has updated its travel advice for Uganda, following the enactment of the “Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023” in May, billed as one of the world’s most repressive laws, according to a note released The State Department announced on Monday evening.

The law provides for severe penalties for those who engage in same-sex relationships and “encourage” homosexuality. The crime of “aggravated homosexuality” carries the death penalty, a punishment that has not been applied for many years in Uganda.

The US State Department, which had previously warned its citizens to “reconsider travel” to Uganda due to terrorist attacks and high crime rates, said the enactment of anti-homosexuality laws “increases the risk that LGBTQI+ people, and those deemed LGBTQI+, will be prosecuted and sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty.”

The US government has also warned of the risk of “harassment or assault by vigilante groups” against LGBT+ people. “The United States should understand that Uganda is a sovereign country that legislates for its people, not for the Western world.

They can give travel advice because it’s their right, but it shouldn’t. forget that extortion has no place in modern society in the world,” Ugandan Information Minister Chris Baryomunsi told AFP, adding that the US decision was “expected”.

President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the African nation of the Great Lakes region with an iron fist since 1986, signed it into law on May 29, sparking outrage from human rights groups and many Western countries. West.

Despite threats of sanctions, the Ugandan head of state assured the world that “no one can shake us”.

Condemning a “grave violation” of human rights, US President Joe Biden said he has asked his administration to study the consequences of this “shameful” act on “all aspects of the law”.

He added that US authorities were considering “additional measures”, such as sanctions or entry restrictions for “anyone involved in human rights abuses or corruption”.

Josep Borrell Head of European diplomacy , also condemned the law as “contrary to human rights”.
In 2014, international donors reduced their aid after the passage of legislation punishing homosexuality.

In particular, Washington suspended funding for government programs and imposed a visa ban. European countries have also partially frozen their bilateral aid.

The law was eventually overturned by the Constitutional Court due to a technical error in the vote.

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