February 28, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
John Kerry speaks to Ugandan president over anti-gay law

Gay News, Washington Blade, John Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry s (photo public domain)

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday expressed the United States’ “deep disappointment” with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni over his decision to sign his country’s so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.

The State Department said Kerry noted to Museveni during their telephone call that his decision to sign the measure “complicates the U.S. relationship with Uganda.”

“He also raised U.S. concerns that this discriminatory law poses a threat to the safety and security of Uganda’s LGBT community, and urged President Museveni to ensure the safety and protection of all Ugandan citizens,” said the State Department. “The two also discussed the law’s negative impact on public health efforts including those to address HIV/AIDS, as well as on tourism and foreign investment in Uganda.”

Uzra Zeya, acting assistant secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department, described the law as “very regressive” and “very disturbing” during an interview with the Washington Blade on Friday.

“It complicates our relationship with Uganda,” said Zeya. “We have deep concerns about the law posing a threat to the safety and security of the LGBT community, but also the safety and protection of all Ugandan citizens.”

Kerry spoke with Museveni on the same day the State Department released its 2013 Human Rights Report that, among other things, documents anti-LGBT discrimination and violence around the world. Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a Ugandan LGBT advocacy group, met with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power earlier this week to discuss the signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and his inclusion in a tabloid’s list of the country’s “200 top homos” it published on Feb. 25.

The Obama administration is currently reviewing its relationship with Uganda after Museveni signed the anti-gay measure into law.

“The community is very scared, very worried,” Dickson Mujuni of the RPL AIDS Foundation told the Blade earlier on Friday during a telephone interview from Kampala, the Ugandan capital. “They’re underground.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

3 Comments
  • Meanwhile, it’s time to urge US African Safari companies to stop offering tours to Uganda and hold them accountable for promoting suffering and endangering GLBT people in the country if they don’t.

  • This Video documentary on anti-gay attitudes in Uganda should be sent to US safari tour operators to urge them to stop doing business with the country and let them know it’s because they won’t support this or promote tourism with such attitudes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV0tS6G8NNU

  • Tbe parallels to Nazi Germany are just uncanny. It is imperative that the U.S. suspend all foreign aid to Uganda immediately and join an international boycott similar to what was done in South Africa.

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