The United States has slapped sanctions on Uganda -- cancelling a military air exercise, imposing visa bans and freezing some aid -- amid deep US anger at “vile” Ugandan anti-gay laws.
The legislation “runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship,” the White House said, renewing calls for the law to be repealed.
Passed last December and signed by President Yoweri Museveni in February, the law calls for “repeat homosexuals” to be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and obliges Ugandans to denounce gays to the authorities.
Rights groups say it has triggered a sharp increase in arrests and assaults of the African nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“From Uganda to Russia to Iran, LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack dignity, undermine safety and violate human rights,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a Gay Pride event for his staff on June 18.
“And we each have a responsibility to push back against the global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons,” said Kerry, who has likened the Ugandan law to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany.
Despite this, the Ugandan minister of state for ethics and integrity Simon Lokodo claimed: “We are tolerant. That's what we are saying: we are not slaughtering them.”