Drama:Anti-gay law-US to review relationship with Uganda
In a press release from the State Department in Washington DC Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said President Obama’s government would ensure any engagement with Uganda would reflect the anti-discrimination policies supported by his government.
“Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” said Kerry in a Statement emailed to the Daily Nation.
Mr Kerry termed the enactment of the controversial law as retrogressive and called for its repeal. “This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law,” he said.
The statement was in reference to the signing of the Anti-Homosexuality bill by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on Monday.
Mr Museveni assented to the bill making it a law amidst debate and controversies mainly from Western powers and Human rights activists.
Earlier, a statement by US President Barrack Obama’s press secretary said that the Ugandan president “has regrettably taken his country a step backward instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice and equal rights for his people.”
Mr Obama argued that the law is not only an affront and a danger to Uganda’s gay community, but it also reflects poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.
The reaction by the United States came shortly after a similar one by the United Kingdom. British envoy William Hague said the UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds adding that his government would continue to press Uganda to defend human rights for all, without discrimination on any grounds.
He said the Law will damage the country’s reputation internationally and that the British government was questioning its compatibility with Uganda’s constitution and international treaty obligations.
On Monday, Mr Kerry said since the bill was introduced four years ago, President Obama’s administration has vehemently opposed it. “We have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution.”
He expressed concern that the signing of the bill could have an adverse effect on the gains made in the Public Health sector “including those to address HIV/AIDS, which must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner in order to be effective.”
“From Nigeria to Russia and Uganda, we are working globally to promote and protect the human rights of all persons. The United States will continue to stand against any efforts to marginalize, criminalize, and penalize vulnerable persons in any society,” said Mr Kerry.
Mr Museveni’s assent to the controversial legislation has continued to draw sharp reactions from several quarters, including the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he intended to raise the issue of the anti-gay law in a meeting with Uganda’s ambassador to the UN.-nation.co.ke