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US imposes Visa Restrictions on Ugandan officials behind Anti-Gay Law

A statement from the State Department did not name any targeted individuals.

Ambassador Natalie E. Brown - Head of the U.S. Embassy in Uganda

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The United States on Friday announced that it had imposed visa restrictions on Ugandan individuals behind the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality law that “undermines the democratic process in the country.”

In a statement on Friday, the US State Department statement did not mention any names or even the number of officials that would be hit with the visa restriction but said the U.S. would hold accountable those who are responsible for abusing human rights in Uganda, “including those of LGBTQI+ persons.”

“As directed by President [Joe] Biden, 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 responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda, abusing human rights, including those of LGBTQI+ persons, or engaging in corrupt practices,” read the statement dated June 16, 2023.

“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 US 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,” the statement adds.

The United States said it strongly supports the Ugandan people and remains committed to advancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Uganda and globally

The development comes days after President Museveni last month signed the Ant-Homosexually law which has been strongly condemned by the US and its allies.

US President Biden early this month threatened to cut aid and impose other sanctions, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that his government would consider visa restrictions against Ugandan officials.

The State Department also this week updated its Uganda travel guidance for U.S. citizens to highlight the risk that LGBTQI+ persons could be prosecuted and subjected to life imprisonment or the death penalty based on provisions in the law, it said.

The new Anti-LGBTQI law, adopted last month in the East African country punishes homosexuality, including with the death penalty in some cases.

The legislation has been widely condemned by rights activists and others abroad, but it has wide support in Uganda, including among religious leaders and lawmakers.

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