A Ugandan tabloid newspaper published a list of dozens of people it says are gay and lesbian, the day after the country’s President Yoweri Museveni implemented a law toughening penalties for homosexual acts.
A headline on the front page of the Red Pepper today reads “EXPOSED!” with identifying information including full and partial names and photos of some of the alleged homosexuals appearing on the cover and inside of the publication.
Museveni says he was motivated to sign the new law, which carries a life sentence for “aggravated homosexuality,” after scientists in Uganda found no genetic link to homosexuality. The law threatens freedom of expression as it also criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality and curbs groups working on safe-sex issues, New York-based Human Rights Watch said today.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for the law to be repealed on the grounds it violates human rights enshrined in Uganda’s constitution. The U.S. is now reviewing its relationship with the country, including its aid program, Kerry said in an e-mailed statement.
The bill’s enactment comes after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a law last month that makes same-sex unions a criminal offense punishable by as long as 14 years in prison and 10 years for homosexuals who show public affection.
When the Ugandan law was first circulated in 2009 as a private member’s bill, it proposed the death penalty for homosexual acts, which was later dropped.
Sweden is reconsidering its aid program in Uganda, Finance Minister Anders Borg said today on a visit to the capital, Kampala. Denmark announced yesterday it has withdrawn 50 million kroner ($9.2 million) in aid to the government and it’s shifting funds to non-governmental organizations. Norway is also halting aid worth 50 million kroner ($8.3 million) over the anti-gay law, Foreign Minister Borge Brende said today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at email@example.com