The White House said on Wednesday that the US has “serious concerns” about the passage of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law (AHA), saying that US economic support for the country could be jeopardized by the law.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the legislation would hinder tourism and economic investment.
“If the AHA were signed into law and enacted, it would undermine universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and (investment) in Uganda, and damage Uganda’s international reputation.” , she told reporters at the conference. daily press briefing.
“No one should be attacked, imprisoned or killed for who they are or who they love,” added Jean-Pierre.
UNITED NATIONS RIGHTS LEADER CONCERNS THE PRESIDENT OF UGANDA TO BLOCK ANTI-LGBTQ LAW
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that if the law were passed, Washington would “should look” at imposing economic sanctions on Uganda.
A Ugandan man is seen during the third annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride celebrations in Entebbe, Uganda on August 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Rebecca Vassie)
“We are — we’re certainly watching this closely. And we should see whether or not there are any repercussions that we would have to take, maybe in an economic way, should this law actually be passed — introduced,” he said.
Kirby noted that this would be “a real shame” since most US aid is in the form of health aid, especially anti-AIDS aid.
“And you can see a world where, you know, a law like this, if passed, would not only, as Karine rightly said, be devastating to an entire community of people in Uganda, but if it had any effect on our economic aid, that would only make it worse,” he said.
In addition, the United Nations law chief also urged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to block the bill.
“The passing of this discriminatory law – probably one of the worst of its kind in the world – is a deeply worrying development,” Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement.
The Ugandan parliament votes on the law against homosexuality, Tuesday, March 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi)
UGANDA GIVES OVERWHELMED WELCOME TO IMPLEMENT UP TO 10 YEARS OF PRISON FOR GAY RELATIONSHIPS
The bill, which passed late Tuesday, now goes to Museveni to either veto or sign it into law. The president suggested in a recent speech that he supports the bill.
The measure creates the crime of “aggravated homosexuality”, which is now punishable by death.
Under the bill, a defendant convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” could face 14 years in prison, and the offense of “attempted homosexuality” could be punished by up to 10 years.
Gay Ugandan refugees who fled their country to neighboring Kenya return on June 11, 2020 after shopping in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga, File)
The crime of “homosexuality” is punishable by life imprisonment under a colonial-era law.
The bill was introduced last month by an opposition legislator who said its aim was to “promote, recruit and fund” LGBTQIA+ activities in this East African country, where gay individuals are widely denigrated. punish.
Anti-gay sentiment in Uganda has grown in recent weeks over alleged reports of sodomy in boarding schools.
Homosexuality is a criminal offense in more than 30 of the 54 African countries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News and Fox Business Digital.