President Joe Biden on Monday denounced Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, describing it as a tragic violation of universal human rights, endangering economic growth and fostering fear and discrimination. He joined voices from around the world, including many in Uganda, in calling for the immediate repeal of the law.
President Biden expressed deep concern over the increasing reports of violence and discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals since the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Act and emphasized the injustice of forcing innocent Ugandans to live in fear and face hateful reprisals, including evictions and job terminations. The law’s severe punishments and threats of violence and abuse further endanger the safety and freedom of countless Ugandans, Biden said.
He also highlighted the dangers posed by this democratic backsliding, affecting not only the Ugandan people but also U.S. government personnel, implementing partners, tourists, and members of the business community.
As a response, the President said that he has directed the National Security Council to evaluate the law’s implications for all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda, including the delivery of services under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other forms of assistance and investments.
Additionally, the impacts of the law will be factored into the review of Uganda’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). President Biden stated that the United States is considering further measures, such as sanctions and entry restrictions, against individuals involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption.
President Biden wrote, “The enactment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is a tragic violation of universal human rights—one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country. I join with people around the world—including many in Uganda—in calling for its immediate repeal. No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong.
“Since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was introduced, reports of violence and discrimination targeting Ugandans who are or are perceived to be LGBTQI+ are on the rise. Innocent Ugandans now fear going to hospitals, clinics, or other establishments to receive life-saving medical care lest they be targeted by hateful reprisals. Some have been evicted from their homes or fired from their jobs. And the prospect of graver threats—including lengthy prison sentences, violence, abuse—threatens any number of Ugandans who want nothing more than to live their lives in safety and freedom.
“This shameful Act is the latest development in an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda. The dangers posed by this democratic backsliding are a threat to everyone residing in Uganda, including U.S. government personnel, the staff of our implementing partners, tourists, members of the business community, and others. As such, I have directed my National Security Council to evaluate the implications of this law on all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda, including our ability to safely deliver services under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other forms of assistance and investments. My Administration will also incorporate the impacts of the law into our review of Uganda’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). And we are considering additional steps, including the application of sanctions and restriction of entry into the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption.
“The United States shares a deep and committed partnership with the people of Uganda. For more than 60 years, we have worked together to help millions of Ugandans live healthier, more productive lives.
“Our programs have boosted economic growth and agricultural productivity, increased investments in Ugandan businesses, and strengthened our trade cooperation. In total, the U.S. Government invests nearly $1 billion annually in Uganda’s people, business, institutions, and military to advance our common agenda. The scale of our commitments speaks to the value we place on this partnership—and our faith in the people of Uganda to build for themselves a better future. It is my sincere hope that we can continue to build on this progress, together, and strengthen protections for the human rights of people everywhere.”
The United States and Uganda have a longstanding and robust partnership spanning over six decades. Through various programs, the U.S. Government invests nearly $1 billion annually to support economic growth, agricultural productivity, and the well-being of millions of Ugandans. President Biden expressed hope for continued progress and emphasized the importance of strengthening human rights protections globally, but also threatened to cut assistance if the law is not repealed.
- President Biden condemns Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act as a violation of universal human rights.
- Violence and discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals have increased in Uganda since the law’s enactment.
- President Biden joins the global call for the immediate repeal of the law.
- The law jeopardizes economic growth and fosters fear and discrimination in Uganda.
- The United States will evaluate the implications of the law on its engagement with Uganda, including assistance programs like PEPFAR.
- Uganda’s eligibility for AGOA will be reviewed in light of the law.
- The United States maintains a significant partnership with Uganda and invests nearly $1 billion annually to support various sectors and improve lives.