US National Security Council Announces Sanctions against Uganda for Anti-LGBT Law

National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden has announced sanctions on Uganda in response to its Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law in February this year. Measures include preventing entry into the US by Ugandan officials involved in human rights abuses, discontinuing or redirecting funds for certain programs, and cancelling a military aviation exercise in Uganda. None of the sanctions “diminishes” the United States’s humanitarian efforts in the country nor the US partnership with the Ugandan government to counter the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army, according to the statement.

By way of background, check out Wade McMullen’s previous guest posts at Just Security [here and here], which comment on the administration’s initial response to the Anti-Homosexuality Act and explore the complicated context, namely increased US and international reliance on Uganda in regional peace and security efforts.

The full statement from the NSC’s Caitlin Hayden is reproduced below:

As President Obama has stated, the Government of Uganda’s enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship. We announced in April a series of initial responses, and we have since considered how further to reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Today, we are announcing several additional steps. Specifically, the Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals. In addition, the United States will take steps, consistent with current authorities, to prevent entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption.  We are also discontinuing or redirecting funds for certain additional programs involving the Ugandan Police Force, Ministry of Health, and National Public Health Institute, and cancelling plans to hold a U.S. military-sponsored aviation exercise in Uganda.

None of these steps diminishes our commitment to providing development and humanitarian support for the Ugandan people, or our partnership with the Ugandan government to counter the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army and improve security in Africa. We will seek to advance these interests even as we continue—in Uganda and around the world—to oppose discriminatory practices and champion human rights for all.


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Ruchi Parekh

Former Associate Editor at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@RParekh88).