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U.S. to Take Immediate Action on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Mar 24, 2014

The Obama Administration has briefed key members of Congress on immediate steps the U.S. would take in reviewing all U.S. funded programs in Uganda, in light of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's legislation imposing up to a lifetime prison sentence for homosexuality, as earlier reported.

Buzzfeed reports that a National Security Council spokesperson recently confirmed that the administration would continue "to look at additional steps we may take."

The administration has settled on four steps, as confirmed by National Security Council spokesman Jonathan Lalley in an email to Buzzfeed. He said that in addition to the immediate action, the U.S would continue "to look at additional steps we may take, to work to protect LGBT individuals from violence and discrimination, and to urge Uganda to repeal this abhorrent law."

"As we continue to consider the implications of President Museveni's decision to enact the Anti-Homosexuality Act, the United States has taken certain immediate steps to demonstrate our support for the LGBT community in Uganda, deter other countries from enacting similar laws, and reinforce our commitment to the promotion and defense of human rights for all people -- including LGBT individuals -- as a U.S. priority," Lalley said.

First, the U.S. will shift some funds away from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, which publicly supports the anti-gay. They say that $2.3M will still go to the Council for continuing treatment for the 50,000 patients they currently have, but an additional $6.4M previously intended to the IRCU will go to other organizations.

Second, funding will be suspended for a U.S.-funded study by the Ugandan University and the Center for Disease Control to help identify populations at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, out of fear for the safety of staff and survey respondents.

Third, money for tourism programs to Uganda will be cut off, because of the danger to LGBTs and their allies, with Lalley saying that "approximately $3 million in funding designated for tourism and biodiversity promotion will be redirected to NGOs working on biodiversity protection."

Finally, the Department of Defense will move scheduled events in Uganda and suspend or cancel "certain near-term invitational travel" for Ugandan military and police personnel.

The review will include ways to deal with 80 countries that have laws that discriminate.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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