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US imposes travel ban on Ugandan officials over anti-LGBTQ laws

US President Biden has previously said that cuts and sanctions are possible in response to the legislation.

The United States has imposed a travel ban on Ugandan officials in the wake of an anti-LGBTQ law signed by President Yoweri Museveni last month.

The law has been condemned as one of the harshest laws in the world. Among other provisions, it provided for the death penalty for those convicted of “transsexual homosexuality,” a crime that included the transmission of HIV through homosexual sex.

It also carries a life sentence for same-sex intercourse and a 20-year sentence for promoting homosexuality.

In a brief statement on Friday, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the measures were in response to human rights abuses – “including LGBTQI+ individuals” – and corruption.

It also noted the legislation, dubbed the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, said the State Department had “updated its travel guidance for US citizens to allow LGBTQI+ individuals, or those perceived to be LGBTQI+, to be prosecuted and prosecuted.” may. Imprisonment for life or death under the provisions of law”.

“The United States strongly supports the people of Uganda and remains committed to promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Uganda and around the world,” Miller said.

The statement did not say which officials would be subject to sanctions or provide further details.

Homosexuality was already illegal in the conservative and highly religious East African nation, and observers said homosexuals faced deprivation and harassment by security forces.

The law imposes penalties on media and private organizations that knowingly promote LGBTQ activities.

US President Joe Biden last month called the Ugandan government’s latest move “a tragic violation of universal human rights” and threatened aid cuts and other sanctions. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said last month that the government would consider visa restrictions against Ugandan officials.

The United States was among several countries that cut aid to Uganda in 2014 over previous anti-LGBTQ laws. That law was later repealed on procedural grounds.

Several Western countries and UN experts condemned the law.

In March, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the law was “contrary to Uganda’s obligations under international human rights law and the Ugandan Human Rights Charter, including the commitment to dignity and non-discrimination and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said the law was “deeply worrying”.

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