Uganda accuses U.S. of blackmail
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/20/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The U.S. has been accused of blackmail by Uganda, after President Barack Obama's administration cut funding to Uganda and cancelled a joint military exercise.
Uganda's decision to criminalize homosexuality has been met by protests abroad and internally.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This action is a response to a new Ugandan law which criminalizes homosexuality, and Ugandan official Ofwono Opondo was not happy.
"We think it is simply blackmail," he said. "We have said it before, homosexuality is not a fundamental human right. In our own constitution, it is not guaranteed as a fundamental right."
On June 19, the U.S. announced that it had canceled plans for a U.S.-sponsored military exercise which was to be held in Uganda. Obama's administration also cut funding to the country and barred entry for Ugandans believed to have been involved in any human rights abuses.
In February 2014, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the measure that criminalized homosexuality, giving the guilty sentences of up to life in prison. This legislation drew immediate condemnation from much of the international community.
U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that Uganda's legislation ran "counter to universal human rights."
When Opondo was asked if he thought America's position would jeopardize Presidents Museveni's chance to attend a White House summit of African leader in August, he was critical.
"The United States government should use that summit to engage with the president of Uganda through diplomatic channels rather than blackmail. Preventing him from attending the summit, that would not in any way cancel the validity of the law passed by Uganda. So, we think that continuous engagement is much better than blackmail."
Opondo claims that the U.S. did not formally notify Uganda about these penalties, and that the nation found out about them through media reports.
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