Human Rights Watch has said the United States should recall its ambassador to Uganda and review diplomatic relations after the Uganda’s leader said he would sign into law a bill prescribing life imprisonment for homosexuals.
The New York-based group also said Uganda’s international donor partners should “clearly and publicly” specify the consequences for relations with Uganda if the Anti-Homosexuality bill becomes law.
“There is real urgency now that [Yoweri] Museveni has stated his intention to sign the bill,” Daniel Bekele, the Africa director for Human Right Watch, said on Wednesday, referring to the Ugandan president.
“The US should temporarily recall the ambassador to conduct strategic consultations on the US/Uganda relationship, while making clear the range of concerns for yet another clawback to human rights in Uganda.”
Human Rights Watch said the bill violates the country’s human rights obligations and would act as a barrier to advancing critical public health goals.
It called for a review of funding assistance to Uganda to ensure that US funds are not used to further prosecution of anyone under the homosexuality law.
“In particular funding for the police should be subject to close scrutiny as they would be legally mandated to enforce this law,” the group said.
Though popular among Ugandans who insist homosexuality is a “vice” from Western countries, the bill has attracted criticism from world leaders as it seeks to increase penalties for some forms of consensual same-sex conduct between adults and infringe on constitutionally protected rights to privacy.