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Human Rights Organizations Want U.S. Ambassadors to Uganda and Nigeria Recalled Over Anti-Gay Laws

The Human Rights Campaign yesterday called on Secretary of State John Kerry to recall U.S. ambassadors to Uganda and Nigeria in reaction to legislation and oppression of LGBT citizens in those nations.

Via HRC:

Kerry"The Ugandan and Nigerian governments' decisions to treat their LGBT citizens like criminals cannot be accepted as business as usual by the U.S. government. We urge Secretary Kerry to recall both Ambassadors for consultations in Washington to make clear the seriousness of the situation in both countries," said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Last week, a spokesperson for the Ugandan president announced that President Yoweri Museveni is set to sign an archaic anti-LGBT bill into law that was passed by the Uganda parliament last December. The bill, which once included the death penalty, calls for gay Ugandans or anyone "promoting" homosexuality to be jailed -- potentially for life. The passage of the AHB and subsequent approval by Museveni is part of a broader clawback in fundamental freedoms in Uganda over the last several years, particularly regarding freedom of expression, assembly and association. Human rights violations are on the rise and the AHB represents an especially troubling escalation of this trend.

An equally horrific law was signed by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in January. The law criminalizes same-sex marriage, punishes homosexuality with jail terms of up to 14 years, and threatens any person who supports or is a member of an LGBT organization with 10 years' imprisonment. Since the law was enacted, Nigerian activists and human rights groups have reported dozens of LGBT individuals have been arrested, many of who work to combat HIV/AIDS in the country. It has also been reported LGBT Nigerians are facing blackmail by the police and mob violence.

Over the weekend, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice reported on Twitter that dialogue with President Museveni urging him to refrain from enacting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) had proven unproductive. President Barrack Obama also issued a statement condemning the AHB.

International human rights organizations agree in an interview with the AP that the "quiet diplomacy" from the U.S. is not working:

"Quiet diplomacy up to the final moment clearly has failed," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch.

"We need a better strategy," said Julie Dorf, senior adviser at the Council for Global Equality. "We do believe that our government here in the U.S. needs to ramp up the potential consequences that countries might face for these regressive anti-human rights measures. I have no doubt that President Museveni watched very carefully what happened after President Jonathan signed the Nigeria bill. And the truth is, there wasn't much of a reaction."

Human Rights Watch and the Robert F. Kennedy Center are both calling on the U.S. ambassador to Uganda to be recalled for consultation.

Canada has threatened to cut ties with Uganda over the anti-gay bill, according to an interview with the Canadian ambassador to Uganda published earlier this week.

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  1. The Ugandan and Nigerian governments' decisions to treat their LGBT citizens like criminals cannot be accepted as business as usual by the U.S. government. We urge Secretary Kerry to recall both Ambassadors for consultations in Washington to make clear the seriousness of the situation in both countries.

    Posted by: Chris Thorne | Feb 20, 2014 10:36:00 AM

  2. That's a start but we want a lot more. Stop all US monies in all forms going to Uganda. Money makes the world go around and cutting that source of funding off and the Ugandan world will slowly come to a halt. No aid, no assistance, no food, no clothing, no education - nada, zilch, nothing. Keep pushing for this at every opportunity.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Feb 20, 2014 10:44:47 AM

  3. Sign Chris Thorn's White House petition:

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Feb 20, 2014 10:46:50 AM

  4. Nigeria is a major producer of oil, currently 13th when ranked by production. It is very unlikely that the US will do more than mutter vague platitudes, and no way in Hell that we will do anything to damage diplomatic relations with them. To maintain relations with Nigeria, it is unlikely we will do anything against Uganda, either.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Feb 20, 2014 10:53:58 AM

  5. These are the best of times and the worst of times..

    Posted by: Merle | Feb 20, 2014 11:01:37 AM

  6. Merle 'bout sums it up.

    Posted by: Mikey | Feb 20, 2014 11:08:31 AM

  7. We might want to recall our Ambassadors to Kansas and Arizona at the same time.

    Posted by: DC Insider | Feb 20, 2014 11:38:05 AM

  8. Meanwhile, the president of Nigeria has just fired the head of the Nigerian central bank because he dared to question how billions of dollars of oil revenues have disappeared from government coffers. The Nigerian government is a joke.

    Posted by: petes | Feb 20, 2014 11:56:52 AM

  9. I too had wondered why we don't just discontinue supporting them. This article more or less explains the quandary: .
    We've apparently been using them as mercenaries against those whom the United States regard as a scourge in the world. When the human rights abuses of those we've been supporting become indistinguishable from those we've been fighting, I think the point of supporting them becomes lost.

    Posted by: Stan D | Feb 20, 2014 1:14:12 PM

  10. Nigeria has oil and gold. The US or UK governments will not be breaking off ties or making any real attempt to do anything about the anti gay laws.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Feb 20, 2014 11:54:15 PM

  11. ICEBLOO:

    The US needs neither Nigeria's oil nor its gold. If that is the only excuse the US government has for not cutting them off then it hasn't even a fig leaf to hide behind.

    Posted by: David | Feb 21, 2014 5:27:05 AM

  12. Obama's quiet diplomacy isn't working with the rabid homophobes of Africa?

    That's not surprising. His quiet diplomacy doesn't work with anyone else either.

    Posted by: David | Feb 21, 2014 5:28:17 AM

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