John Kerry Hub

Secretary of State John Kerry Phoned Ugandan President to Discuss Anti-Gay Law's Impact

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Ugandan President Museveni yesterday via phone, according to a State Department memo from spokesperson Jen Psaki:

KerrySecretary Kerry expressed the United States’ deep disappointment in the Ugandan Government’s decision to enact the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Secretary noted that the decision complicates the U.S. relationship with Uganda. He also raised U.S. concerns that this discriminatory law poses a threat to the safety and security of Uganda’s LGBT community, and urged President Museveni to ensure the safety and protection of all Ugandan citizens.  The two also discussed the law’s negative impact on public health efforts including those to address HIV/AIDS, as well as on tourism and foreign investment in Uganda. 

John Kerry On America, Global LGBT Rights: 'This Is A Fight Worth Fighting': VIDEO


Andrea Mitchell sat down with Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday to discuss the anti-gay bills recently passed in both Arizona and Uganda, as well as briefly mentioning Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws. Though the laws' implications vary widely and are incomparable in most ways, Kerry used the opportunity to speak out vehemently against discrimination of all kinds, and to assure viewers, and the LGBT community, that the American government would be working hard to make strides in the arena of global human rights. He said, "We will stand up for people's rights."

He also asserted his belief that the Arizona law would be overturned by Governor Jan Brewer: "I cannot imagine that that law would withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court of the United States, so I would hope that she will make the right decision." Luckily, she did. Still, many battles remain and it is good to hear Kerry speak up in a time like this.

Check out the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Yesterday, Kerry told reporters that he was launching a new effort to combat a worldwide threat to human rights, spurred by anti-gay activity in Uganda and elsewhere, the AP reports:

"You could change the focus of this legislation to black or Jewish, and you could be in 1930s Germany, or you could be in 1950s or '60s apartheid South Africa," Kerry told reporters during a 55-minute question-and-answer session at the State Department. "It was wrong there, egregiously, in both places, and it is wrong here."

He said the issue would be a major focus of discussion when U.S. ambassadors from across the world return to Washington for meetings in the weeks ahead.

Continue reading "John Kerry On America, Global LGBT Rights: 'This Is A Fight Worth Fighting': VIDEO" »

John Kerry Says State Dept. Reviewing Relationship with Uganda Over 'Tragic' Anti-Gay Law

Secretary of State john Kerry released a statement today following Ugandan President Museveni's signing of the 'Anti-Homosexuality Act', penalizing homosexuality with life imprisonment.

KerrySaid Kerry in the statement:

This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law.

The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. For the four years since the bill was introduced, we have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution

Today’s signing threatens a dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda.

We are also deeply concerned about the law’s potential to set back public health efforts in Uganda, including those to address HIV/AIDS, which must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner in order to be effective.

As President Obama stated, this legislation is not just morally wrong, it complicates a valued relationship. Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values.

From Nigeria to Russia and Uganda, we are working globally to promote and protect the human rights of all persons. The United States will continue to stand against any efforts to marginalize, criminalize, and penalize vulnerable persons in any society.

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.

Secretary of State John Kerry Calls Gambian President's Gay 'Vermin' Remarks 'Unacceptable'

Jammeh Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement yesterday in response to remarks from Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday which labeled homosexuals "vermin" that should be exterminated like malaria-causing mosquitos.

Said Kerry:

The United States is deeply troubled by the hateful rhetoric used by President Jammeh in his National Day speech on February 18. All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation. We call on the Government of The Gambia to protect the human rights of all Gambians, and we encourage the international community to send a clear signal that statements of this nature have no place in the public dialogue and are unacceptable.

Human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all individuals. The United States stands by you no matter where you are and no matter who you love.

Said Jammeh on Tuesday:

"We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively...We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptised by the powers that promote them...As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence."

State Department Spokesperson Grilled Over Nigeria's Anti-Gay Law: VIDEO


Yesterday we reported on the signing of an oppressive anti-gay law by Nigeria's President Jonathan Goodluck.

NigeriaThe Washington Blade's Chris Johnson questioned State Department spokesperson Marie Harf about the new Nigerian law and the administration's objections to it.

While the law bans same-sex marriage and gay unions, its more troubling aspects deal with the banning of LGBT organizations and meetings. Harf said the State Dept. agrees with that assertion:

Obviously, we respect the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the prerogatives of its national assembly to pass legislation. We just don’t support any legislation that institutionalizes discrimination against one select group of people, and I think one of the key reasons we are opposed to this is that the law goes far beyond prohibiting same-sex marriage.

JonathanHarf also said the State Dept had been monitoring it since its inception and had been in contact with Nigeria about it:

“Since the law was in draft form, we’ve been in continual contact with the Jonathan administration, the National Assembly and a wide variety of Nigerian stakeholders,” Harf said. “Our conversations have been focused on our concerns that portions of the law, again, appear to restrict Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association — provisions that we’ve been very clear we do not support.”

Harf said she did not know whether sanctions or restrictions on aid were on the table as a result of this.

Watch Harf take questions from Johnson, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "State Department Spokesperson Grilled Over Nigeria's Anti-Gay Law: VIDEO" »


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