Blinken says US considering visa restrictions on Ugandan anti-gay law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday his government would consider visa restrictions against Ugandan and other officials for human rights violations following the implementation of one of the strictest anti-gay laws in the world.

Blinken said he instructed the State Department to update travel advice to American citizens and businesses on travel to Uganda.

These measures follow President Joe Biden’s condemnation of the Ugandan legislation.

Biden said the United States could impose sanctions and would assess the law’s implications “on all aspects of American engagement with Uganda.”

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday signed anti-LGBTQ laws, which carry the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, drawing Western condemnation and raising the risk of donor sanctions.

“This shameful act is the latest development in an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda,” Biden said in a statement.

He said he had asked the White House National Security Council to assess the law’s implications on all aspects of the United States’ engagement with Uganda, including the ability to safely deliver security of services under the Emergency Plan for the fight against AIDS and other forms of assistance and investment.

Biden said the US government would consider the law’s impact as part of its review of Uganda’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which provides duty-free access to goods designated sub-Saharan African countries.

“And we are considering additional measures, including applying sanctions and restrictions on entering the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption,” Biden said.

Same-sex relationships were already illegal in Uganda, as in more than 30 African countries, but the new law goes further.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; additional reporting by Jasper Ward in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler, Robert Birsel)

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