The United States has broadened its visa restriction policy targeting Ugandan officials to encompass individuals suspected of undermining democracy and oppressing marginalized groups in the country.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday, citing concerns over Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law, which he labelled as one of the harshest in the world.
The Anti homosexuality law, enacted in May, includes severe penalties, including the death penalty, for what it terms “aggravated homosexuality.” This category extends to offenses such as transmitting HIV through gay sex.
The United States responded in June by imposing visa restrictions on Ugandan officials, expressing profound reservations about the human rights implications of the legislation.
The recent expansion of the visa restriction policy follows the earlier restrictions placed by the US State Department after Uganda’s 2021 elections, which the department criticized as “flawed.” Secretary Blinken, in a statement issued on Monday, shed light on the rationale behind the decision.
“Today, I am announcing the expansion of the visa restriction policy to include current or former Ugandan officials or others who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda or for policies or actions aimed at repressing members of marginalized or vulnerable populations,” said Blinken.
These visa restrictions aim to exert diplomatic pressure on Ugandan authorities to reconsider and amend policies that the United States deems detrimental to democratic values and human rights.