Blinken says US to consider visa restrictions over Ugandan anti-gay law

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said his government would consider visa restrictions against Ugandan officials and others for the abuse of human rights following the implementation of one of the world’s toughest anti-gay laws.

Blinken said he has instructed the State Department to update travel guidance to U.S. citizens and businesses over travel to Uganda.

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

Biden said the United States may impose sanctions and would evaluate the implications of the law “on all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda.”

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

Campaign against LGBTQ rights in some African countries has intensified in recent weeks

“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 directed the White House National Security Council to evaluate the implications of the law on all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda, including the ability to safely deliver services under the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other forms of assistance and investment.

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

“And we are considering additional steps, including the application of sanctions and restriction of entry into the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption,” said Biden.

Gay and human rights activists march during anti-government protests on Istiklal Street, the main shopping corridor on June 23, 2013 in Istanbul. The protest began in late May over the Gezi Park redevelopment project but swiftly turned into a protest and street party against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and what protestors call his increasingly authoritarian rule. The protest has spread to dozens of cities in Turkey, in secular anger against Erdogan and his Islam-rooted Justice and Development Party. AFP PHOTO/GURCAN OZTURK (Photo credit should read GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)

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