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Fed Official Meets On Uganda Bill

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The Human Rights Campaign and approximately 30 other advocacy organizations met with U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs Johnnie Carson December 18 to discuss the proposed Ugandan antihomosexuality bill.

At the meeting Carson reiterated that America condemns the proposed legislation in Uganda because the bill would violate basic human rights. The legislation in question would extend the punishment for engaging in gay sex to life imprisonment and introduce the death penalty for those who do so repeatedly or while HIV-positive.

Carson also said that the State Department has had two conversations with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. In his talks with Museveni, Carson was promised that Museveni would stop the bill from moving forward.

While chiding Uganda for the bill, Carson clarified that the U.S. will not reduce assistance to the country under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, due to a moral obligation to continue HIV/AIDS treatments it initiates with those abroad.

The Ugandan bill, however, has spurred a greater conversation about protecting LGBT people in other countries. Carson said that U.S. embassies have been asked to report any antigay violence that occurs. He said the State Department is also working on addressing antigay legislation in other countries. Rwanda also has a proposed bill criminalizing homosexuality; said the U.S. is currently working with that nation to stop it from becoming law, Carson said.

Read more on the HRC's blog.

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