Clinton Condemns Criminalization of Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

December 1st, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out yesterday against attempts abroad to criminalize homosexuality. Without mentioning Uganda specifically, Secretary Clinton said:

Obviously, our efforts are hampered whenever discrimination or marginalization of certain populations results in less effective outreach and treatment. So we will work not only to ensure access for all who need it, but also to combat discrimination more broadly. We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community worldwide. It is an unacceptable step backwards — (applause) — on behalf of human rights. But it is also a step that undermines the effectiveness of efforts to fight the disease worldwide.

Eric Goosby, chief coordinator for the President\’s emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), came under fire last week when he announced that funding for Uganda would not be linked to their actions on the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act, which would impose the death penalty on LGBT people under certain circumstances. Altogether, Uganda is set to received $250 million in developmental assistance to promote health, agriculture, and business investments. Secretary Clinton’s address does not contradict that stance, but Kerry Eleveld reports that vigorous engagement with Uganda is taking place behind the scenes. Eleveld writes:

The source said the diplomatic goal was to strike a forceful tone that stopped short of shaming President Museveni, who has yet to take an official stand on the legislation, which was introduced by a lawmaker in his own party, member of parliament David Bahati.

“They are trying to proceed in a way that gives them some private leverage but also acknowledges that Secretary Clinton has an obligation to speak out on human rights issues in her capacity as our top international diplomat,” said the source. “It’s been a delicate effort with inconclusive results.”

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

George Bingham

December 1st, 2009

It’s a difficult problem regarding the US funding for Uganda – I don’t think withholding the funding would be the right thing to do because the people who would suffer most would be the one’s who’s health care is already under attack – but at the same time, I also am not naive, and I know that only a relatively small amount of foreign aid benefits those it’s really intended for – the rest tied up in graft and political corruption.

I wish we could try withholding funding to their government, while still supplying services directly to the country’s populations that need it. Of course, I don’t know how that could be made to work!

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